Wicked Words



Pronounced “TAN-te-lie-z”

Origins: Latin from Greek mythology – where a cruel man Tantalus who murdered his own son was punished by the Gods by making him stand forever in a pool of water under a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit and the water just out of his reach whenever he tried to eat or drink.

Have you ever been desperate to have something really special, but it’s always just out of your reach? Like a terrific book that’s sitting on a high bookshelf which you just can’t reach, or a puppy that’s sitting in a pet shop window which wags its tail at you whenever you pass by but which Dad says you can’t have. Or maybe you’ve teased a younger brother or sister by holding their favourite toy just too high for them to touch it! In all those cases, there’s been a lot of tantalising going on! So if you want to use this fabulous new Wicked Word, you might say to your beloved teacher Miss Snooks “Miss Snooks, you look positively tantalising in that green dress today! Do we REALLY have to do our homework tonight?”  Or you could say to your Mum “Mother, the smell of sausages frying in the kitchen is simply tantalising…if you don’t serve them up right away I’m going to eat Fred’s fingers!”




Pronounced “Eggs-ON-er-ate”

Origins: Latin: exonerare = to unburden (ex= un + onus = load)

Imagine – you’ve been given a detention by your beloved teacher Miss Snooks for failing to hand in your homework, when suddenly your pet dog turns up in the classroom with a note attached to his collar saying “Forgive me, I ate it!”   Suddenly, Miss Snooks falls to her knees begging your forgiveness, and the whole class cheers! That’s what “exonerate” means – being freed from responsibility or cleared from blame! So you might say to your sister Maisie (in your poshest voice of course)  “Maisie, if you give me ALL your pocket money right away, you shall be exonerated from cleaning my bedroom this week!” Or to your poor mum and dad “My dear parents, there can be no exoneration for your failure to buy me a horse this year, and I’m afraid that I shall have to report you to the police!”



Pronounced “EST-er-vul”

Origins: Latin: aestivalis = of or pertaining to summer

With summer holidays upon us, what better new wicked word than one that means “relating to summer”? This is a really smart and posh way of describing anything about summer. So you might say to your beloved teacher Miss Snooks as you pack your school bag for the last time before holidays, “Tell me Miss Snooks, where do you plan to spend your estival vacation?” Or you could say to your poor long-suffering siblings Fred and Maisie: “My dear brother and sister, your estival attire leaves a lot to be desired …perhaps you’d better stay behind at home this holiday and clean my bedroom!”

Happy estival holidays!



Pronounced “SUMP-choo-uss”

Origins: Latin: sumptus = expense

In this week when people all around the world are celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee with street parties and feasts, flotillas of beautifully decorated boats on the Thames, special church services, fabulous free concerts and speeches of thanksgiving, what better Wicked Word to learn than this deliciously juicy word which means magnificent, expensive, lavish or splendid! There is so much that is sumptuous for us to feast our eyes on – the royal barge with its decorations in gold paint and red velvet; the beautiful displays of flowers, the streets and windows hung with flags, the funny costumes of people in the huge crowds – even the Queen’s tiaras and royal jewels! So go ahead – have a truly, unforgettably sumptuous week this week to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee!



Pronounced “id-ee-oh-SIN-crass-ee”/ id-ee-oh-SIN-cratt-ick”.

Origins: Greek: idio = one’s own + synkrasis = temperament/mixture of personal characteristics

I LOVE people with IDIOSYNCRASIES! In fact, I have a good many idiosyncrasies myself! An idiosyncrasy is something which is peculiar or quirky or different about your personality which makes you stand out from other people. If you are idiosyncratic, you are extra-special! So if you’re someone who can only think while standing on one foot and poking out your tongue, that would be your rather special idiosyncrasy. Or if you tend to jump like a kangaroo down the road instead of walking, that would be particularly idiosyncratic!

These are fabulous words and you can use them today! For example, you might say to your long-suffering teacher in your poshest voice, “My dear Mr Snooks, your habit of wearing bright green ties with purple spots is rather idiosyncratic, yet somehow quaintly endearing.”  Or you could say to your big sister, “Maisie,  your failure to lend me all your best clothes is a very strange idiosyncrasy. You should be PROUD to lend them to a genius like me.” Try it today and let me know how you get on!

Special thanks to Jemima Crosby Chen who wrote to me recommending this fantastic Wicked Word!



Pronounced “pan-de-mow-nee-um”

Origins: Greek: pan = all + daimonium = evil spirit

This month it’s all about Pandas! So I couldn’t resist a very bad pun when I decided on today’s wicked word! In my new story  The Tale of Pin Yin Panda all hell breaks loose at the Chinese New Year’s Eve party when Pin Yin announces that next year will be the Year of the Panda instead of the Year of the Dragon. All the zodiac animals get very cross indeed, shouting, jumping up and down and getting so mad that we can say that there was complete pandemonium!

The word pandemonium was invented by a wonderful poet called Milton in the 17th century in his famous poem Paradise Lost, to describe the capital of Hell. He put together two Greek words to create a new word which ever since has been used to denote a very noisy place, or a state of wild uproar and disorder.

