65 Most Shocking and The Hardest English Words to Spell and Pronounce

The Hardest English Words to Spell and Pronounce

January 30, 2024 | 10-min. Read

The English language boasts an astonishing diversity of tricky words. Have you ever encountered the hardest English words as you browse your textbooks or surf the internet? Those words are quite amazing but not easy to spell and pronounce, right?

If you are a beginner in English, you are not so familiar with some English words that a few intermediate and advanced-level learners know. There are a lot of the hardest English words in the dictionary that we sometimes don’t know exist. Since they are new to us, we consider them “beasts” in our language learning. These words are enigmatic creatures that trip up tongues and tease minds.

Are you a competitive learner who wants to expand and use more advanced vocabulary words? Are you a learner who is preparing for an international English examination like IELTS or TOEIC? Are you curious about the hardest English words in the dictionary? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we will explore the world of the hardest English words to spell, pronounce, and even know their meanings. We will also give you sample sentences for your reference. Get ready as we introduce them to you.

The Hardest English Words to Spell and Pronounce


In this section, you are about to read some of the hardest English words that are difficult to spell and pronounce if you are unfamiliar with them. The definitions of these words were taken and referred to from Cambridge Dictionary.


WORD

TRANSCRIPTION

PART OF SPEECH

MEANING

EXAMPLE
Aqueous

US  /ˈeɪ.kwi.əs/
UK  /ˈeɪ.kwi.əs/

adjectiveIn Chemistry, it means made with or containing water.The chemists have been trying to mix aqueous chemicals in their experiments.
AitchUS  /eɪtʃ/
UK  /eɪtʃ/
nounThis is the letter “h” when written as a word.Some students cannot write the letter aitch correctly in their dictations.
AnachronismUS  /əˈnæk.rə.nɪ.zəm/
UK  /əˈnæk.rə.nɪ.zəm/
nounSomething that belongs to the past or a period in history.The movie received multiple awards for setting the plot in an era filled with anachronisms.
AnesthetistUS  /əˈnes.θə.t̬ɪst/
UK  /əˈniːs.θə.tɪst/
nounA person who was trained to give anesthesia to patients; an anesthesiologist.I was worried that the new anesthetist would fail to inject the anesthesia into my dad.
ArcaneUS  /ɑːrˈkeɪn/
UK  /ɑːˈkeɪn/
adjectivesomeone or something mysterious that only a few people knowThe nun who came out of the convent seems arcane.
BeguileUS  /bɪˈɡaɪl/
UK  /bɪˈɡaɪl/
verbto attract or persuade someone to deceive themScammers beguile innocent people.
BrambleUS  /ˈbræm.bəl/
UK  /ˈbræm.bəl/
nounwild bush with thornsBe careful in the forest; there are brambles out there.
ByzantineUS  /ˈbɪz.ən.tiːn/ /bɪˈzæn.taɪn/
UK  /bɪˈzæn.taɪn/ /ˈbɪz.ən.tiːn/
adjectivecomplicated and difficult to understandMany people react to the new byzantine government mandate.
CharcuterieUS  /ʃɑːrˈkuː.t̬ər.i/
UK  /ʃɑːˈkuː.tər.i/
noun■ cold meat that is preserved or cooked
■ a store that sells preserved or cooked cold meat
■ My friend likes to order a charcuterie.
■ The new charcuterie near our house has a lot of customers.
ChauvinismUS  /ˈʃoʊ.və.nɪ.zəm/
UK  /ˈʃəʊ.vɪ.nɪ.zəm/
nouna strong belief that your country or race is the bestChauvinism does not have a positive result to international relations.
ChiaroscuroUS  /kiˌɑːr.əˈskjʊr.oʊ/
UK  /kiˌɑː.rəˈskʊə.rəʊ/
nounthe use of areas of light and darkness in a paintingLeonardo Da Vinci is one of the famous painters who used chiaroscuro in his artworks.
ConsanguineousUS  /ˌkɑːn.sæŋˈɡwɪn.i.əs/
UK  /ˌkɒn.sæŋˈɡwɪn.i.əs/
adjectivepeople connected by blood relationsConsanguineous marriages are acceptable in some cultures.
CurmudgeonUS  /kɚˈmʌdʒ.ən/
UK  /kəˈmʌdʒ.ən/
nounan old person who is always in a bad moodThe young lady took care of her old curmudgeon for more than a decade.
DebauchUS  /dɪˈbɑːtʃ/
UK  /dɪˈbɔːtʃ/
verbto destroy something that is no longer valuable for use or no longer considered goodMy dad debauched our tree house because it was already old.
DemagogueUS  /ˈdem.ə.ɡɑːɡ/
UK  /ˈdem.ə.ɡɒɡ/
nouna person, particularly a politician, who wins the support of people by emotions rather than words or morally right ideasThe rich demagogue did not win in the elections for the second time around.
DiaphanousUS  /daɪˈæf.ən.əs/
UK  /daɪˈæf.ən.əs/
