Readability tips, literacy news, and English writing advice

Four Silly Sounding English Words

To non-natives, the English language sometimes seems a little ridiculous – from its unusual grammar rules to deceptive vocabulary words like ‘driveway’. Even native speakers can admit that there are some parts of the English language that are just ridiculous. Take, for instance, these four English words that sound a bit too silly to be real:


Forrest Gump once said, “Me and Jenny go together like keys and parrots.” Wait, no, scratch that – they go together like peas and carrots. When you mix up syllables and somehow end up saying something completely different from what you intended, that’s a spoonerism. The word spoonerism is even more hilarious when you consider its history: it was named after William Archibald Spooner, who was notorious for mixing up his words this way. His legacy is a word that is just as silly as it sounds.


If you wanted to get out of work, you might tell your boss, “I have a bad case of the collywobbles.” It might sound like a fake word invented by a toddler, but collywobbles can mean everything from a bellyache to intense nausea – or any kind of intestinal disorder. Note: saying collywobbles out loud could make you laugh hard enough to give you the serious collywobbles.


The word bumfuzzle rather bumfuzzles me. To bumfuzzle is to confuse. Much like synonyms bewilder, perplex, and puzzle, the word itself is fun to say, even if it is impossible to say it with a straight face.


If you tipple too much, you might topple over. To tipple is to drink alcohol, typically on a semi-regular basis – which is fitting, because it sounds like the kind of absurd word you might make up while seriously intoxicated. You can also use the word tippler to refer to someone who drinks alcohol regularly.

These are just a few silly sounding English words out there that are guaranteed to induce giggles if you add them to your vocabulary.