Language is a universal trait of the human species.
Researchers continue to debate as to what point in our evolution we developed the roots of our present day linguist skills (a broad range of over two million to just fifty-thousand years ago remains on the table).
However, what is certain is that once we got the ball rolling on languages, there was no stopping us!
There’s something very primal, positive and comforting about being able to communicate with others in our environment.
Whether this is done through spoken, written, or signed words, language helps us to bond with our friends, families, and communities. It is a tool that we use in our daily lives, rarely stopping to marvel over the incredible wonder of this gift.
Words have real weight and can accomplish incredible things, bringing about change in both our mundane and magickal lives.
As a Pagan witch, words are a huge part of my practise.
They factor into spells, rituals, positive affirmations, prayers, communing with spirit allies, ancestor work, divination, my grimoire/BOS, blog posts (like the very one you’re reading), social media captions, correspondence with witchy friends, and much more.
I adore languages, their histories, their connections, their differences and their unique qualities. Lapping up the content on YouTube channels such as JuLingo, NativLang, and Dr. Word Person with gusto and great interest.
I am not a professional or serious hobbyist linguist or etymologist though, and make no claims as such.
Instead, I would define myself as a passionate logophile who is endlessly fascinated by languages and the often complex history + connections many of them share.
Language has fascinated me throughout my whole life, and I have long kept track of various words – both English and non-English alike – that I encountered and found particularly special.
The following is an alphabetically arranged selection of words from numerous languages around the world. (With at least one entry for every letter in the English language.)
Each of these 100 beautiful words has a certain element to their definition that feels right at home in a Pagan, witchcraft, Wicca, or similar spiritual context.
Quite a few, of these words pertain to nature, which aligns them all the more with how a lot of us chose to embrace Paganism and witchery.
There is an immeasurable number of words housed in living, dead, and extinct languages across the span of human history. Naturally, many others would be right at home in a post like this as well.
To that end, in a respectful and culturally appropriate manner, I encourage you to seek out and find ways to integrate additional new-to-you words from various languages into your spiritual practice as well.
100 rare and beautiful words from around the world that are perfect for witches and Pagans
📌📌📌 Each of these word definitions is accompanied by a pin-able/shareable image that you can save to Pinterest, share on social media, or use on your own blog as well.
Abendrot | Noun | German | The (red) colour of the sky when the sun is setting.
Adversperascit | Verb | Latin | As evening draws near. The approaching darkness of night.
Agathist | Noun | English via ancient Greek | A person who believes that all things tend towards ultimate good.
Ailurophile | Noun | ancient Greek | A person who loves felines; a cat lover.
Ammil | Noun | English (specifically, this word is traced to the local lingo of Devon in the UK) | A glittering layer of ice that adorns leaves, twigs, and grass after a freeze. |
Anthophile | Noun | Ancient Greek + Latin | A lover of flowers.
Aoibhneas | Noun | Irish | The sense of joy and wonder from external sources such as scenery, music or art.
Apricity | Noun | Latin | The warmth of the sun in winter.
Astrophilia | Noun | English via ancient Greek | Love of and/or obsession with planets, stars, and outer space.
Ataraxia | Noun | Ancient Greek | A state of serene calmness; serenity of mind.
Ayni | Noun | Quechuan | Sacred reciprocity; the practice of living in harmony with the spirit of the earth.
Brumous | Noun | English via French via Latin | Of grey skies and winter days; filled with heavy clouds or fog; relating to winter or cold, sunless weather.
Ceraunophile | Noun | English via Latin | A person who loves thunder and lightning.
Chthonian | Adjective | ancient Greek | Of or relating to the deities, spirits, and other being dwelling under the earth.
Commuovere | Verb | Italian | To be touched deeply and/or moved to tears, as with a heartwarming story.
Corrachag-cagail | Noun | Scottish Gaelic | Flickering, dancing fire embers.
