12/10/2014 11:38 am ET Updated Feb 09, 2015

11 Archaic Words to Liven Up Your Holiday

Tom Young via Getty Images

The holidays are coming and that means trying to one up your family members over vacation. In my family, it's a lexiconian dance off -- the loser(s) buy the wine. After the "THIS -- IS -- SPARTA!" catcalls and obligatory chest beating, we try to slip fancy pants words into conversation. This year I'm expanding my knowledge of the more godwotterish sort and I'm bringing you along for the ride.

Borborygmus: The sound of intestinal gas. Don't look at me like that. This is a fantastic word, but one I'll leave until after the meal and no, I won't be blaming the dog. I'm looking at you, Uncle Jack.

Hornswoggle: To dupe or hoax. I'm a terrible card player so I may have to whip this word out while playing another round of Hearts in order to throw attention off of me to win. Why these people keep asking me to play is beyond me.

Legerdemain: Slight of hand. This goes easily with hornswoggle since I cheat like crazy, so I should get extra points if they find out what I'm doing. If that happens, misplaced rage and a few choice words always allow me to tip over the playing table Housewives-style and confuse my siblings until I can sneak out.

Walla-walla: The rush of sound coming from many people talking at once and making them indecipherable. Too easy. I have five children and four siblings. I have no idea what anyone has said since 2008.

Bloviate: To brag. There's always one sister (or brother), isn't there?

Godwottery: Balderdash or nonsense. I suspect there's always a little bit of godwottery while my sister is bloviating. Ew. Sounds like a rash. She should have that checked.

Flizzen: To belly laugh. I honestly thought this was one of Santa's reindeers.

Misconfrumple: To rumple. I may save this word for my brother-in-law's Christmas morning appearance, but what else could I say after he passes out under the tree every year?

Smouster: To eat secretly. That wasn't Santa hitting the cookies at midnight. That trail of crumbs led straight to my husband.

Honeyfuggle: To trick someone. What's a little honeyfuggle between friends, am I right, Santa?

Gubbins: To tidy up. Christmas morning is a flurry of gubbins before Grandma gets her groove on to watch Ink Master with the grandchildren. What can I say? Bonding.

Stacey Graham is the author of four books, including The Zombie Tarot (Quirk) and Haunted Stuff: Demonic Dolls, Screaming Skulls, and Other Creepy Collectibles (Llewellyn). Please visit her website at