adjectivea substance, such as a cloth, that is so thin that you can see through itShe wore a diaphanous robe during the pageant.
DiatribeUS  /ˈdaɪ.ə.traɪb/
UK  /ˈdaɪ.ə.traɪb/
nounan angry speech that criticizes someone or somethingThe radio announcer was killed because he made a diatribe during his program.
EmollientUS  /ɪˈmɑː.li.ənt/
UK  /ɪˈmɒl.i.ənt/
■ noun
■ adjective
■ a cream that treats dry or sore skin to make it less painful
■ helps in treating dry, sore skin
■ Please buy me an emollient at the pharmacy.
■ The emollient cream that I put in my dry skin was effective.
EquanimityUS  /ˌek.wəˈnɪm.ə.t̬i/
UK  /ˌek.wəˈnɪm.ə.ti/
nounthe state of being in a calm mental state despite being in a difficult situationMy mom is still struggling for equanimity after my dad’s passing.
FatuousUS  /ˈfætʃ.u.əs/
UK  /ˈfætʃ.u.əs/
adjectivesomething is done without careful thinkingMake sure you’re not going to do such a fatuous thing.
Faux pasUS  /ˌfoʊ ˈpɑː/
UK  /ˌfəʊ ˈpɑː/
nounbehavior that is not polite and causes embarrassment esp. in publicThe serious faux pas that he made inside the mall caused great depression in the young woman.
FoliageUS  /ˈfoʊ.li.ɪdʒ/
UK  /ˈfəʊ.li.ɪdʒ/
nounthe leaves of a plant or treeI like seeing the foliage of my mom’s flowers in the garden.
GaffeUS  /ɡæf/
UK  /ɡæf/
nounan impolite social mistake that causes embarrassment; faux pasThe woman was tormented when she heard about the gaffe that the other woman did to her.
GarrulousUS  /ˈɡer.əl.əs/
UK  /ˈɡær.əl.əs/
adjectivethe habit of talking too much esp. about unimportant thingsA garrulous woman sometimes loses friends.
GrandiloquentUS  /ɡrænˈdɪl.ə.kwənt/
UK  /ɡrænˈdɪl.ə.kwənt/
adjectivea style or way of using a language that is complicated to get the attention of people esp. to make something importantMy father didn’t like the grandiloquent speech of the mayor so he went out of the gymnasium.
HegemonyUS /hɪˈdʒem.ə.ni/ /ˈhedʒ.ə.moʊ.ni/
UK  /hɪˈɡem.ə.ni/ /hɪˈdʒem.ə.ni/ /ˈheɡ.ɪ.mə.ni/ /ˈhedʒ.ɪ.mə.ni/
nounin politics, it is the position that holds the strongest power and is able to control othersHegemony is common in some Korean Drama plots.
HeresyUS  /ˈher.ə.si/
UK  /ˈher.ə.si/
nounan opinion or belief that opposes the official belief or opinion esp. in church or religionMany members of the cult did not want heresy within their community.
IconoclastUS  /aɪˈkɑː.nə.klæst/
UK  /aɪˈkɒn.ə.klæst/
nouna person who strongly opposes the general beliefs and traditionsSometimes, I want to be an iconoclast.
IgnominiousUS  /ˌɪɡ.nəˈmɪn.i.əs/
UK  /ˌɪɡ.nəˈmɪn.i.əs/
adjectivea behavior or event that is embarrassing because of a failureThe ignominious behavior of the CEO’s son caused a decline in the company’s stocks.
ImpedimentaUS  /ɪmˌped.ɪˈmen.tə/
UK  /ɪmˌped.ɪˈmen.tə/
nounobjects or things that are hard or difficult to carry to an event or activityMy colleagues were worried that their impedimenta would be left at the office because there is no available truck.
InchoateUS  /ɪnˈkoʊ.eɪt/
UK  /ɪnˈkəʊ.eɪt/
adjectivenot completely formed or developedMy friend had a miscarriage because of an inchoate fetus inside her womb.
IndefatigableUS  /ˌɪn.dɪˈfæt̬.ɪ.ɡə.bəl/
UK  /ˌɪn.dɪˈfæt.ɪ.ɡə.bəl/
adjectivecan’t accept defeat; always energetic and does not feel tiredWorking too much cannot guarantee an indefatigable feeling.
InvectiveUS  /ɪnˈvek.tɪv/
UK  /ɪnˈvek.tɪv/
nounrude or unkind criticismOur president is an invective but he stands strong.
labyrinthineUS  /ˌlæb.əˈrɪn.θaɪn/
UK  /ˌlæb.əˈrɪn.θaɪn/
adjectivedescribing something that has a lot of parts and is confusingThe human body is labyrinthine.
LackadaisicalUS  /ˌlæk.əˈdeɪ.zɪ.kəl/
UK  /ˌlæk.əˈdeɪ.zɪ.kəl/
adjectivelacking enthusiasm and effortThe trainees look lackadaisical on their 10th day of training.
LicentiousUS  /laɪˈsen.ʃəs/
UK  /laɪˈsen.ʃəs/
adjectivesexual behaviour of a person that is socially unacceptableThere is a law for licentious acts in my country.
MaelstromUS  /ˈmeɪl.strəm/
UK  /ˈmeɪl.strɒm/
nouna situation where there is violence, argument, and destructionPeople in some parts of the world were shocked because of the sudden maelstrom in Israel.
MartinetUS  /ˌmɑːr.t̬ənˈet/
UK  /ˌmɑː.tɪˈnet/
nounsomeone who insists on obeying the rules and orders even if those are unnecessaryOne of the reasons why some employees resign is because of the martinet in the administration.
MinusculeUS  /ˈmɪn.ə.skjuːl/
UK  /ˈmɪn.ə.skjuːl/
adjectiveextremely smallI was very impressed with the minuscule miniatures in the exhibit.
