60 Funny English Words That Will Improve Your Vocabulary
These are the words that I find the most fun to use, whether it be in speaking or writing, and by sprinkling a few of them into your daily vocabulary, you will almost certainly add humor to your life.
It is not an exhaustive list, nor is the definition of “fun” based on anything other than my own amusement, but I hope you will enjoy it nonetheless.
Howdy is an informal greeting that is generally associated with Texas and other southwestern states. This particularly fun word can be used to spice up greetings with close friends and acquaintances.
“Howdy, partner. How about you and I take a trip to the rodeo this afternoon.”
Palsy-walsy is an adjective that describes someone or something that is very friendly or intimate. Believe it or not, this phrase is almost 100 years old; the first recorded usage was in the 1930s.
“I’m palsy-walsy with all my coworkers. We get dinner outside of the office every Thursday night.”
Scrumptious means tasty or delicious. Your favorite dish or an extremely pleasant meal could be described as “scrumptious.”
“The lobster with the lemon butter was scrumptious.”
Lollygag means to loaf about or act lazily. This fun verb is both a treat to use and to do – especially when you have important things to take care of.
“The reports are due today, but we’ll lollygag for a few hours before we get started; I say it’s the perfect work-life balance.”
The adjective form of this word, indubitable, means unquestionable or certain. Indubitably is the adverb form, which is more fun to say and can be used to express certainty about an action.
“Aaron Judge will indubitably hit a home run against the Red Sox during the game on Thursday.”
Fantastical describes something that is like a fantasy: imaginary. For the most part, people enjoy works of fantasy, and so the term has taken on a positive meaning.
“She had a beautiful, fairy-tale wedding. It was fantastical.”
Funky is an adjective that has two primary definitions:
First, it describes a rhythm or music – think of the funk genre. Second, it is used to characterize a strange, musty smell.
Regardless of how you use it, funky will always be fun to say.
“The mixture of sweat, deodorant, and cologne gave the men’s locker room a funky smell.”
Serendipity is a fortunate coincidence or happy accident. If you find yourself in a serendipitous situation, then things are probably going very well.
“Serendipity proved once again to be John’s close friend: he had not studied for the test, but luckily for him, the professor canceled class at the last minute.
Bodacious means excellent, admirable, or attractive. You can use this word to depict a number of pleasant objects or experiences.
“I bought the car at a bodacious price – 50% off!”
To call something bonkers is to say that it is crazy or unbelievable.
“Are you bonkers? Everyone knows that Interstellar is Matthew McConaughey's best movie; not How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.”
Rad, or radical, is another way to call something cool, awesome, or great. While this word is used less today than it was in the 1980s and 1990s, it still retains its fun.
“The new Porsche body style is rad.”
A frazzled person is someone who is anxious, tired, worn down, or fatigued. It derives its meaning from frayed rope or fabric. While the definition possesses a negative connotation, the word is still great fun to roll off the tongue.
“Ms. Smith’s energetic third grade class wore her down to a frazzle at the day’s end.”
If something dazzles you, you are either overpowered with a brilliant light or deeply impressed. This word is both fun to say and a good addition to your vocabulary.
“The rendition of the Nutcracker was a dazzling performance despite the dancer’s frazzled appearance.”
Quack can mean the sound a duck makes or a meritless medical doctor. The former definition always makes for good fun to imitate while the latter is used as an insult.
“Doctor Morris prescribed snake oil for your cough? He might be a quack.”
Tummy is another word for stomach or abdomen. The term is usually reserved for children to use, but it is still fun to say when trying to vary your vocabulary.
“That pasta was yummy in my tummy.”
Sizzle is the sound certain objects make when exposed to heat – particularly food. The example that comes to mind most often is bacon. This word is classified as an onomatopoeia because its pronunciation mimics the sound it describes.
“The bacon fat sizzled when I placed it on the pan.”
Merriam-Webster defines jiggle as a verb meaning “to cause to move with quick little jerks or oscillating motions.” Jiggle is a delight to use humorously.
“John tapped the Jell-O with his spoon and watched it jiggle back and forth.”
Rambunctious means full of energy or difficult to control. This word is most commonly used to describe energetic children.
“Ms. Smith did not have the energy to keep up with her rambunctious students.”
If you’re European, a saucy person might mean that you’ve met someone rude or disrespectful. If you’re in North America, a saucy individual might be bold and well-dressed.
“Did you see John’s new jacket? That saucy fellow looks sharp.”
Eureka is an exclamation of great satisfaction or relief. According to legend, the term was shouted by the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes when he discovered a method of determining the purity of gold.
“Eureka! I’ve discovered the cure to the common cold.”
Golly, like eureka, is an exclamation. It is used to express delight, surprise, or disappointment in a situation. You can consider it a one-stop shop for exclamations, although it has fallen out of use in recent times.
