Beautiful Pictures of Unusual Words

Project Twins, a graphic design studio, created a visual study of obscure and endangered words. They use bold graphics and visual wit to interpret and represent a collection of strange, unusual and lost words. These are just a few examples, click on the link to see more.

After opening the Project Twins site I was instantly struck with tarantism as I viewed graphic words with a feeling of xenization making me scripturient, thus this blog post.

What do you think? Can you think of unusual words that could be instantly defined with pictures? Do graphics help you when defining a word?
A person whose hair has never been cut.

The practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media.

Swaggering; empty boasting; blustering manner or behavior; ostentatious display.

A knockout punch, either verbal or physical.

Possessing a violent desire to write.

A disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to dance.

The act of traveling as a stranger.


  1. The visual of "Recumbentibus" stood out to me from the rest of the pictures in this category. It stood out to me because in my opinion it has a really important message. It is said that actions speak louder than words, however this picture is a combination of not only strong actions but strong verbal words. In many cases words are much stronger than any physical threat, that's what I see in this picture. The big thought bubble to me demonstrates a very strong verbal abuse that broke the man down completely. Verbal abuse is just as powerful towards someone as physical abuse.

  2. This article is very insightful because not only is it educational but it also reverts back to the good ol' childhood days where we used to learn words and letters through pictures. Now, these pictures are more helpful because it revives old, rarely used words. When I first looked at the pictures I thought "What is this picture suppose to mean?" but then I read the excerpt that follows and I completely understand the words. Some people, like me, are visual learns; and with these pictures, visual learners can learn these words much more easily.

  3. The picture that caught my attention was the Scripturient. I think it stood out to me because it seem to have more to say. the caption "a violent desire to write" made me look at the picture more. I feel like the person who made this photo must have been an angry writer with many feelings and maybe a lot of feelings toward a love. This picture makes me think of so many things the artist might have been going through when it was created

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  5. These pictures are amazing, interesting and attractive. I like them. I like the second one best, it looks like the books would be burned, but I can not understand what the deep meaning of this picture, can anyone tell me what the deep meaning of these pictures? Thanks a lot.

  6. As a person greatly invested in art and linguistics, I love the idea behind these pieces. Personally, I like the scripturient and acersecomic pieces most: the former for its use of shapes to convey the idea, and the latter for introducing to me such an interesting word.

    Some of my favorite types of words are those not often heard in English, or foreign words that have no English equivalent. (Such as "defenestrate", which means to throw out the window, or "sgiomlaireach", a Scottish Gaelic word that describes when people interrupt you when you're eating.) It really is amazing how many words there are to describe a single thing; language is a powerful tool.

  7. I felt so stupid reading this article. I have never heard of any of these words presented, and I did not even come close to the definition of the word from looking at the art work. When I read what each word meant, and then looked at the art work, I had found the connection. My favorite one is Scripturient, because the pen had a heart shape in it with blood dripping out of it. It reminds me of how I have a love-hate relationship to writing.

  8. When looking at pictures to describe words, I personally get a better understanding of the definition or meaning. Even if I have never heard of the word before, I can see the image and interpret my own meaning to the word. Language and art combined are very powerful resources and can be used as tools for studying. I actually am a visual thinker. When I think of the picture, then the word and definition follow. I enjoyed looking at these images.

  9. It is kind of funny to think of why and how they came up with words like these. How many people had the feeling of being violent in need to write that they had to come up with a fancy word to describe such an issue? I understand a lot of women in different cultures may never cut their hair or even here in the United States, and there is definitely an uprising of "swag" in this country which is indeed an empty form of boasting, however it does seem silly that there is a fancy word to describe the situation. Even recumbentibus (a word the computer does not even recognize), being a fancy big word for knocking someone out, literally or figuratively. A fancy word for something not very fancy at all. I do appreciate the beauty of the words and the illustrations drawn to match, I like that English has such a large vocabulary to have these kinds of words, I just think these words in particular are a bit ironic for what they mean. For me it adds to my likings of our English language, almost showing humor. These particular words seem to describe something less than fancy and yet have a superfluous name.

  10. In using pictures to help define and explain a word or even give the word a sort of personality is especially beneficial. I feel that I could understand a definition better with a visual aid. I take it upon myself to try and keep a stack of note cards filled with academic or big words that I try to employ in every day life. The use of pictures inspires me to make those note cards more entertaining and artistic. Essentially I found the pictures helpful, creative, and inspiring and I hope that one day someone will make a true picture dictionary (a Pictionary).

  11. Although I was not familiar with basically all of these words, after reading them and their definitions the pictures fit them perfectly. The "Scripturient" one stood out the most because a person that's a "scripturient" loves to write a lot and so the artist depicted a pen with a heart on the middle. Also, the ink is shown by blood, which is flowing out of the heart. I believe the artist decided to use blood to represent the ink because it helps emphasize the "violent desire" that a scripturient has when it comes to writing.

