Some writers are known for sprinkling unusual words throughout their copy. It becomes their style or maybe a familiar quirk, but I do think it puts up a barrier between writer and reader. If you have to stop reading to go look up the word, doesn’t that break the flow and stop readers in their tracks? And let’s face it, how many readers are going to do that?

Of course, being a word nerd, I am among those who do look up words I don’t recognize. Here are some words that recently had me reaching for the dictionary:

Contumely:  Insulting, scornful or contemptuous language or treatment

Elision:  The omission of a vowel, consonant or syllable while pronouncing or writing something (like he’s or t’is)

Eidetic memory: Recalled with startling accuracy, clarity and vividness

Recondite:  Requiring special detailed knowledge to be understood

Steampunk (Not found in your ordinary dictionary but in the Urban Dictionary): A sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that could be described as “what the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.”

Do you look up unusual words? What ones have you run across lately?