So you could try using this wicked word on your beloved teacher Miss Snooks, saying in your poshest voice: “Miss Snooks, it was utter pandemonium in this classroom before you came in this morning, but then your calm voice of reason restored peace and order. You’re a truly amazing teacher…can you let me off my homework tonight?” Or you could say to your long suffering mum and dad “Mother, Father, my bedroom may be pandemonium, but it’s MY pandemonium!”



Pronounced “ill-uss-tree-us”

Origins: Latin: illustrare = to give glory to/to shine upon

What did Beethoven have in common with…


They were both ILLUSTRIOUS – that’s what!

Illustrious is a fabulous way of saying “very famous” or “highly distinguished” or, in relation to the deeds such people do, “glorious and great”. So you might say to your teacher, the delightful Miss Snooks: “My dear Miss Snooks, your beauty is legendary; your talent is sublime; news of your brilliance has spread far and wide; you are truly the most illustrious person I know…do I really have to do my homework tonight?”  Or you might say to your long-suffering parents: “Mother, Father, please speak to me with the greatest respect for one day I shall be truly illustrious!”

Now there’s a good word to use in the current Clever Competition!



Pronounced “fass-tidd-ee-us”

Origins: Latin: fastus = pride or arrogance + taedium = being annoying or boring

Are you incredibly polite or indescribably neat, or very, very picky about things like food or clothes? Then chances are that this Wicked Word is just for you!! When someone is described as fastidious they are either someone who pays very careful attention to detail, or they’re extremely sensitive about their own and other people’s manners and good taste, or they might be just far too difficult to please! They could even be all three at the same time!

So you might stun your teacher with your verbal brilliance by saying:  “Miss Snooks, as always your outfit today is in fastidious good taste, but nobody would mind if your attention to giving homework was  a little less fastidious!” Or you could say to your long-suffering sister, “Maisie, kindly be more fastidious when cleaning my bedroom!”  Try it and see what they say!



Pronounced “mell – iff – loo -uss”

Origins: Latin: mell = honey + fluere = to flow

What better way to get back into the flow of school than to learn a word that’s all about flowing! If something is “mellifluous” it has a smooth, rich flow! So to get off on the right foot with your new teacher you might say, with a beaming smile,  ‘Mr Snooks, your voice is so mellifluous…I could listen to it all day!” But to your poor long-suffering brother or sister you might say “Fred/Maisie, if you don’t clean up my room right away, I’ll pour this mellifluous yoghurt all over your pillow!”



Pronounced “ree-splen-dent”.

Origins: Latin: resplendens: re = back + splendere = to shine

This is a fabulous way to say that someone or something is simply dazzling! So in our picture, the king is resplendent in his robes of silk and gold.  Or you could say that a field is resplendent with flowers, meaning that it’s covered with brightly coloured blooms. But it’s also a great way of flattering people so you can get exactly what you want! So you might say to your beloved teacher Mr Snooks, in your poshest voice of course, “I say, Mr Snooks, you are looking simply resplendent in that new jacket today! Oh, and by the way, do we really have to do our homework tonight?”. Or you might say to your mum, “Mother, what a resplendent feast we are having for dinner tonight! Let’s celebrate with a movie!”



Pronounced “koh-pu-set-ick”.

Origins: unknown. first used in 1919.

A big thank you to Liz Hemmings who introduced me to this strange new word when she wrote to me this week! Nobody knows where this word came from, but it’s used alot in the United States and Canada, and it means “completely satisfactory” or “in good order”! So you might say to your beloved teacher Miss Snooks, in a posh accent of course, ” My dear Miss Snooks, it would be copacetic if you forgot to set us homework for the rest of the school year!” To which Miss Snooks might reply, “I think it would be more copacetic if you refrained from comments like that in the future!” Or you could say to your annoying older sister, ” Maisie, it would be copacetic if you would kindly tidy my room for me every day after you’ve completed the homework Miss Snooks insists on setting for me!”



 Pronounced “eff-er-VESS-nts”


Origins: Latin: ex = up/out + fervescere = to start boiling

This is one of those strange words which has a rather boring literal meaning but a wonderful second meaning which is perfect for Spring! The literal meaning is “the emission of small bubbles of gas” – the sort of fizz that comes out of fizzy drinks like Sprite or Coca Cola.  But the second meaning is much more fun! It means “bubbling up with excitement”!  So when the sun starts shining, the trees start blossoming, the birds are singing and – best of all – the swimming pools start filling up – and you’re feeling so excited that Spring is here that you could burst, you are most definitely being “effervescent”! So you could say to your beloved teacher in a very posh voice  “Miss Snooks, I am effervescent with the joys of Spring and can’t possibly be expected to do any homework this month!”  Or you could say to your older brother or sister, “Fred/Maisie, your effervescence whenever I come into the room is understandable, as I am the most perfect sibling anyone could hope to have, but for goodness sakes, CALM DOWN!”



Pronounced “om-NISH-nt”.

Origins: Latin: omni = all + scient = knowledge

If you know just about everything there is to know about just about anything, and a little bit more, then you can truly call yourself “omniscient”.  Basically, someone who is omniscent is a know-it-all – literally!! So you might say to your beloved teacher, in your snootiest accent, “My dear Miss Snooks, there is simply no  point in you giving me any homework at all, because I am omniscent”. Or you might say to your older brother, “poor old Fred, it must be so hard being the brother of someone omniscent such as myself. But never fear, you only have to grovel at my feet and pay me $10 a time, and I’ll tell  you anything you need to know!” 




