I am currently writing a FanFiction. However, given that it has long chapters, repitition of certain words makes certain parts tedious to read.

I recently saw xkcd's Simple Writer, which helps us to use the 1000 most common words in the English Language.

I want to ask, if there is such a service, but for the 1000/10000/etc most uncommon words?

Example: If I ask for an UncommonSynonym of 'Unspeakable', I get 'Egregious' or 'Infandous'.

  • 1
    Do you want uncommon words or uncommon synonyms (whatever that means)?
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 4, 2017 at 11:37
  • @HotLicks I mean synonyms, that are also uncommon words. Oct 4, 2017 at 11:38
  • But most words, even uncommon ones, have synonyms.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 4, 2017 at 11:40
  • @HotLicks I mean that, if I ask for an UncommonSynonym of 'Unspeakable', I get 'Egregious' or 'Infandous'. Oct 4, 2017 at 11:42
  • 2
    Of course, if there were a readily accessible service of such a sort it might result in those words becoming less uncommon... Also, you might consider whether using words whose definition may only be found online in a subscription dictionary to be even more tedious for readers than a bit of repetition.
    – Spagirl
    Oct 4, 2017 at 12:47
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a request for resources Oct 4, 2017 at 13:19
  • @FumbleFingers This has already been answered. Does closing it now serve a purpose? Oct 4, 2017 at 13:23
  • @MalayTheDynamo: I don't understand. Are you saying that we shouldn't vote to close questions if someone has already posted an answer? I can't see the logic of that. Oct 4, 2017 at 13:24
  • 3
    btw - do you really want a resource that could lead to you look as foolish as Canadian Immigraton Spokesman Alykhan Velshi on Channel 4? (infandous has been obsolete for centuries). Oct 4, 2017 at 13:28
  • @FumbleFingers We close questions because the particular site isn't for answering that question. But if the question is answered, doesn't that mean that the site can answer that question and the question should therefore remain? Oct 4, 2017 at 13:38
  • @FumbleFingers Infandous was an example. Rather extreme, but an example nonetheless. Oct 4, 2017 at 14:00
  • This seems like an XY problem: your real problem is that you want to make your prose more interesting, but you've asked a question about how to make it laughable instead. Well, it'll certainly stand out . . . or should I say "indubitably rise erect"?
    – ruakh
    Oct 5, 2017 at 2:42
  • I find that instead of looking up a synonym for a common word, it helps to expose yourself to lots of less common words an phrasings all the time, so that when you need something more interesting, it will already be in your brain. Sites like phrontistery.info or youtube.com/c/obscuresorrows can help. Also, read poetry.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 29, 2017 at 1:22
  • @ColleenV Well, that's a good method. I just remembered how Poe coined the word tintinnambulating. Nov 29, 2017 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


The meaning of the question seems clear to me (I say this as there seems to be some confusion in the comments): get all synonyms of the word in question, and return the ones that are least commonly used.

For a view on frequency, you could use Google's Ngrams viewer, which has a large corpus of book texts.

This requires you to enter a comma-separated list of words or phrases, so the next step is to generate that list, e.g. from the results of an online thesaurus. This is relatively easily achieved if you don't mind getting your hands dirty with a bit of Javascript. :)



Open the developer console ( in Chrome and Firefox). Click the "console" tab. This will let you enter some Javascript. Enter this:

$.map($(".moreAnt .orth"), function(val,i){return $(val).html()}).join(",");

This will return a comma-separated list of words, which can then be copied into Ngrams. It looks like Ngrams has a maximum character size, and/or a maximum number of simultaneous searches, so you might want to search the terms 10 at a time, e.g.

  • dreadful,shocking,appalling,evil,awful,overwhelming,horrible,unbelievable monstrous,from hell
  • inconceivable,unimaginable,repellent,abysmal,frightful,heinous,odious,indescribable
  • loathsome,abominable,ineffable,beyond words,execrable,unutterable,inexpressible,
    beyond description,hellacious,too horrible for words

Of course, you could just type them yourself, if you don't want to get too technical.

  • 1
    Wow. This is exactly what I was looking for. Oct 4, 2017 at 12:10
  • Happy to help. You probably need to find the most thorough thesaurus possible, if you want to get words like "infandous" back. Oct 4, 2017 at 13:09
  • 1
    And, to be honest, once you have that thesaurus-which-includes-very-obscure-words, you can probably tell just by looking for words which you don't recognise, assuming you're already very familiar with English. Oct 5, 2017 at 10:12
  • Yeah, I am. So that's a possibility. Oct 5, 2017 at 10:13

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