Cynefin | Noun | Welsh | Habitat; a place where a person or animal feels it ought to live or belong.
Dadirri | Noun | Australian Aboriginal | A deep, spiritual act of reflection and respectful listening or communion with life.
Dendrophile | Noun | Ancient Greek | One who loves trees and/or forests.
Dormiveglia | Noun | Italian | The space that stretches between sleeping and waking; half-asleep.
Draíocht | Noun | Old Irish | Magic, enchantment, witchcraft; that which is unseen. Druidic art or druidism.
Earthshine | Noun | English | Visible earthlight reflected onto the moon’s dark portion creating a perceivable outline of the whole moon.
Elflock | Noun | English | A lock of tangled hair. Hair that is whimsically viewed as having been tangled or curled by elves.
Elysian | Adjective | English via Latin via ancient Greek | Blissful, beautiful, happy, heavenly. Peaceful and perfect.
Erstwhile | Adverb | English | Former; previous; of, or in, the past.
Eudaimonia | Noun | ancient Greek | Human prosperity, happiness or flourishing; blessedness.
Euneirophrenia | Noun | ancient Greek | The peaceful state of mind after a pleasant dream.
Eunoia | Noun | English via ancient Greek | A well-balanced mind. Beautiful thinking. Pure (of) spirit.
Feuillemorte | Noun | French | The colour of a dying leaf.
Fingerspitzengefühl | Noun | German | Literally “fingertip-feelings”. Intuitive empathy with things and people.
Frondescence | Noun | English via Latin | The moment at which a plant unfolds its leaves; leafage; foliage.
Gluggaveour | Noun | Icelandic | Weather best enjoyed through a window, instead of physically being outside in it.
Heliophile | Noun | English via Latin | One is who is attracted to and/or thrives in sunlight.
Hiemal | Adjective | Latin | Of, or pertaining to, winter and wintry things.
Hypnagogic | Adjective | English ancient Greek | Pertaining to the semi-conscious period immediately preceding sleep.
Ineffable | Adjective | English (and Spanish) via Latin | Indescribable. Something too great or incredible for words to fully convey.
Jijivisha | Noun | Hindi | The will to live and enjoy life; strong wish.
Kairos | Noun | Greek | The opportune time and/or place. The perfect, delicate crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words, or movement.
Kawaakari | Noun | Japanese | The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk. The gleaming surface of a shadowed river. The reflection of moonlight off flowing water.
Komorebi | Noun | Japanese | Sunlight filtering through the leaves of a tree.
Lambent | Noun | English via Latin | To glow or flicker softly. Luminous, light, or brilliant.
Madrugada | Noun | (both) Portuguese and Spanish | The period between midnight and sunrise; early morning.
Mångata | Noun | Swedish | The road-like reflection of the moon on water; “moon path” or “moon-wake”.
Marahuyo | Adjective | Filipino | To be enchanted or to enchant others.
Marmoris | Noun | Latin | The surface of the sea, ocean, or other body of water.
Meraki | Verb / adverb | Modern Greek via Turkish | To do something with soul, creativity or love; to put part of yourself into your work.
Metanoia | Noun | English via ancient Greek | The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, beliefs or way of life; spiritual conversion.
Mirabilia | Plural noun | Latin | Things that inspire wonder. Marvels, miracles, the wondrous unexpected.
Nefelibata | Noun | Portuguese | An individual who lives in the clouds of their own imagination or dreams. One who does not abide by the prescribed rules of society.
Nemophilist | Noun | English via Greek | One who is fond of forests or forest scenery; a haunter of the words.
Noctuary | Noun | English via Latin | A record of the night’s events; a nightly journal.
Novaturient | Adjective | English via Latin | Desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behavior, or a particular situation.
Numinous | Adjective | Latin | Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of the divine.
Nyctrophilia | Noun | Latin | A love of darkness or night; finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness.