“Golly! Did you get me a bicycle for my birthday? I sure appreciate that.”
Sloshed is a word that you would use to describe inebriated friends. Think of it as a step above drunk but not quite at the level of a college fraternity party. This word is fun to use, although you may regret it the next morning.
“After three beers I’ll be sloshed. I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.”
Flabbergasted means greatly surprised.
“I was flabbergasted by the party. It was a perfect surprise – I was speechless.”
Jeez, like golly, is an exclamation that has fallen out of use lately, but it is still fun to say for its unique pronunciation. It is primarily used for expressing mild surprise or annoyance.
“Jeez-Louise! Those bagel bites are hot. I think I burnt my tongue.”
A scoundrel is a dishonest or immoral person. While you can probably think of other names to describe such individuals, this word is both forceful, descriptive, and full of character. Consider adding it to your vocabulary.
“Doctor Morris stole funds from the hospital? That scoundrel!”
Boogie got its start as a style of blues, but now it is used as a general term for dance. Boogie is another word of a bygone era, but don’t let that stop you from hitting the dance floor.
“I boogied all night at Dave’s wedding.”
Scoot is a verb that means to slide or move over. If you want a seat on a bench, you might ask someone to scoot over to make room.
“Would you mind scooting over so I could sit? There’s still no space; keep scooting. Scoot scoot scoot. That’s perfect, thank you.”
Chic means well dressed and fashionable. A wardrobe that consists of designer clothes would be considered chic.
“His faux-ostrich-hide-pleather belt was designed in Milan. It’s so chic.”
Scandalous is a word used to describe an event as outrageous, offensive, or in poor taste. While the word retains its serious meaning, it has developed a light-hearted connotation in some situations.
An aficionado is a person who is an expert in their past time, hobby, or subject matter. This is a great term to use when you need a synonym for expert or connoisseur.
“Addison, a true chocolate aficionado, can name every Swiss and German chocolatier in business today.”
A jubilee is an event celebrating 25 (silver), 40 (ruby), 50 (golden), 60 (diamond), 65 (sapphire), and 70 (platinum) years of activity. You may have heard this word used during the Queen of England’s platinum jubilee, which she celebrated in early 2022. This is a fantastic term for adding elegance to milestones in your life.
“My grandmother and grandfather celebrate their golden jubilee anniversary in March. They’ve been married for 50 years.
Juicy describes a food that is full of liquid or moisture. It can also be used to describe an interesting piece of gossip.
“Oranges are juiciest when they’re freshly picked.”
The definition of phalanges might be mundane, but no one can deny how fun it is to say it. In anatomy, it is another word for the bone of a finger or toe. In other contexts, it can refer to a formation of police or troops.
“What’s the deal with chicken fingers? Do they even have phalanges?”
Gooey is an adjective that defines an object as soft and sticky. Most people, excluding children, dislike touching gooey substances.
“I made gooey slime for my science fair project. Ah gross, it’s stuck to my fingers.”
A sham is something that is falsely portrayed or a lie. This can be a fun word to use when expressing annoyance at being deceived.
“That two-for-one deal was a sham. The cost came out to be the exact same.”
To be bamboozled means you were fooled or tricked. Most people would not use this word today, but it could be a silly alternative to create a lively conversation.
“How was I to know that he was a card sharp? I can’t believe he bamboozled out of $50 bucks with those tricks.”
A shenanigan is a fun word used to describe a prank or mischievous behavior. Despite being considered an outdated word, it is used more today than when it was first coined in the mid-1800s. Don’t expect to hear it in serious conversation, although it may pop up when people are in a playful mood.
Darius is up to his shenanigans again; he unscrewed the cap to the salt and pepper shakers.”
Jibber-jabber is another archaic phrase that is making a comeback. It means to quickly talk back and forth or to talk on an unimportant subject.
“Enough jibber-jabber. Let’s get down to business; these stock prices aren’t going to discuss themselves.”
Jabberwocky is an invented, nonsensical, or meaningless language. The term was coined by Lewis Carrol in his poem by the same name. It is an interesting word that can be used to describe anything that you find to be nonsense.
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
- The first stanza of the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carrol
Some readers may recognize this word from our “Joe Biden Teaches Slang” article. Check it out if you haven’t already. Anyway, malarkey is an expression used to describe something as disingenuous or nonsense.
“The Earth is flat you say? As a NASA scientist, I think that’s total malarkey’”
This fun-sounding word has a beastly definition: it describes an imaginary, fierce, and wild animal. According to Merriam-Webster, it can also mean to go askew or awry.
“I planned a surprise party for Sarah, but things went catawampus when Jake spilled the beans during breakfast.”
Stupendous is used to praise something as fantastic, great, or impressive.
“Our pilot landed the plane in a hurricane. That was stupendous flying on his part.”
