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10 Words for Bodily Functions and Actions

No, this list isn’t just for those in the medical profession. Many readers find sesquipedalianism — use of overly complicated words when a simpler synonym is available — irritating, but ostentatious vocabulary has its place in invective, satire, and standard-issue humor, and can enhance general prose, whether through figurative or literal use.

1. Borborygmus: rumbling (“What I thought was the rumbling of a truck was only a bout of borborygmus in my stomach”)

2. Emesis: vomiting (“I turned away in disgust from the vile rhetorical emesis of the racist orator”)

3. Eructation: belching (“The smokestacks engaged in endless eructation”)

4. Ingurgitation: guzzling (“We gazed in disbelief at the rampant ingurgitation occurring among the frat boys arrayed around the keg”)

5. Mastication: chewing (“The students, engrossed in the mental mastication required of the assignment, failed to notice my entrance”)

6. Micturation: urinating (“They’re micturating over all that we honor and respect”)

7. Osculation: kissing (“The odious osculation that takes place between politics and big business will never cease”)

8. Peristalsis: swallowing (“They accepted the lies with peristaltic enthusiasm — hook, line, and sinker”)

9. Sternutation: sneezing (“His incessant explosions of sternutation were unsettling”)

10. Tussis: coughing (“John produced gratuitous tussis to signal his extreme skepticism”)


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