Pronounced “i-ri-DESS-nts”

Origins: Greek: iris = rainbow + Latin: escence = beginning to be

This is a lovely word for a lovely thing! “Iridescence” is the rainbow-like shimmer or sheen that you see on bubbles, some bird feathers, oil slicks on wet roads, inside sea-shells like abalones and in gemstones like opals.  So you might say to your teacher Miss Snooks (in a very posh voice of course)  “Miss Snooks, I have been admiring the iridescence of your pearl earrings all day!”. Or you might say to your older brother or sister, “My smile is so much more iridescent than yours, though perhaps that’s because my teeth are so much cleaner!”.




Pronounced “at-ROW-shuss”

Origins: Latin: atrox or atroc = frightful or cruel

Now this is how someone looks when somebody else  is behaving atrociously! Something is atrocious if it is extremely evil or cruel, or exceptionally bad. In my new book The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit, Rhonda digs holes where the Army does its training, which makes atrocious puddles on the days when it is raining – that means that the puddles are just dreadful! But also the Emperor Qin Shi Huang had a reputation for atrocious cruelty towards those who opposed him. So you might say to your teacher Mr Snooks in your most serious voice, Sir, I’m afraid that your habit of setting homework at the weekends is simply atrocious!”. Or you might say to your parents, “I promise to clear up the atrocious mess in my room if you promise to pay me $1,000!Now that really would be atrocious behaviour! 



Pronounced “in-add-VER-tnt-lee

Origins: Latin: in = not + advertare = to turn towards

This is a VERY superior way of saying you did or said something unintentionally or accidentally ie without meaning to.  So you might say to your teacher Mr Snooks (in a very posh voice of course) : “I deeply regret to inform you that my dog inadvertently ate my homework”.  Or you could say to your mum or dad “I’m really sorry that I didn’t go to school today, but I inadvertently slipped on a banana peel this morning, instantly suffered from amnesia and completely forgot it was a weekday!”




Pronounced “splenn-differ-us”

Origins: Latin: splendor = radiance + ferre = to bring

If something is splendiferous, then quite simply it means “having great splendor or beauty”! It’s my favourite way of saying “amazing” or “fantastic” and it’s FAR more interesting than saying “AWESOME” or “COOL” ! So next time your teacher Miss Snooks sets you five pieces of homework to finish by the next day, you could try saying ” Wow! That’s just SPLENDIFEROUS….NOT!!!”  Or you could say to your long-suffering older brother or sister, “That’s a SPLENDIFEROUS jacket you got for Christmas…I think I’m going to wear it to school tomorrow! ” Try it and see what they say!



Pronounced “mag-nan-im-us”

Origins: Latin: magnus = great + animus = soul or mind

Without a doubt, Christmas is a time for being magnanimous – when someone is magnanimous, they are being noble in mind and heart to others by being unselfish and kind, and refusing to be petty or small-minded about things.  So here is my hope for you: that Santa is magnanimous to you and your family; that you are magnanimous to everyone around you, and that life is magnanimous to you and the people you love over the next year! Merry Christmas!



Pronounced “in-eff-i-bul”






Origins: Latin: in = not; effabilis = able to speak out

You know those times when you’re feeling so happy, or so sad, or so mad, or so…anything…that you just can’t put it into words? Well, that’s when you need this Wicked Word! Ineffable means exactly that – indescribable, or unable to be put into words. So, for example, you might say to your poor teacher Miss Snooks, “My dear Miss Snooks, it is with ineffable sadness that I count down the days till Christmas, for over the holidays I will not see your divinely beautiful face.” Or you could say to your big brother, “Freddy, the smell of your socks is ineffable” or to your Mum and Dad “Mother, Father, if you give me everything I want for Christmas, your joy will be ineffable!” – to which they may well answer “You’re right! It will be ineffable – ineffably foolish!”




Pronounced “eggs-OO-bear-unt”

Origins: Latin –  ‘uberare ‘= to be fruitful

The picture says it all! When something is “exuberant”, like a plant or someone’s hair, there’s an awful lot of it! When a person or an animal is “exuberant” it’s brimful of enthusiasm or joy!! So you might say to your Dad in your very poshest voice:”My dear Father, you must shave IMMEDIATELY – your moustache is simply exuberant! ” Or you could say to your teacher Miss Snooks: “Miss Snooks, I know that I’m brilliant, but please try to restrain your exuberance when you read my homework, it’s just not fair on the others!”



(Pronounced “vo-ray-shus”) 

Origins: Latin: ‘vorax’ from ‘vorare’ = to devour

Do you read book after book after book, day after day after day? Congratulations! That makes you a voracious reader! Or do you eat everything on your plate, then ask your mum for more, then eat all of that, then ask for more? That makes you a voracious eater! Voracious is a great way to describe someone, or something, that is either very greedy, or very enthusiastic about doing something. For example, Temujin the Tiger had a voracious appetite for human beings in The Tale of Temujin! So you might say to your teacher Mr Snooks (in a very supercilious way of course), “Mr Snooks, I fear that your appetite for setting homework is somewhat voracious! Do you think you could possibly refrain from setting it over the Christmas holidays this year?” Or you could say to your parents “Mother, Father, I am voracious by nature: I expect nothing less than fifty books,  one hundred chocolate bars and two hundred puppies for Christmas!”  




