47 Rare Words With Beautiful Meanings

Looking for some beautiful rare words to add to your vocabulary or include in a writing project? 

You don’t feel a need to pepper your casual conversation with them or overwhelm your readers with elaborate prose. 

But sometimes, frequently-used words don’t have the impact you’re going for.

And uncommon words — if chosen well — can make your reader stop and think just long enough to appreciate and internalize their meanings. 

So, which of the 25 rare words in the following list will you make your own?

47 Best Rare Words with Beautiful Meanings 

Aside from expanding your vocabulary, the following list of elegant words can help you put a name to some of the emotions you feel but find difficult to identify.

Which of these will you use first?

1. Coddiwomple (English slang) 

This word means to “travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination,” i.e., traveling without a plan or fixed itinerary.

The idea is freeing for some but panic-inducing for those who prefer more clarity and organization in their lives. 

2. Cromulent 

An adjective that means “used in an ironical sense to mean legitimate and, therefore, in reality, spurious and not at all legitimate.”

It can also be a made-up word that sounds plausible because it makes logical sense (i.e., meese as the plural for moose). 

3. Defenestration 

It has a literal meaning of throwing someone out a window. It can also mean a “swift dismissal or expulsion,” say, from a job or a political position.  

woman laying on beach reading, rare words with beautiful meanings

3. Eleutheromania (Greek)

This word is a manic or frantic yearning for freedom.

If you’re craving a break from the life you know and wanting to explore something different (or at least the freedom to do so), this is what you feel. 

4. Eudaimonia (Greek) 

This word means the contented state you feel while traveling and broadening your horizons. Once you feel this, it can be challenging to go back to your usual workday routine

5. Fernweh (German) 

Fernweh is the feeling of wanderlust or longing for far-off places you’ve never even been to. It’s a feeling that goes beyond mere interest. Think of a place you’ve always wanted to visit and explore.

6. Hiraeth (Welsh) 

A deep yearning or homesickness for a place you can’t return to or that never was. The longing can also be for an era in time or a state of being that may no longer exist.  Often mixed with feelings of melancholy and nostalgia.

7. Hygge (hoo-geh) (Danish) 

Think of the contentment and conviviality you feel when making time for gentle and soothing things, like glowing candles, relaxing with friends, or a steaming mug of your favorite tea. Now imagine this as a way of life.

8. Komorebi (Japanese) 

A word that describes scattered sunlight filtering through gaps in the trees. If you’ve ever stopped to admire the visual effect, you know what this means. 

woman sipping tea, rare words with beautiful meanings

9. Limerence

The state of being infatuated, smitten, or in love with another person. It may not last, and it’s not the most solid foundation for a relationship. 

10. Meraki (Greek) 

Describes what happens when you leave a piece of yourself in your creative work.  When you love something enough to invest in yourself, your essence is connected to it. 

11. Mudita (Sanskrit) 

Taking delight in the happiness of other people, even the cause for their happiness, doesn’t have a direct and equal impact on you.

You make their happiness your own.

12. Novaturient (from the Latin novus

Wanting or seeking powerful change in your life, your behavior, or a certain situation. You might feel this while doing some soul-searching or when you spontaneously break from your routine. 

13. Numinous (from Latin word numen) 

The feeling of fear and awe of something before you, whether that’s a fierce oncoming storm or your crush approaching you. 

14. Querencia (Spain) (kwi-ren-chi-ya) 

A place where you feel strong, safe, and at home. It could also be your “happy place,” which often has more to do with a person or people than a specific locale.

15. Papilionaceous 

A word about transformation, particularly one that resembles the change from cocoon to butterfly. It can describe internal changes in a person undergoing a transformation of mindset or belief. 

16. Peripatetic 

Someone who spends their time wandering or traveling from place to place, whether by choice or by requirement. 

young woman writing in book outdoors, rare words with beautiful meanings

17. Retrouvailles (reh-true-vay) (French)

The feeling of happiness you experience when reuniting with someone you’re close with after a long separation. 

18. Schwellenangst (German) 

The fear of crossing a threshold (literal or figurative) to embark on something new. 

19. Solivagant 

Someone wandering alone (noun) or marked by solitary wandering (adjective). If you’ve ever traveled alone, you can use this word to describe yourself. 

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20. Sonder

The sobering realization that other people around you are living lives as complex, important, and vivid as your own. It hits you now and then. 

21. Synchronicity 

Essentially the same as a meaningful coincidence.

Examples include the recurring appearance of a specific, meaningful number or a surprise encounter with someone you were just thinking about.

22. Syzygy 

An alignment of celestial bodies. An example would be a straight-line configuration of the sun, earth, and moon during a solar or lunar eclipse. 

23. Ubuntu (Nguni, Southern Africa) 

A philosophical approach that defines a person by their actions towards others, specifically their kindness and compassion.

It emphasizes unity and generosity of spirit. 

24. Vellichor 

A feeling shared by anyone who’s ever browsed the shelves of a used bookshop — a strange wistfulness combined with anticipation and serenity. It’s a good feeling. 

25. Serotinal

Referring to late summer or events occurring in late summer. For example, some flowers have serotinal blooming patterns, meaning they flourish late in the summer season.