If you ask Oxford Languages what it means to frolic, it will tell you that frolicking is to “play or move about cheerfully, excitedly, or energetically. Frolicking means the same thing as lollicking and rollicking, in case you were wondering.
“I felt fantastic yesterday in the ocean air; I frolicked on the beach as if I were a child again.”
A boisterous person will be loud, rowdy, and (hopefully) cheerful. When describing the weather, boisterous means extremely windy. You now have a fun word to use for your rambunctious friends or for a particularly breezy day.
“I love going to hockey games with Randy. His boisterous persona helps the players get their heads in the game.”
Pandowdy is a type of baked good that closely resembles an apple pie. You may not have any use for this word unless you work at a bakery, but I would encourage everyone to work it into a sentence at least once a day.
“I could use a spiced apple dessert. Anyone up for a pandowdy.”
Our friends at Merriam-Webster tell us that bonanza has two definitions: The first is narrow and related to mining: “an exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit.” The second, broader definition derives its meaning from the first. It means “something that is very valuable, profitable, and rewarding.” Bonanza is also an American western TV show that aired from 1959 to 1973.
“The mattress sale bonanza ends today. Go now to get a great discount before it’s too late.”
Pawky is a term used to describe someone with a shrewd or cynical sense of humor. If you know a person that is witty in their criticisms, you can accurately call them pawky.
“Mohammad’s pawky remarks about the movie’s poor plot had the car roaring with laughter.”
Peewee means tiny or small. It is usually reserved for describing children, and in particular, children’s sports leagues. The usage can be stretched to cover anything you find tiny, and using this word will bring you more than a peewee amount of laughter.
“Hey John, I heard your son won a peewee league trophy. I didn’t know they let 4-year-olds play basketball.”
Groovy is a word synonymous with the 70s and hippie culture. When you call something groovy, you are saying that it is “awesome” or “fantastic”.
“Hey, I heard you started a new band. That’s groovy.”
Piffle is an interesting word because it is a noun that means nonsense. This definition combined with the parts of speech leads to some hilarious sentences.
“Fred’s piffle about the anatomy of chickens and the lack of fingers is starting to make sense, I think.”
A ragamuffin is a child that is dressed in ragged or dirty clothes.
“Melissa you’ve worn that outfit for four days in a row. You’re starting to look like a ragamuffin.”
Rhapsody has two definitions: an outburst of emotional feeling, and a poem in ancient Greek culture meant to be recited, at least in part, during one sitting. This word could be a fun way for you to describe the singing you do in the car.
“With tears in my eyes, I rhapsodized to the crowd about the need to be a more caring society.”
True to its name, a worrywart is a person who worries excessively or unnecessarily. Be sure to add this to your vocabulary if you have an over-worrier in your life. Plus, worrywart is an alliteration, and alliterations are always fun to use.
“Of course, I’ll wear a helmet when I ride my motorcycle. Don’t be such a worrywart.”
Persnickety characterizes a person who is fussy or finicky over small things. Perhaps you know a persnickety eater who needs every meal to be perfect.
“Jennifer’s persnickety approach to car interior ensures that it stays as clean as the day she bought it.”
A rapscallion is a mischievous person. This could describe a prankster or a more serious hooligan, but either way, it is a great word to keep around.
“Hannah, the little rapscallion, put a whoopie cushion under my chair.”
Returning to our trusted Merriam-Webster definitions, pettifogging is “to quibble over petty details” and “to engage in legal chicanery.” While no one knows what chicanery means, we all understand petty quibbling. Use this word to at least make the pettifogging fun.
“We pettifogged all night about the contract. She wanted to sign her name first, but I absolutely would not stand for it.”
A bungalow is a small, one-story house, cottage, or hut. This word is a must for anyone looking to spice up their vocabulary. Say it a few times in a sing-song voice to get the full effect.
“Despite the millions of dollars she made selling her textile company, the former CEO refused to live an exorbitant lifestyle of fast cars and big mansions, instead opting for a bungalow on the beach.
Dongle is a hilarious word for no other reason than the sound it makes. What is a dongle you may ask? It is an adaptor device of sorts that connects to other devices and increases their functionality. If you own an iPhone, you probably received a dongle that connects the lighting port to a headphone jack
“Did someone borrow my dongle? I need that back or else I can’t listen to jams in my car.”
Many people are familiar with a banjo: it is a stringed instrument that resembles a guitar and is played by plucking and strumming. It is featured most often in American folk music. What makes this a fun word to use, and why you should add it to your vocabulary, is that it is the most unique name for an instrument in the English language – at least in my opinion.
“The rustic twangs of the banjo are a staple at the county fair, where live music is performed by members of the Appalachian community.”
Rascal is a term used to affectionately describe a misbehaved child.
“Ah those little rascals – they tracked mud through the house again, but I still love them.”
Want to learn more?
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