(pronounced “lack-a-days-ick-el”)

Origins: from the archaic (or ancient) word “alack-a-day”. “Alack” is an archaic way of saying “alas” which is an expression of regret.

I’ve always loved this word, I think because I love the “daisy” in it! It means “without enthusiasm” or “lifeless” or “lazy”. So you might say to your teacher “Miss Snooks, I’d love to do the spelling test today, but frankly I’m feeling far too lackadaisical!” Or you might say to your sister, “Maisie, I’m sorry, but your lackadaisical attitude towards doing my homework is simply unacceptable. Get on with it, or else!” Give it a try and see what happens!


INORDINATE(adjective); INORDINATELY (adverb)

(pronounced “in-ord-in-it” /”in-ord-in-it-lee”)

Origins: Latin: in=not + ordinatus = arranged or ordered

I love these words! They’re such a great way of describing something that’s completely over the top! They mean “excessive” or “beyond what’s reasonable” or “lacking in restraint or moderation”. In other words, way too much! So you might say to your mum and dad “Mother, father, my bedroom is INORDINATELY MESSY! PLEASE CLEAN IT UP!”  Or you might say to your teacher, “Mr Snooks, my love for homework is inordinate, as you well know. But my love for Spongebob Squarepants is greater.” Give it a go and see what they say!




(pronounced “in-tran-zi-jent” and “in-tran-zi-jentz”)

Origins: Latin: in = not + transigere = to come to an agreement

This is such a great way of saying “stubborn” or “uncompromising” especially if you think the person being stubborn is being completely unreasonable! So you might say to your older sister or brother (in your poshest voice of course):

Fred/Maisie, My request that you do my homework each evening is perfectly reasonable, and I do not appreciate your intransigent attitude on the subject!”  Or you could say to your beloved teacher: “Miss Snooks, I cannot understand your intransigence when all I have asked is that the class watch Spongebob Squarepants every morning for the rest of the week!”

Try it out and see what happens…then let us know all about it!



(pronounced “sair-un-dip-it-us”)

Origins: This is another fascinating word with unusual origins! The word was made up by the famous 18th Century historian, writer and politician Horace Walpole (son of British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole) after he read the Persian fairytale “The Three Princes of Serendip,” in which the heroes  possess the gift of making happy discoveries by accident.  

If something is “serendipitous” it is something very good or lucky or fortunate that has happened quite by accident. For example,  you might bump into a friend just as you are about to go to the Post Office to mail them a gift. Or you might find a diamond in the bottom of your cornflakes bowl in the morning! If you really want to impress your Mum and Dad, you could say “My dear parents, your first meeting each other was truly serendipitous, when you consider that you then went on to have ME!!” Or you might say to your poor long-suffering teacher Mr Snooks “Is it not serendipitous that the day our homework has to be handed in is a public holiday?”



(Pronounced “caw-rm”)

Origins:  Latin: quorum = of whom

This week’s Wicked Word comes to us courtesy of our first prize winner in September’s Laugh Out Loud Limerick Competition, Brittany Arthur of Sha Tin Junior School, published on my Competitions page today! I was so impressed that someone in Grade 6 was using it correctly, as it is a very old and quite technical word that we don’t come across often, unless we attend formal meetings! A “quorum” is the minimum number of people needed in a meeting of a company or organisation before it can make valid decisions which bind all the members of that company or organisation. There is no set number for a quorum, and it will vary depending on the rules of each organisation. You could use the word to REALLY annoy your mum and dad – for example, you could say (with a very snooty accent of course) “Mother, Father, I will not do anything you tell me to do unless it has been approved unanimously by a quorum of three members of this family, one of whom must be me!”   Try it and see what they say!



(Pronounced “high-PER-bo-lee”)

 Origins: Greek: Hyper = over + bole = throw 

Hyperbole is the GREATEST, MOST INCREDIBLE, MOST AMAZING word in the UNIVERSE!!! That, my friends, is pure hyperbole! Hyperbole is a statement which is completely and deliberately exaggerated or overstated. So you might  say to your mum and dad in the morning: “This congee/cereal/toast is the most delicious, exquisite, superb  food that I have ever tasted in my entire LIFE!!”  Or I might say to you: “It would NOT be hyperbole to say that my Dirty Party this coming Saturday will be the Dirtiest Party ever held in Hong Kong!” Or you might say to your teacher “Mr/Miss Snooks, forgive me if I say that this morning you are looking extraordinarily handsome/beautiful – indeed you must be the most handsome/beautiful teacher in the entire WORLD!” Try it out on your teachers and see what they say!



(pronounced “pyoo-ssill-AN-i-muss”)

Origins: Latin: pusillus = very small + animus = mind

This is such a great adjective to describe someone who is being cowardly or timid in a really disgraceful way. So you use it when someone is refusing to be brave even when it’s obvious they ought to be! So for example, you might say to that teacher of yours, “Mr/Miss Snooks – when it comes to the question of homework, pray do not be pusillanimous! We will not be angry with you if you go where no teacher has been before and refuse to set us homework this term! In fact, we might even give you CHOCOLATE!!”