26. Psithurism

The soothing sound of rustling leaves in the wind. A walk in a forest on a windy day would give you a perfect example of this natural symphony. It is often associated with calm, peacefulness, and being in tune with nature.

27. Eigengrau

Also known as “brain gray,” it is the color seen by the eye in perfect darkness. It's not completely black, but rather a kind of dark gray. It's the color you see when you close your eyes and look at nothing, the color of the void.

28. Ephemeroptera

This refers to the order of insects commonly known as mayflies.

While not typically thought of as a beautiful word on its own, the life cycle of mayflies—from their brief but spectacular emergence as adults to their graceful dance over water bodies—captures the fleeting beauty and fragility of existence.

29. Petrichor

That delightful scent you get when rain falls on dry soil, especially after a long dry spell. It's like nature's way of hitting the refresh button, bringing a sense of rejuvenation and tranquility to the air.

30. Serendipity

Serendipity is the magic of happy accidents and unexpected discoveries. It's finding something beautiful or valuable when you're not even looking for it. 

Like stumbling upon an old book that becomes your favorite or meeting someone who changes your life in an unexpected way.

31. Serein

The fine, light rain that falls from a clear sky during twilight or early evening.

It's a poetic phenomenon that adds a touch of magic to the transition between day and night, bringing a sense of serenity and renewal to the earth.

32. Ephemeral

Something fleeting and transient, like a shooting star streaking across the night sky or the brief burst of colors in a sunset. 

It reminds us to cherish the moments we have because they won't last forever.

33. Ethereal

Delicate and otherworldly, like the soft glow of moonlight filtering through a canopy of trees or the gentle flutter of butterfly wings. It's something so beautiful it almost seems unreal, like a dream or a fairy tale.

34. Apricity

The warmth of the sun on a cold winter day. It's that feeling of stepping into a patch of sunlight and feeling the chill melt away, replaced by a comforting, cozy sensation.

35. Phosphenes

The luminous visual sensations that arise from stimulation of the retina, often seen as colors, patterns, or flashes of light when the eyes are closed. 

Phosphenes can be a gateway to inner exploration and creativity, offering glimpses of the mind's vast potential.

36. Mellifluous

Sweet and melodious, like the sound of a babbling brook or the voice of a loved one. It's a word that rolls off the tongue just as smoothly as it describes the pleasantness of certain sounds.

37. Aesthete

Someone who has a deep appreciation for beauty in all its forms, whether it's art, music, literature, or nature. A true aesthete finds joy and inspiration in the world around them, seeing beauty where others might overlook it.

38. Noctilucent

Describing something that emits light at night, such as the ethereal glow of certain clouds or the shimmering bioluminescence of marine organisms. 

Noctilucent phenomena illuminate the darkness with their mysterious beauty, captivating observers with their otherworldly glow.

39. Incandescence

The radiant glow of light given off by something intensely heated, like a glowing ember or a burning candle. It's a word that evokes warmth and brightness, illuminating the darkness with its fiery brilliance.

40. Halcyon

A period of peace, tranquility, and prosperity, often associated with a golden age or a time of great happiness. It's a word that brings to mind idyllic scenes of calm seas, clear skies, and contented hearts.

41. Etherealize

To make or become ethereal, to take on a delicate and airy quality. Etherealize is a word that speaks to the transformative power of beauty, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and infusing the world with a sense of magic and wonder.

42. Efflorescence

The blooming or flourishing of something, whether it's a flower in full bloom or a person reaching their full potential. It's a word that conveys growth, vitality, and the beauty of transformation.

43. Eunoia

Beautiful thinking or a well mind. It's the state of having a pure and benevolent mind, characterized by compassion, goodwill, and a genuine desire for the well-being of others.

44. Mellisonant

Sweet-sounding or melodious, like the trill of a songbird or the laughter of a child. It's a word that describes sounds that are pleasing to the ear, filling the air with joy and harmony.

45. Susurrus

The soft, murmuring sound of whispering or rustling, like the gentle breeze through leaves or the hushed conversation of a crowd. 

It's a word that captures the subtle beauty of sound, invoking a sense of peace and serenity.

46. Nyctophilia

A love or preference for darkness or night; an affinity for the quiet solitude and mystery of nighttime. 

Nyctophiles find solace and inspiration in the shadows, embracing the beauty of the nocturnal world with all its hidden wonders.

47. Paresthesia

A tingling sensation or numbness commonly felt in the limbs, often described as “pins and needles.”

While it may not seem conventionally beautiful, paresthesia can be seen as a reminder of the intricate workings of the human body and the complex ways in which we experience sensation.

Final Thoughts

What rare words with beautiful meanings resonate with you?

Now that you’ve looked through these 25 rare words, which ones stood out for you? And which are you most likely to use today? 

Whether you use it in speech or writing (or both), you’ll be adding it to your own treasure box of words and probably introducing it to others.

Be prepared for someone to ask you, “What on earth does that mean?”

Not everyone will appreciate your efforts to broaden your vocabulary and perspective. But then again, not everyone has to. 

Enjoy them for your own sake.