  12. After I look at these pictures I understand what the blog is saying. I do think that graphics help with understanding unusual words. If I just saw the words in this blog without the pictures then I would have never known what these words mean. Even though some of these visuals are extreme like the one for the word " Acersecomic," they still explain what the word means better than just the plain definition. For me definitions can still be confusing when trying to figure out what an unusual word means pictures kind of breaks down the word so I can understand them.

  13. The "Scripturient", "Tarantism" and "Biblioclasm" were the best pictures I liked. Scripturient because I saw more than no message. Although "possessing a violent desire to write" is what I see, I also see a person who is writing their heart out and the blood represents his/her pain to do so. The "Tarantism" is cute to me because I instantly saw a kid in this picture that just loved to dance. Its also funny because its an actual disorder to have an uncontrollable urge to dance. The "Biblioclasm" is a good picture because we know the outcome of the gasoline container. Also because it has actually happened in our history.

  14. As interesting as these pictures are, not all of them help to describe the unusual words they were created to define. I think a couple of them were a little hard to guess without reading what word it is supposed to describe. I think the first two were really obvious. The first picture shows a figure with extremely long hair. The word it is supposed to define is "Acersecomic" which means "a person who has never cut there hair". The second one is of a very large stack of books piled really high. There are a few bibles thrown into the pile. If you pay attention closely, off to the side is a can of gasoline and a box of matches. When I noticed the gas and matches I thought "Oh, well, they are going to burn the books?". The word this picture was trying to describe is "Biblioclasm" which means "The practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media." I think the pictures help more after already knowing the definition of the helps you think about it more. This was really fun to read though.

  15. I don't know a lot of unusual ones, but think it's only easy to use graphics to define certain words. For example, cat, tree, or fire would be easy to define. When you go into beliefs or ideas, that's when it gets tricky because everyone interprets beliefs and ideas differently from one another.

    Haha I really like the "Acersecomic" picture. People who know me probably think that's what my hair looks like because it's so long. Although, I have never had a real hair cut before. I've only trimmed my ends and that's it.

    Also, the "Recumbentibus" picture instantly defines the word. That graphic immediately brought be back to when the doctor told me I was pregnant. I remember that moment so clearly... I sat there motionless and stared at her so blankly, not know exactly how to process that bit of information I wasn't expecting to hear at all. Her words felt like a "knockout punch" as if it had seriously forced me to the ground. But man, as soon as I left that room, that's when it really hit me!

  16. The expression, "picture worth a thousand words". Well I guess those words were a few of them huh? We then think of the mysteries that this world brings and it just proves that there is some things out there that can't be explained. It is very true that one's single picture can overturn another's 10 page paper on the same topic. Why is that? What makes certain pictures mean more than others? Does it depend on the individual in which is experiencing the art? The same picture could something different to two different people. I guess that's why people say that pictures mean a thousand words.

  17. I feel like a graphic or a picture can help you define a word, especially a long word that you don't use everyday. Of course, I will not be corny to say "a picture is worth a 1000 words", but sometimes it is more likely for a person to try to understand a word through a picture instead of wondering and trying to find it in the dictionary. Sometimes, a picture could be self-explanatory because of the fact that it would be difficult to explain with words. The concept is there, but the way to put the right words in your mouth is not and that's when you end up not making sense. You just went around in a circle speaking gibberish.

  18. I think that it kind of depends on the word you're trying to define. The Project Twins use graphics to define unusual words, but in my opinion, without careful critical thinking, it was difficult for me to really define the words by looking at the graphics. The graphics they use to define the words were very simple, and after reading the definition of the word was I truly able to have the understanding of the word. But although instantly defining an unusual word with a graphic may be difficult, I absolutely agree that it helps define the word. Sometimes, definitions don't make much sense to me, and sometimes, definitions use the word you are trying to define in a different tense. Graphics would really help when definitions go complicated.

  19. I think each photo talks about:
    1. A person, who is behaviorally or physically restricted society or his/her family background, cannot stop from knowing the outside world because nature (hair growth) opens up the vision and gives answers time after time.
    2. A long-term accumulated amount of knowledge can be destroyed by an immediate single spark of fire. Or, as nature cycles, human periodically destroys what they have learned.
    3. A thing is still what it is, no matter how stylish and sophisticated it looked.
    4. "How good and whatever you say, it does not satisfy me."
    5. A whole-hearted person loses hope for love through reflexive writing.
    6. Dancing not being aware the dancer has a human body.
    7. A thought is created from vision, on the bright side. This thought travels to different places (is processed in terms of different perspectives). The thought is meant to be forgotten.


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