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?
25 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.
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. 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 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.
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.
10. Meraki (Greek)
Describes what happens when you leave a piece of yourself in your creative work. When you love something enough to invest 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 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.
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.
Someone who spends their time wandering or traveling from place to place, whether by choice or by requirement.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.