MisogynistUS  /mɪˈsɑː.dʒən.ɪst/
UK  /mɪˈsɒdʒ.ən.ɪst/
nouna man who hates women and believes that they are better than womenHe is a misogynist who does not deserve an appreciation.
NoisomeUS  /ˈnɔɪ.səm/
UK  /ˈnɔɪ.səm/
adjectivevery unpleasant and offensiveYour noisome words affected my sister’s mental health.
NonplussedUS  /ˌnɑːnˈplʌst/
UK  /ˌnɒnˈplʌst/
adjectiveshocked, surprised, and doesn’t know how to reactHer fiance proposed to her and she was nonplussed.
ObdurateUS  /ˈɑːb.dʊr.ɪt/
UK  /ˈɒb.dʒə.rət/
adjectivedescribing a person who does not change their mind no matter what people say or adviseShe knew she wouldn’t win the pageant but she was so obdurate.
PejorativeUS  /pɪˈdʒɔːr.ə.t̬ɪv/
UK  /pɪˈdʒɒr.ə.tɪv/
adjectivesuggesting that something is not good or importantDon’t give me pejorative suggestions; I need a more concrete one.
PeremptoryUS  /pəˈremp.tɚ.i/
UK  /pəˈremp.tər.i/
adjectiveexpecting immediate obedience, or obeying without explanationThe little boy’s mom was peremptory to him at the wedding.
PhlegmaticUS  /fleɡˈmæt̬.ɪk/
UK  /fleɡˈmæt.ɪk/
adjectivedoes not easily feel excited about something; having less emotionsA phlegmatic friend is boring to be with.
PilloryUS  /ˈpɪl.ɚ.i/
UK  /ˈpɪl.ər.i/
verbseverely criticize someone in publicIt is not good to see a homeless man being pilloried in the streets.
PrevaricateUS  /prɪˈver.ə.keɪt/
UK  /prɪˈvær.ɪ.keɪt/
verbavoiding telling the truth or saying what is in your mindI know you are prevaricating about the incident, but take note this is not tolerable.
PuerileUS  /ˈpjuː.ɚ.ɪl/
UK  /ˈpjʊə.raɪl/
adjectivebehaving in a silly way, not like an adultBitNa’s role in the movie is to be puerile at all times.
PuissantUS  /ˈpwiː.sɑ̃t / /ˈpjuː.ɪ.sənt/
UK  /ˈpwiː.sɑ̃t / /ˈpjuː.ɪ.sənt/
adjectivevery strong, powerful, and effectiveA good government needs a puissant leader.
PulchritudinousUS  /ˌpʌl.krəˈtuː.dən.əs/
UK  /ˌpʌl.krɪˈtʃuː.dɪ.nəs/
adjectivebeautifulI think Angelina Jolie is pulchritudinous; she’s drop-dead gorgeous.
QuicheUS  /kiːʃ/
UK  /kiːʃ/
nounan open pastry case, filled with a mixture of eggs, cream, and other savory (= not sweet) foods, that is baked and eaten hot or coldThe strawberry quiche in my favorite cake shop is affordable.
QuislingUS  /ˈkwɪz.lɪŋ/
UK  /ˈkwɪz.lɪŋ/
nouna person who helps an enemy that has taken control of his countrySome quislings were considered traitors by the government.
QuixoticUS  /kwɪkˈsɑː.t̬ɪk/
UK  /kwɪkˈsɒt.ɪk/
adjectivehaving admirable intentions or ideas but are not practicalThe plaintiff thought that his lawyer was quite quixotic.
RendezvousUS  /ˈrɑːn.deɪ.vuː/
UK  /ˈrɒn.deɪ.vuː/
noun a place where people often meet and gather by arrangement; an arrangement to meetI need a secret rendezvous to unwind and relax.
RestaurateurUS  /ˌres.tɚ.əˈtɝː/
UK  /ˌres.tər.əˈtɜːr/
nouna person who owns and manages a restaurantMy fiance is a famous restaurateur in the country.
SanguineUS  /ˈsæŋ.ɡwɪn/
UK  /ˈsæŋ.ɡwɪn/
adjectivepositive and hoping for good things for someone’s characterHer grandmother always had sanguine thoughts about her condition.
SchadenfreudeUS  /ˈʃɑː.dənˌfrɔɪ.də/
UK  /ˈʃɑː.dənˌfrɔɪ.də/
nouna feeling of pleasure for someone’s misfortuneThis schadenfreude in me is inevitable.
SurfeitUS  /ˈsɝː.fɪt/
UK  /ˈsɜː.fɪt/
nounan amount that is too large, or is more than is neededThe charity for children received a surfeit of money from the donors.
SurreptitiousUS  /ˌsɝː.əpˈtɪʃ.əs/
UK  /ˌsʌr.əpˈtɪʃ.əs/
adjectivedone secretly without anyone knowingThe thief has surreptitious techniques in stealing the diamonds from the jewelry store.
SybariteUS  /ˈsɪb.ə.raɪt/
UK  /ˈsɪb.ər.aɪt/
nouna person who loves luxury or expensive things and pleasureBeing sybarite does not determine someone’s success in life.
TruculentUS  /ˈtrʌk.jə.lənt/
UK  /ˈtrʌk.jə.lənt/
adjectiveunpleasant and likes to argue a lotOur neighbor’s son is truculent; it’s annoying.
UbiquitousUS  /juːˈbɪk.wə.t̬əs/
UK  /juːˈbɪk.wɪ.təs/
adjectivesomething that is seen everywhereWe went to a place where bags of trash are ubiquitous.
VicissitudesUS  /vɪˈsɪs.ə.tuːdz/
UK  /vɪˈsɪs.ɪ.tʃuːdz/
nounchanges that happen at different times in someone’s life and usually result to something worseThe death of a family member and the break-up are just vicissitudes of a person’s life.
ZephyrUS  /ˈzef.ɚ/
UK  /ˈzef.ər/
nouna light windI could feel the zephyr that entered my small window last night.