I dare you to try it on YOUR teacher and see what happens! And then write a comment and tell us all what happened of course!


(pronounced “eck-STAT-ick”)

Origins: Greek; ekstasis = displacement or trance

When you are ecstatic about something, you are in a state of rapturous delight or bliss! I can’t think of a better word to describe that amazing feeling when, after weeks of having freedom, fun and lots of lovely long sleep-ins, you can FINALLY return to those early mornings, long days in school and, best of all, HOMEWORK!!!!!  Yippee! Okay, so not all of us feel that way. But we can all use this fabulous word, even if we use it with sarcasm (ie we don’t really mean it!). So, for example, we can say to our big brother or sister “Fred/Maisie, you will be ecstatic to know that I’m going to make it my mission in life to annoy you until Christmas!” Or you can say to that long-suffering teacher of yours “Mr/Miss Snooks, I am simply ecstatic to see you again. Please, please give me loads of homework this term!” 

Try it out and let us know what your brother/sister/teacher says by posting a comment below!


(pronounced “gar-GAN-chew-en”)


Origins: this word is really fascinating, as it doesn’t come from an ancient language like Latin or Greek, but from a play written in the early 16th century by a French writer named Francois Rabelais. He invented a huge giant called Gargantua who was always hungry! So after that, people used the word “gargantuan” to describe a gigantic or enormous appetite. 

Today, we use “gargantuan” to describe anything really huge. You might say to your mum or dad in a nicely posh accent, for example; “Good morning Mother/Father. I have a gargantuan appetite today and will only be satisfied with fifteen fried eggs, two dozen rashers of bacon and forty five Mars Bars for breakfast!” Or you could say to your teacher the minute you return to school: “Well hello, Mr Snooks, I trust that you had gargantuan fun on your holidays!”  and see what he says back (then write me a post to let us all know!).


(Pronounced “sopp-or-iff-ick” )

Origins: Latin: sopor = sleep

This is the perfect word for the summer holidays, when so many of us head off to a beach or poolside to lie in the sun and do nothing (except read brilliant books of course!). It means “inducing sleep” or “making sleepy”. So you might say to your mum, with a very superior expression of course, “Mother, I think I’ll take a nap. This summer sun is SO soporific!” Or you might say to your little brother if he’s trying to wind you up with one of those annoying repetitive songs: “Johnny, do keep on singing, it’s delightfully soporific” – then yawn very loudly and pretend to fall asleep.


(pronounced “bam-boo-zooled” )

Origins: it goes back to the 1700s, but nobody knows where it came from!

This is a fabulous way to say that you’re feeling confused. It actually has two meanings, the first, to be deceived or tricked, but the most common, to be confused or puzzled.  So you might say to your teacher: “I’m sorry, Mr Snooks, but you have completely bamboozled me with your explanation of the school rules and I’m afraid that I can’t follow any of them!” Or you might say to your brother or sister ” Backwards sentences our all speaking by holidays these Dad and Mum bamboozle let’s! ”

Try it out and tell me what happens!


(pronounced “ell-oo-sid-ate” – some people say “ell-you-sid-ate” but we’re not going to be that posh)

Origins: Latin: lucidus = lucid

This week my wicked word is a verb. To elucidate is to make something clear by explaining or analysing it. So for example, you might say – in a very haughty voice of course: “Mother, Father, I know my bedroom is a mess, but let me elucidate:- I cannot keep my room tidy if you insist on letting me sleep in it! I’m not good at keeping things tidy and you should know that by now!”

Or you could say to your teacher: “My homework hasn’t been handed in today, but allow me to elucidate: my hamster escaped from her cage last night, unzipped my school bag, pulled out my homework, shredded it into little pieces, dragged them into her cage, made a comfortable bed for herself and then went to sleep. Then the cat ate her.”

So try it out and post a reply to let me know what happens!


(Pronounced “lugg-oo-bree-us”)

Origins: Latin: lugubris = to mourn

This is a great way of saying “mournful” or “dismal” or “sad” about the way someone or something looks or sounds. So I might say “My dog Bobby always has a lugubrious face when I tell him off for raiding the rubbish bin”.

You might want to say to your mum or dad, “My teacher just loves me. He/she always sounds so lugubrious when I say goodbye”.

Or you could say to your little brother or sister, “Kindly take that lugubrious expression off your face when I speak to you – I’m not about to die!”

Try it out and post me a comment about what happened!


(Pronounced “eggreeeejess”)

Origins: Latin: egregius = standing out from the flock

This word is FABULOUS! It’s a great way of saying “outstandingly bad” or “outstandingly disgusting” about someone’s behaviour. So a really good way of using this word would be to say to your Dad or your Mum, with a haughty tone in your voice:

“Mother, Father, I consider that your behaviour this morning when you made me go to school was simply egregious!”

Or you could say to your teacher, “Frankly, Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss (insert name), the setting of homework in the evenings is an egregious practice which should be stamped out immediately!”

Try it then write me a comment about what they said back 🙂 !


