Words rejected from the one-trick list


Some of these were former entries on the list of one-trick words, removed in pursuit of accuracy. Others are candidates considered but rejected. See also the list of highly evolved one-trick words.

Abeyance
Kept, or held.
Abet
Can occur by itself as well as with 'aid'.
Agog
Not just a mouth but a village, Californians, or the entire town of Stratford (to give but three examples) may be 'agog'.
Aplomb
Because things can be done with it, or carried off with it.
Arrant
A knave, as well as nonsense, can be arrant.
Assuage
Not only can guilt be assuaged but also thirst, sorrow and lust; and, according to a quick search on google, so can fears, woes, irate investors and campus parking crises.
Auspices
Under the auspices of ...; or, "The auspices are (not) promising ..."
Batten
"Batten" the verb is usually followed by "down the hatches", but "batten" the noun is a useful word in building and carpentry.
Bearding
You can go bearding people (or, more traditionally, lions) in their dens or in their lairs.
Beck
"At the beck and call of ...", or, a dialect word for a stream.
Beggared
Beggared belief, or, beggared by untoward financial circumstance
Bide
What most of us bide is our time, but poets, songwriters and people in the tourist industry may also invite us to bide a while.
Brink
On the, or back from the
Broach
The original use is now extinct except in "Heritage Dictionaries" and among people who can also use "cellarmanship" as if it were a real word. However, as well as a subject, an issue can be broached, and arguably so can a number, a mark or a barrier.
Brunt
The brunt can be borne or taken
Caboodle
Can be the whole caboodle, or, in American usage, "kit and caboodle". The 2nd edition (1989) of the Oxford English Dictionary gives 6 quotes for caboodle all of which use "whole caboodle". Popular singer Madonna croons "Now I have the kit as well as the caboodle" on her song "More".
Chasseur
Usually chicken, but more generally "chasseur sauce".
Cloven
Cloven hoof, cloven-footed animals
Coddled
is not necessarily preceded by "molly-".
Contention
Point of contention, bone of contention, it is my contention that ...
Cooped
Usually "cooped up", but "cooped in", and especially "cooped in together", are also possible.
Copybook
Blot one's copybook; a blot on one's copybook.
Cranny
Very occasionally appears without a nook.
Dander
As well as in the colloquial uses "get one's dander up" and "go for a dander", the word is sometimes used in its literal sense.
Deckle
Can be a noun ('the deckle' is a frame involved in papermaking) or an adjective ('deckle edged paper').
Dereliction
... of duty; or, according to Tony Blair, of responsibility. Well, perhaps he's right on this one.
Doldrums
Because one can be in the doldrums, go through the doldrums or come out of the doldrums.
Droves
Usually, but not always, preceded by 'in'.
Errant
Errant knight, errant knave, errant bass player.
Escutcheon
You may have a blot on your escutcheon; or you may be one of many people world-wide who know what an escutcheon actually is. I believe they are often made of brass.
Fangled
According to the dictionary, there is no such word as "fangled"; only "newfangled".
Fettle
As a noun, 'fettle' is invariably 'fine. But the nice man in the bike shop uses 'fettle' as a verb, so there it goes.
Flotsam
The distinction between 'flotsam' (debris that floats ashore) and 'jetsam' (debris jettisoned from a vessel at sea) remains current. 'Jetsam' is most likely to be used alone in a nautical context but 'flotsam' is also used by conservationists and wildlife photographers.
Forseeable
... future, costs, consequences ...
Fray
You can "leave the fray", or return to it.
Fulsome
... praise, apology etc.
Furrowed
... brow, earth, turf
Gainfully
Employed, occupied, and others.
Gamut
Many and varied are the uses on news.bbc.co.uk.
Gibbous
The moon can be gibbous, but inferior planets (viewed from Earth, that would be Mercury and Venus) also show a gibbous phase.
Gist
Get the gist, or, the gist was ...
Half-cock
"Gone off half-cock" but also "half-cock project", "half-cock system", implemented half-cock"
Handsomely
Once can either behave, or pay, handsomely.
Harbinger
... of doom, hope, spring etc.
Havoc
can be caused, created or wreaked
Heinous
Because in one morning I heard "heinous offence" and "heinously late", in addition to the obvious "heinous crime".
Hobnail
A type of boot; or, a texture on a trinket, as in the "Fenton Ruffled Hobnail White Milk Glass Rose Bowl" and similar tempting items I have seen advertised on ebay.
Hoity-toity
is one word.
Ins
Ins and outs; or, the plural of sense 3 of 'in' in the dictionary.
Jetsam
See Flotsam.
Jockeying
is often done "for position", but it arises in other contexts, including 'disc jockeying' and a technical meaning in football.
Jut
out, over
Kilter
Fears that "off kilter" might be as valid as "out of kilter" were confirmed by a sighting of "on kilter".
Knee-jerk
Reaction or response
Mettle
On, or showing
Malthusian
A crisis, a catastrophe, or a check can be Malthusian.
Misspent
In addition to youth, childhood, life and tax millions can be misspent.
Moot
A point can be moot, or an issue, or moot can be a verb, or things can simply be or become moot.
Motley
Because a collection, as well as a crew, can be motley.
Nether
Regions, parts, reaches, world
Nigh
Nigh on, or, the end is nigh.
Nog
Recipes exist for orange nog as well as egg nog.
Overstay
You can overstay a visa as well as a welcome: but see outstay instead.
Pared
Pared down, pared back, pared potatoes, pared apples
Pent
up, in
Peradventure
Most commonly "beyond ... peradventure", but other uses are still possible. The OED cites "without any possibility of a peradventure" (The Times, 1996).
Pinking
Pinking shears; or, what the wrong kind of fuel does to a diesel engine.
Pooper
Party pooper or pooper scooper
Raring
Examples have been found of "raring to start", "raring to return" and "raring for court battle" as well as "raring to go".
Regius
To my surprise, "Professor" doesn't even appear on the first page of Google searches for "Regius".
Reinvent
People can reinvent the wheel or reinvent themselves.
Qualms
You can have qualms or be without them.
Queered
Queered the pitch, but also queered the deal
Rollicking
In addition to a rollicking time, you may also have a rollicking party (R Mistry, "Auspicious occasion", 1987) or tell rollicking stories, among other usages.
Roughshod
because you can tread it, as well as ride it.
Roundly
Abused, criticised.
Salvos
Can be fired, but don't have to be.
Sinker
"Hook, line and sinker" or "He was a sinker not a swimmer"
Smithereens
because you can be blown to them or smashed to them.
Sufferance
Because you can do things on it, as well as under it.
Swathe
I thought the only thing to do with a swathe was cut, but I've also heard "miss a large swathe of ...".
Teeter
... on the brink, on the edge, on a knife-edge, etc.
Torrid
Torrid affair, torrid time
Transverberation
St Teresa of Avila, and Padre Pio, are but two examples of transverberation.
Troth
You can plight it, or you can pledge it.
Twain
Never the twain shall meet / cleave the twain in two
Umbrage
because you can give it, as well as take it.
Untoward
Nothing untoward, anything untoward, something untoward
Vanishingly
... small, rare, short
Varicose
Ulcers, as well as veins, can be varicose.
Whet
Literally means "sharpen"; as well as the widespread "whet one's appetite", the noun "whet stone" is still in use.
Whit
Because of "to whit" as well as "not one whit".
Wreak
Revenge, havoc

Richard's Useful Lists
One-trick Words Untruisms
Reversible names Heteronyms


Wordplay compiled by Richard Stevens with Sarah Mann, Rupert Mann and Dave Martin.