Top 57 Rare Words to Make Your Writing Unique

Discover our list of rare words to use in your writing that can help you create unique, engaging literature that will keep your readers curious and searching for context clues.

Trying to create a hygge vibe in your novel? Want your readers to take a deep breath, imagining they’re inhaling the same petrichor as your main characters? Rare words can be a great way to convey a message to your readers. Interesting and rare words are excellent for writing characterization and creating intriguing characters in your novels. When using rare words, be sure to provide your readers with context clues so they can try to figure out the definition, even if they decide not to research the word. For more, check out our list of nonsense words list.

What Are Rare Words?

Empyrean is one of examples of rare words which means the true and ultimate heavenly paradise

It’s likely that you already have a few rare words under your belt if you’re someone who loves writing. Learning new rare words can help boost your reading comprehension and add flair to your work. It’s important to use rare words sparingly in your writing, however. If your readers see too many words they struggle to decipher, they’ll likely give up searching for meaning and potentially miss the points you’re trying to convey. Check out our family words list.


Rare Words With a Positive Tone

These rare words can be fantastic for setting a positive mood in your novel. Whether you’re working to create foreshadowing that things are starting to look up for a character, want your reader to feel a sense of relaxation in a certain setting, or want to introduce a character with positive energy, these words can help you get the job done. You might also be interested in our list of neutral tone words.

1. Apotheosis

At the apotheosis of the story, it became clear why the character had to undergo so many struggles during his childhood; it all had been preparing him for this moment.

2. Argosy

The sailors ran to the wheel of the argosy, steering her toward the island they saw in the distance.

3. Benignant

The old shop owner’s benignant face made shopping for antiques a pleasant experience.

4. Empyrean

The dessert that Marie made for the picnic was positively empyrean; her guests felt like they could hear angels singing with every delicious bite.

5. Factotum

She was the factotum of the office, able to fill in for anyone who was missing for the day due to her extensive knowledge of how the company worked best.

6. Flahoolick

Her flahoolick ways meant that her friends could always depend on her to pick up the tab after an expensive dinner.

7. Frisson

Otto felt a sense of frisson rise as he waited in line for the rollercoaster.

8. Gramercy

Jane signed off on her note with the word gramercy, indicating her strong appreciation for all her host family did for her over the semester.

9. Hygge

The new mom felt a comforting sense of hygge when she entered the nursery she created for Amy.

10. Hypermnesia

Bruno’s hypermnesia seemed like a gift, but he wished he didn’t remember every detail of the past.

11. Insouciant

While many would have been upset by the bad news, George gave an insouciant shrug and decided to proceed with his day as usual.

12. Interlocutor

As an interlocutor in the conversation, Lisa felt included as she weighed in to share how her experience with the client shaped the direction she decided to take on the sales call. 

13. Lalochezia

While she felt bad for cursing in front of her mother, she felt great lalochezia after finally letting her anger out.

14. Magnanimous

She was magnanimous after she won the race, making a point to congratulate and thank all the other participants.

15. Panglossian

His panglossian views sometimes made it fun for his constituents to imagine the world he described, where the government worked like a finely tuned machine. 

16. Persiflage

The two flirted with a spirit of persiflage, each making fun of the other in a playful and silly way.

17. Petrichor

She couldn’t wait to run following the warm summer storm, as she could already smell the petrichor seeping in through her open window. 

18. Sapid

The sapid oatmeal cookie tasted perfectly of brown sugar and butter.

19. Umami

The sushi the chef created hit her sense of umami, as it had an almost overwhelming savory taste she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

20. Valiant

Her valiant efforts to right the wrong with the client were noticed, and her boss awarded her a certificate for going the extra mile.

Rare Words With a Neutral Tone

These words aren’t positive or negative; they’re just plain fun. Using these words can add a unique flair to your writing without steering your storyline in any particular direction. For more ideas, check out our list of words for book lovers.

21. Beldam

Upon visiting her beldam, she took a moment to notice how much the two had grown to resemble one another.

22. Brontide

As the family walked along the beach, they realized it was time to head back to the cabin after they heard brontide in the distance.

23. Crepuscular

The space became crepuscular as they walked further into the forest, the last bit of sunlight hidden by tall trees.

24. Descry

He descried the criminal jumping over the fence after the robbery.