(Pronounced “yewbickwituss”)

Origins: Latin: ubique = everywhere

This is a fantastic way of saying “all over the place” or “common as muck!”. If something is ubiquitous, it means you see it everywhere. Eg  Smiley faces are ubiquitous on the internet.

You can use it on your teachers tomorrow! For example, “Mr Snooks, it seems to me that the setting of homework is ubiquitous in this school”. Of course you must say this with a very serious expression on your face and a VERY supercilious tone of voice! And if you don’t know what “supercilious” means you need to read my funny and fabulous book  The Tale of Temujin!


(Pronounced “indyoobitabull” as in “Indyoo bit a bull then the bull bit him back”)

Origins: Latin : – In = opposite to; Dubitabilis = doubtful or to be doubted

I LOVE this word! It means, “that which cannot be doubted” or in other words, “it’s absolutely true”!

So if your mum says to you, “Johnny, have you finished your homework yet?” you can answer,  putting on your most posh voice, “Mother, that is indubitable!” Try it and see what she says! Then write and tell us all what happened!


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  1. I’ve got to add this in my volcabulary…
    Yan Yan

  2. wow that is a silly word.


  3. For egregious, I sent my teacher an email just like the format above and guess what? He fell for it! The next day I came to school after the email he asked me,” What’s egregious? ” and I nearly laughed my head off!
    😉 Yan Yan

    • That’s great Yan Yan! What did he say?

      • He just said “Oh.” and went away.

  4. Hi Sarah,
    If you ever run out of funny words then you may try this one:
    It’s a noun and it means a person who has high position or authority.
    Try saying this to your bro or sis,”You’re such a hierach” and then snigger.
    Yan Yan

  5. You’re really being sarcastic with ecstatic for school.
    Yan Yan

  6. I ❤ these words!!!
    I am sooooo gonna use these words against my mother!

    • Great! I hope she gazes at you in awe and admiration when you do!

  7. We like the new word Hyperbole. I find it very strange

    • Strange…but true!!! Extremely, excessively, inordinately true!!!!


  9. WOW! these words are SO strange but SO FUNNY!!

  10. Dear Sarah Brennan,

    These words are very funny but where did you find these words from?

    • Hi Stephanie – I’m glad you like them! I just think of a word, or read it in a book, or hear someone say it, and think to myself “Wow, what a great word! It’s perfect for my blog!” So I check the spelling and the meaning in my dictionary, and research the origins of the word, and find a funny picture to illustrate it, then put it on my blog!

  11. Hi Sarah Brennan,
    I love those words and I also love your books. I also remember you going for a visit to our school. Do you remember? The schools called the Australian International School Singpore. You read us the tale of temujin, too!

    • Hi Vivien,
      I most certainly do remember visiting your lovely school! That was a fun day! I’m so glad you like my Wicked Words – make sure you use them on somebody soon! And I’m very happy that you love my books. Make sure you take a look at The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit at Bookaburra Books or Kinokuniya Main store!

  12. Hi Mrs.Brennan!
    Today you came to Yew Chung in Shanghai and you told us the story “Rhonda Rabbit” in the library. I like the way you use the Chinese Zodiac. Are you going to write about a snake in the year of the snake? Or the monkey? Or the dog? Anyways I can’t wait until you publish the book: THE DIRTIEST STORY OF THEM ALL. I remember making a promise with my right hand in the air saying I would go onto your website with my dad or mum’s permission. Thanks for coming!

    From, Reid

    • Hello Reid – it’s great to meet you! I really enjoyed reading to you all at Yew Chung yesterday! I’m definitely going to write about a snake, and a monkey, and a dog in the Year when they come up in the Zodiac! Thanks for visiting my blog and posting a comment!

      • Awesome!

      • Hi Sarah –
        Did you go to Yew Chung? That was my old school when I was in China.
        Wow! It’s a small world!

      • Not this year Isobel as unfortunately I had to cancel my Shanghai tour due to illness! But I’m going back to Shanghai in November and hope to see everyone then!

  13. Hi Mrs.Brennan,
    I like your words do you have one for peace?

    • Hi Peace Gal – thanks for your comment! I think a lovely word for “peace” is the Latin word “Pax”, and also the Hebrew word “Shalom” which is also a greeting. In fact, there’s a great word for “peace” in every language, because all people everywhere love Peace. But I’ll try to think of a long and complicated Wicked Word for peace and then put it on my blog just for you!

  14. Can you find a supercalifragalisticexpeolidocious word for magnificent?

  15. I like Chester Choi even if he is astoundingly malicious.When I ask to leave the dinner table my dad always replies, “You’re not going to take it with you are you?”. It is soooooooooooo repetetive. Can you help me find a comeback. Thanks for coming to the school (BISS)


    • Hmmm… I think your Dad’s comment is rather funny! Maybe you could say “I’ll do that when I need four more legs!” Glad you like Chester Choi! Sarah

  16. I liked the book Rhonda Rabbit it was very funny and creative. I liked the ending and instead of XingXiHuang eating Rhonda he ate his cat called Alice!I would not like to have a horrible cat and a mischievious rabbit. My Brother really likes Chester Choi too!I think that you are a very funny author and you include lots of serious things too. I also really like the illustrations by Harry Harrision and I think that he should never change his job!