Oenomel | Noun | Latin via ancient Greek | Something (especially thought or language) in which strength and sweetness are combined.
Opacarophile | Noun | Latin + ancient Greek | A lover of sunsets.
Orenda | Noun | Iroquois | A mystical force or spiritual energy present in all people that empowers them to affect the world or to effect changes in their own lives.
Orphic | Adjective | English via ancient Greek | Beyond ordinary understanding. Fascinating; entrancing; mystical.
Overmorrow | Noun | Middle English | The day after tomorrow.
Palladium | Noun | Latin via ancient Greek | Anything that offers effective protection. A safeguard. (Also the name of a rare white metal that was first discovered in 1803.)
Pernoctation | Noun | English via Latin | The action of walking about at night, especially as a vigil or watch.
Petrichor | Noun | English via Greek | The scent of rain falling on dry earth or ground. The pleasing aroma of rain in general.
Photophile | Noun | English via Greek | A person who loves light. A plant, organism or person that is receptive to, seeks or thrives in sunlight.
Pluviophile | Noun | Latin | A lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.
Pridian | Adjective | English via Latin | Of, or relating to, yesterday or other previous days.
Primaveral | Adjective | Galician | Of, or relating to, early spring.
Pronoia | Noun | English via ancient Greek | Divine providence, foreknowledge, foresight.
Psithurism | Noun | English via ancient Greek | The sound of leaves or trees rustling in the wind.
Quatervois | Noun | French | A crossroads; a critical decision or turning point in one’s life.
Quiddity | Noun | French via Latin | The quality or essential nature that makes something what it is.
Raconteuse | Noun | French | A woman who is skilled in telling stories and antidotes interestingly.
Remontant | Noun | French | A plant that flowers more than once a season.
Rudeneja | Verb | Lithuanian | The way nature and/or the weather begins to look and feel like autumn as the season begins.
Ruska | Noun | Sami | Autumn foliage; the process of leaves turning various shades of red, orange, yellow, brown, and purple during the fall.
Sabaism | Noun | English via French via Hebrew | Worship of the sun, moon, and stars and/or the spirits in them.
Selcouth | Adjective | Middle English via Old English | Strange, unusual, rare; unfamiliar, marvellous, wondrous.
Selenophilia | Noun | Greek | Loving the moon and finding it soothingly captivating.
Serein | Noun | English via French | The fine, light rain that falls from a clear sky at sunset or in the early hours of night (often associated with tropical locations and climates).
Sibylline | Adjective | English via Latin | Possessing oracle-like powers of prediction or clairvoyance. Mysterious, cryptic, or having a secret meaning.
Sidereal | Adjective: English via Latin | Of or relating to the stars.
Smultronställe | Noun | Swedish (literally meaning “a spot where strawberries grow”) | A pleasant, happy place, potentially of solace, with sentimental or other personal importance.
Sonder | Noun | modern English (not a formally recognized word yet) | The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own.
Solivagant | Adjective | Latin | Wandering alone. A solitary explorer or adventurer.
Sturmfrei | Adjective | German (literally this word means “storm free”) | The freedom of time alone. Being able to do what you wish by yourself. (Surely this word will find favour with many of my fellow introverts. 😃)
Suaimhneas | Noun | Irish | A silent sense of contentedness; tranquility.
Subnivean | Adjective | Latin | Occurring beneath a layer of snow.
Sweven | Noun | Old English | A vision seen in sleep; a dream.
Thalassophile | Noun | Greek | A lover of the sea/ocean.
Trouvaille | Noun | French | A lucky find or discovery; something lovely discovered by chance.
Uitwaaien | Verb | Dutch | To walk in nature (often in the wind) so as to clear your mind or relax.
(Explore the concept further in this upbeat post – Uitwaaien is the Dutch invention you never knew you needed – from DutchReview.com.)
Umbraphile | Noun | Latin | A person who loves eclipses, often travelling to see them.
