How do you pronounce these 21 whimsical words?

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Several years ago, my son was going through a dinosaur phase. He was obsessed with anything and everything about pre-historic life. He wasn’t quite able to read yet, so it fell to me to pronounce words like sinosauropteryx, pachycephalosaurus, and eustreptospondylus when we read his books.

Dinosaur names can certainly be a mouthful, but learning to pronounce them gave me a new appreciation for phonetics.

Inspired by all this prehistoric nomenclature, I compiled a list of words that are fun to say (dinosaur names not included).

Have some fun pronouncing them on your own, especially the unfamiliar ones. Then click on the word for an audible pronunciation. (Definitions and pronunciations are from Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com.)

Bourgeoisie — the middle class.

Cerulean — a deep blue color; sky-blue.

Contumelious — insolent; rude and sarcastic; contemptuous.

Discombobulated — confused, embarrassed, upset.

Exsanguinate — drained of blood.

Flautist — one who plays the flute.

Indefatigable — incapable of being fatigued.

Lilliputian — a small person; very small; trivial.

Mundungus — not just a character from the “Harry Potter” series, mundungus means a stinking tobacco.

Nosocomial
— of or related to a hospital; occurring in a hospital.

Onomatopoeia — the naming of something by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (hiccup, hiss, thud).

Otorhinolaryngology — the medical specialty that treats diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.

Oviparous — producing eggs that mature outside the body.

Perspicacity — keen insight; power to mentally grasp or understand clearly.

Phantasmagorical — having a fantastic or deceptive appearance; something in a dream or an optical illusion.

Polydactyly — having more than the normal number of fingers and toes.

Popliteal — the area behind the knee.

Quetzalcoatlus — a large flying reptile from the late Cretaceous period of North America. (I said no dinosaurs, but, technically quetzalcoatlus was a flying reptile, not a dinosaur.)

Sesquipedalian — measuring a foot and a half; a long word; a person who uses long words.

Ubiquitous — being or existing everywhere; widespread.

Verisimilitude — appearing to be true or real; something that has the appearance of being true or real.

Readers, care to share any other words that are simply fun to say?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She is also author of the blog Impertinent Remarks.

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