How difficult is it to find rare six letter words? It is not nearly as hard as you might think. Much depends upon what you consider to be "rare." If a word is obscure, does that make it rare? Suppose it’ a word that was common centuries ago, but has fallen into disuse. Would that word be rare? What if it’s a fairly common word in a collegiate or scientific setting, but hardly ever comes up in normal everyday discourse?
Let’s focus on words you simply don’t hear or read all the time. The dictionary is full of them, so it’s easy to focus on rare six letter words that at some point might actually be useful and find their way into your vocabulary.
One unusual six letter word is “trompe.” Most people, if they know it at all, recognize it as part of the French expression, trompe l’oeil, meaning to fool the eye.
Trompe l’oeil is used in painting and architecture to give the feeling of distance and space where none actually exists. Is this French word really one of the rare six letter words? Actually, it is. A trompe is also known as:
You can stick with English to find rare six letter words. If a doctor tells you you’re tineal, it’s time to worry. The word “tineal” is derived from Latin, meaning a “gnawing worm.” It’s used to describe any number of skin infections that involve a fungal infection, such as ringworm.
So “teasel” is an unusual six letter word, but what does it mean? If you’re a gardener, you’d be well advised to keep a watch out for it. It’s an invasive type of plant that, once it takes root in your garden, is extremely difficult to eliminate.
Another unusual word outside a laboratory is “silane.” It is simply a frequently odorless, colorless gas, although methane is considered to be a silane among scientists.
The word “slatch” has several meanings. The more benign and romantic is the momentary pause between waves breaking on a beach or between gusts in a windstorm. In a more colloquial sense, a slatch can mean a loose, slutty female.
Here’s a word you probably never heard, “rundle.” So what’s a rundle? It’s the cross brace that forms the steps of a ladder (so now you know what that thing is called!)
How about “sabbat”? It’s another variation on the word “sabbatical,” that is, the Latin for a cease or a rest from work. In modern terms, it can just mean taking a break, but more likely, it’s used by college professors to mean they’re taking a semester off from teaching classes to pursue other adventures, such as publishing a book.
One thing you never want to be is a “rotter.” That’s a British slang term of ancient origin, meaning a low, mean, vile, or despicable person.
If someone says they like “quince,” they are not speaking of their sexual orientation. A “quince” is a flowering tree that produces a tart fruit, which has been canned for centuries in delicious confections such as jellies and preserves.
If you ever hear someone swooning about pongee, they aren’t talking about indoor table tennis. “Pongee” is a luxurious type of raw silk, woven with an uneven, rich texture.
You may not hear the word “painch” much outside of Edinburgh, because to the Scots, a painch is part of the digestive system, such as your stomach. It’s sometimes used in English speaking countries to refer to a delicacy called tripe, which is the cooked stomach lining of animals such as cows. Tripe also has other word uses. If someone thinks you’re full of tripe, they don’t mean you overindulged in the painch. That use of “tripe” means you’re making things up or speaking nonsense.