Were you able to wrestle with your mind and tongue while reading those words? Of course, not every battle with a difficult word is won. You just have to be confident and remember those words. This can actually improve your advanced vocabulary skills. Remember, the hardest words are often the most rewarding

The Longest English Words

Did you know that some words in English contain more than 10 letters? Absolutely, yes! Imagine writing an essay with a limited number of words, and you have to use some of the longest words in English. Isn’t it mind-boggling?

In this part, we have listed 5 of the longest English words that would blow your mind. Check them out below:

LONGEST WORDMEANING
Antidisestablishmentarianisman oppose to the idea that there should be no relationship between the nation and the church
Floccinaucinihilipilificationthe act of estimating that something is not useful or not important
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobiathis means the fear of long words
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosisthis is the longest word in English and is named for a severe lung disease
Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousextremely good

It is really difficult to spell and pronounce the longest and hardest English words. You cannot easily memorize the spelling of a word at one glance, or pronounce it correctly with one utterance. It takes a lot of effort and practice.

Take note that the English language is ever-dynamic. It continuously evolves. New words are added to the English terms every day. So, the next time you encounter some of these hard English words, don’t be scared or shy away. Approach it with curiosity and determination.

How to Easily Memorize the Hardest English Words

Conquering the hardest English words doesn’t have to be a slog through a dictionary. Learning the hardest English words is fun and challenging. You can be as creative as you can.

  1. Read the word three times.
  2. Write the word so you can easily remember the letters.
  3. Imagine the word you wrote by not looking at it.
  4. To check the pronunciation, record yourself and listen to the sound in the dictionary.
  5. Write the synonyms (if applicable) for better understanding.
  6. Practice writing sentences. Use a grammar checker tool if possible.
  7. Save the word in your vocabulary bank.
  8. Read it every day.
  9. Practice the pronunciation of the word.
  10. Make a quiz for yourself.
65 Most Shocking and The Hardest English Words to Spell and Pronounce
65 Most Shocking and The Hardest English Words to Spell and Pronounce

Final Thoughts

Learning the hardest English words is like conquering the most difficult battle on our language-learning journey. It may seem like a daunting quest, but it leads us to self-discovery and linguistic appreciation. If we become familiar with the hardest English words, we will be more appreciative of the English language.

Now, what word from this article really caught your attention? Share us your thoughts.