    • Thanks Florence – that’s a lovely compliment and I’ll make sure I pass on your comment to Harry too!

  17. you remember me, from shanghai, ycis?????
    i really like these words u r puttind up 😛

    • That’s great! So make sure you use them, especially on your teachers and your family!

  18. i like these words they are super cool!
    i used them on my little sister and she went beserk.
    And i don’t really like my sister so thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ps. your books are dead cool i can’t wait to read your next one!!!!

    • Thanks Isha – glad to hear you like my books AND my wicked words! Don’t worry about your little sister – they do improve when they get older – promise!!

  19. Hi Sarah!
    I think that its really cool you put these long words on anyway remember me from DBIS in Discovery Bay?

    • Hi Chiara – I do remember you! Now just make sure you use all those wicked words to really annoy someone!!!

  20. these word are awsome!!!!! i use them to annoy my sister, she hates it so………. thanks for the words

    • That’s great Nicole – glad to hear you’re using them to good effect!

  21. i used the word omniscence on my brother then he called me a madcap.

    • That’s because he didn’t understand you! Aha! Victory is yours!!!!

  22. hi Sarah
    some of those words are really funny sounding, like Egrious and I am the who was your biggest fan at Kennedy School and i am going to say that to my sister and she wont know what it means.

    From Luca

    • Tee hee…that’s the fun of using big, long and complicated words! It REALLY annoys your brothers and sisters!

  23. Hi Sarah!
    Do you remember me from kennedy School yesterday? I was the girl who asked for your autograph.I think your really funny and i LOVE your books!

    • Hi Audrey – I do remember you and I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to give you an autograph today! Thanks for your very nice comments – I love hearing from fans like you!

  24. Hi Sarah,
    I find some of the words really hilarious such as omniscient,serendipitous and egregious. How did you know all those words? They’re so hard to pronounce! I also really love your books!

    • I know these words because I read lots and lots of good books! That’s why it’s really important to read a lot – especially if you want to have a great vocabulary!

  25. Hi Sarah Brennan,
    Those words are really cool words!
    Where do you find those words?
    From Lucie

  26. Hi sarah brennan!
    Its the 31st of may
    when will you show the winners of the competition no. 10?
    cause its the 31st of may already

  27. Hi!Sarah Brennan,

    When could you come back to DC?

    From ho ming

    • Hello again again! I’d love to come back to Discovery College! Maybe next year!

  28. Dear Sarah Brennan,

    Could you make some more new books please?

    From ho ming

  29. Hello Sarah

    Do you remember me? I’m Dene (Yeaman)’s daughter.

    Anyhow, I used the word hyperbole on Dad, but he knew what it meant!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    I think he’s been sneak-peeking at these Wicked Words!!!!!!
    I MUST use another word to totally and utterly B-A-M-B-O-O-Z-L-E him!!!!!


    • Hi Isobel – it’s great to hear from you! I do remember you very well! It’s a shame about that word “hyperbole” but you’re just going to have to use every single wicked word until you find one that completely stumps him! And speaking of wicked words…why don’t you enter my current Clever Competition? You have to use at least two of my wicked words correctly in your story, and I’m sure with the practice you’re doing with them, you’ll manage that very well! It would be great to have an Aussie entry! Keep up the good work! Sarah

  30. Ms.Brennan, I am Jerry from BCIS, our class loves your books and we hope you will visit our school again.

    • Thanks Jerry – it’s great to hear from you. I’d love to visit your school again – you were great to work with!

  31. Hi Sarah,
    My name is Kevin. I am from BCIS. I liked your poetry workshop at our school library.Hope

    • Hi Kevin – so glad you liked the poetry workshop! I hope it inspired you to write your own poems!

  32. hi i’m from sjs!
    Qin Qin

    • Wow! these words are fantastic.I’ve read Stephanie’s letter to you.And that’s a fantastic way to collect words!

    • I remember you from chinese dance and your sister, jin jin.

  33. Wow! these words are fantastic.I love them, I’ve read Stephanie’s letter to you.And that’s a fantastic way to get words and put them in your blog.

    • Thanks Kaitlin – it’s great to hear from you and I’m glad you like my Wicked Words – now go and use them!!

  34. I will use the word pandemonium because it is very juicy and it will really match my writing.

  35. Hey Sarah! I’m Jemima and I really love the word ecstatic! Here’s a word that’s sorta hard to find in a dictiornary. It’s irio-syncracies and means when you get used to someones habit.

    • Hi Jemima – I’m ecstatic that you like the word “ecstatic” and even more ecstatic that you have found me a great new Wicked Word for this week! It’s actually “idiosyncrasy” and you can go to my Wicked Word page in a minute to find out what it means! Thanks for writing!

  36. hi sarah! It’s me again! I used the word egregious on my mother today and used your sentence! And she said back to me Poppycock!

  37. Hi Sarah! I love these words. These words are good when I am doing poetry.

    • That’s fabulous Gabby – glad to hear you’re using them!

  38. Hey sarah! Why did you decide to become an author?

    • Hi Jemima – I guess I always wanted to be an author – ever since I fell in love with reading books as a child! It was reading Dr Seuss that really turned me onto writing, especially in rhyme – I just loved the way he played with words and wanted to do the same myself! Writing is so much fun!