25. Educe

She worked to educe a sense of obedience in her new puppy, providing him with treats every time he listened to one of her commands.

26. Evanescent

The shooting start was evanescent, gone just as quickly as it had first appeared.

27. Heteropraxy

The heteropraxy of the cult was deeply concerning, as members seemed to believe that their leader was sent from another world truly.

28. Hiraeth

While she was excited to move to Las Vegas, she felt a sense of hiraeth for her small town the moment she stepped off the plane and realized she was far more than a stone’s throw from her home in Maine.

29. Nesh

Sarah worried about her kitten getting out in the cold winter weather, as she was tiny and nesh to the elements.

30. Paralipsis

“We won’t even mention the times you showed up late,” the supervisor told her in a clear paralipsis

31. Peckish

Martin didn’t want to sit down for a full meal, but he felt a bit peckish and would need something to hold him over until they got home.

32. Perquisite

The company’s CEO enjoyed all the perquisites of the position, especially the use of the company credit card.

33. Philodox

He came across as a philodox, more concerned with getting others to understand his opinion than learning about their views.

34. Proclivity

She had a proclivity toward exercise, as it helped her calm her mind after long days at the office.

35. Sylvan

The sylvan area ahead was perfect for the friends to explore.

36. Ubiquitous

Even though her grandfather had passed away months prior, the family felt his ubiquitous presence as they worked to figure out how to manage his construction business.

37. Virago

She knew she’d have to put her virago qualities to work if she would move forward as a woman in politics.

Rare Words With a Negative Tone

When you use these rare words in your writing, you’re making it clear that things are taking a turn for the worse. In addition to helping you set the scene for your characters, these words can also let the reader know that something unfortunate is about to happen.

38. Aeolist

Her aeolist attitude made it tough to talk to her at parties, as she seemed to have a sense of self-righteousness that made it hard to have a conversation.

39. Balderdash

Much of the keynote speaker’s talk consisted of balderdash; pointless chatter littered with buzzwords that had no meaning.

40. Bumfuzzled

When she got off the train at her destination, she was bumfuzzled; she had no idea how to get out of the train station, much less find her way to her hotel. 

41. Cavil

The employees caviled at the new procedure for clocking out at the end of the day, even though the policy was intended to make their lives easier.

42. Churlish

Jasmine’s attitude toward her sister-in-law was churlish despite Quinn’s repeated attempts to extend an olive branch to quell past hurts.

43. Defalcation

As they reviewed the year’s books, it became clear that the financial department had committed defalcation toward many of its customers.

44. Dunandunate

While Amelia was excited to have her daughter home from college, her constant dunandunating of the terms from her sociology class was wearing on her patience.

45. Enervate

The negative environment created by gossipers in the church enervated the congregation, and it felt exhausting to even enter the building.

46. Gobbledygook

Hidden by pages of policy gobbledygook, Anna flipped through her new contract to find the salary offer.

47. Luddite

Despite her attempts to help people at the senior center learn how to video chat with their families, many Luddites turned up their noses at the idea of communicating using anything other than an old-fashioned telephone.

48. Mawkish

The letter was mawkish, and it was clear she didn’t put much effort into getting her point across.

49. Morosoph

Despite past run-ins with the law, the morosoph continued to make the same mistakes time and again, resulting in having to ask his parents to bail him out.

50. Nebbish

Despite his previous successes, Tyler had become nebbish, lacking the ambition to move up within the company.

51. Odious

The odious dictator deserved everything he got, and the people of the country were glad to see that justice had finally been served.

52. Poindexter

He had a reputation as a poindexter, stopping to micromanage every detail of the office as if it made a difference in the company’s bottom line.

53. Prolix

The book was far too prolix for anyone to enjoy, and she wished the author would just get to the point.

54. Solipsism

As she focused on herself instead of the well-being of her children, her solipsism became even more apparent.

55. Supercilious

Her supercilious nature allowed her to feel better than others on the team, but it didn’t do much to help her make friends, as most felt that her holier-than-thou attitude was unpleasant.

56. Ultracrepidarian

When the mom attempted to ask her son’s question about how the stars got in the sky, she realized she’d have to resort to an ultracrepidarian answer to satisfy his curiosity.

57. Vulpine

Her vulpine grin made it clear that she was up to no good.

Looking for more? Check out our list of words for poets!


  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.