    • Hello Jemima – I became an author because I LOVE writing and I also love working with kids like you!

  39. Hi Sarah,

    My name is Maddy and I love your books and the fantastic words in them. I also loved your presentation at the Australian International School Hong Kong this year, that was very entertaining!
    I was wondering if you are going to publish another book in the next couple of years?

    • Hello Maddy – I’m so glad you enjoyed my visit! Yes I’ll certainly be writing more books – in fact I’m writing one now for next year, the Year of the Snake! See you again next year!

  40. Where do you get your wicked words from?

    • Hi Hillary – from my head…then the dictionary to check how they’re spelt…then online on Merriam’s or Webster’s dictionary to see what their origins are!

  41. Hi sarah
    Do you remember that you went to AIS singapore ok were did you say that a student can write a book because a don’t find were could we write.
    I loved the book that a buy when you were in AIS singapore.

    • Hi Martina – I think what you’re thinking of is my Clever Competition! I’m posting the new Competition on my blog tomorrow so make sure you visit again then!

  42. Your words are fantastic!

    • Thank you Betty – after that I’ll just have to add another one today!

  43. Do I have to write hyperbole in the sentence

    • Hi Keith – you can if you want to, but you don’t have to! So long as you use at least three of my Wicked Words correctly in your story, you can use any of them!

      • thanks, do you know that I’m 9

      • No I didn’t – but it’s a great age to be!

      • and I like your wicked words

      • Thank you Keith – I hope you use them a lot!

  44. Wow it’s good

    • Thanks Daniel! I hope you use these wicked words sometimes!

  45. Hi Sarah-
    I’ve got a wicked word to add- it’s mediocre. Please can you add it to your wicked words?
    Hillary Lo Hin Ching

    • Try saying this to your little sister when she draws something rubbish: “You’re drawing such a mediocre”.

  46. Hi Sarah,
    These words are FANTABULOUS. In other words I love them. ><

    • And I love that new word FANTABULOUS! Aren’t words fun!?

  47. hi Sarah! remember us? from SJS? you visited us on 29th of jan! your visit was soooo cool! i can’t wait until you’re new book BTHW i ordered 6 of your books already! can’t wait until your next visit!

    • That’s fantastic Angel! I hope you enjoy them all. Write and tell me which one is your favourite when you’re finished!

  48. Hi Sarah! my favourite books of your’s are Rhonda rabbit and Chester Choi. I have’nt read the dirty series yet cause my mom say’s buying books are a waste of money if you can just get it in the library (but i totally don’t agree because i can’t find your books ANYWHERE in the library) 😦

  49. Hi Sarah,

    I really enjoyed learning about how you make your books when you came to visit my school (Beacon Hill). I like taking series’ from authors and adapting them into my own stories. Now I am using Erin Hunter’s ‘Warriors’ series.

    I am also taking part in your ‘Sybil Snake’ competition.

    Thanks for visiting my school!

    • That’s fabulous Bubblesqueak – I loved visiting your school and look forward to your entry in my competition!

  50. Me and my sister are ordering your books, rhonda rabbit, oswald ox and temujin. I can’t wait for your year of the horse book to come out because it is my zodiac year. I like reading about science and nature as well as the zodiac and star signs. I also love animals.

  51. Did you make these words because if you did you will double the famouse!!!

    • No I didn’t Talisa – they’re all in the Oxford Dictionary! But they’re great, aren’t they? Make sure you use one soon!

      • I sure did!

  52. Hi Sarah! did you get my word doc for the competition yet???


  53. Have you think up these words, or are they real?

    • They are all real – you can check them out in the dictionary!

  54. Dear Sarah –
    I have heaps of brilliantly long and interesting words, such as –
    And many more! A good website for words like these is:

    Isobel Yeaman

    • Thanks Isobel – they are fantastic words! I’ll be adding another word to my Wicked Word page during the holidays, so maybe I’ll choose one of yours!

  55. hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi 🙂 teehee

  56. I know a cool word.
    It means the fear of long words

    • Gabby that’s a VERY cool word indeed…I think that it’s a great name for a phobia of long words if only because I’d be terrified of spelling it incorrectly!

  57. if you want a nice long word, use this:
    Which means famous for being created for the “Marry Pippins” film and music.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  58. this is the most wicked word it is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
    lung disease

    • 🙂

  59. Dear Mrs. Brennan,
    I Think better puns should be in your books, that will make your books even BETTER!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 :XD XD XD 😀 😀 😀

  60. Here’s a long word with 45 letters: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. It is a lung disease!

    Another word is xenophobia. It means a dislike of foreign people. Hypocritical means behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. Why don’t you add it to your Wicked Words?

    From Marissa

  61. Hi Sarah (Again),

    How are you? I just added my three wicked words. They are: TANTALISE, ILLUSTRIOUS and Exonarate. What do you think?

  62. I entered the dashing dog story competition a few days ago, and so far I have used three wicked words: gargantuan, sumptuous and mellifluous. (I’m writing the rising action)
    I am from Rennaissance College, and I hope you enjoyed the author visit that happened recently.

    • I also used soporific

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