Vespertine | Adjective | Middle English via Latin | Occurring, flourishing or being active in the evening.
Vorfreude | Noun | German | The joyful excitement of imagining future events or outcomes.
Wabi-sabi | Noun | Japanese | Finding beauty and meaning in imperfection and transience.
Waldeinsamkeit | Noun | German | Forest solitude; the feeling of being alone in the woods.
Wayfarer | Noun | Middle English | A traveller, especially one who journeys by foot.
Xanadu | Noun | American English | An idyllic (often exotic) location of immense beauty, wonder, and happiness.
Yuanfen | Noun | Mandarin | Fateful coincidence or serendipity. A compelling sense of people and/or events being destined to cross paths.
Yugen | Noun | Japanese | A profound awareness of the universe that triggers feeling too deep and mysterious for words.
Zoetic | Adjective | English | Of, or pertaining to, life; vital, essential to existence.
Note: Leading dictionaries and linguistic websites were consulted for these definitions. Accounting for translations into English, accuracy was striven for in every instance. If any glaring inaccuracies were inadvertently made, please let me know and I will update this post according.
All photographs used for the bases of the images in this post are from Canava Pro’s complimentary stock photography catalogue.
How to utilize these words in your spiritual practises
Try speaking some of these words aloud. How do they feel in your mouth? What stirs in you when you hear each of these words?
(Fun fact: If you find the way a word sounds pleasant or appealing, there is a word for that too: eutony.)
Think of the myriad ways that you could utilize these fantastic, often evocative words in your spiritual practise or other areas of your life.
The following is a small selection of the countless ways you could work with these diverse words from around the globe:
-Create a sigil based out of one (or more) of them.
-Carve one of these words into a relevant spell candle or write the word in oil that you anoint a candle or others magickal tool with.
-Use one of these words in an important incantation.
-Write one of these words that relates to spellwork that you’re doing on a piece of paper (or other suitable material) and include in it a witch bottle, spell bottle or jar, spell or mojo bag, stuffed inside a poppet, use it in a dream pillow, or burn it in a magickally focused fire.
-Design and carry out a spell based on whichever word(s) here resonate the most with you.
-Create a piece of art, poetry, music or anything else you desire based on one of these words.
-Connect some or all of these words to the Wheel of the Year, seasons, sabbats, or the elements and devise ways to feature them in your magical workings.
-Use one or more of these words as part of your sacred magickal or Pagan name.
-By the same token, use one of these words to name a new pet or even a child.
-If you create and sell witchy or Pagan related products, consider using some of these words to name your products (you could even use one of them as part of a business name).
-Meditate on one of more of these words for at least a few days. Keep note of what thoughts, feelings and inspirations arise you when you focus deeply on that particular word.
-Utilize a weather-related word in a relevant weather or other nature type of spell or ritual. Trace it into the dirt or sand with a stick, your fingers, a shell, a branch, etc, and let it connect directly with the energy of the earth itself.
-Use numerology to get to the base number of the word(s) here that you most connect with. How do the correspondence and connections of that number relate to your life and magickal workings?
-Include one of these words in well suited ritual for use with your coven or other sacred space group.
(And my fellow paper crafters, writers, poets, musicians, and other creative souls may also like to use these words and/or their definitions for everything from scrapbook page titles to card sentiments, journaling prompts to song lyrics.)
A whole wide world of awesome words!
Goodness, did I enjoy writing and creating the images for this post! Doing so reminded me of just how much I adore linguistics and how fascinating the human act of using language (much like our history of sign and symbol usage) is.
While it is next to impossible to quantify or judge what the best words on earth are, I like to think the one hundred entries in this post are amongst the loveliest and most spiritually supportive out there.
That said, as there are millions of words spread across the more than 6,000 languages that are presently spoken on earth. As such, I’m certain that amongst them reside many more words that are especially appropriate for witches and Pagans, too.
In fact, I know there are! 😊 I have already started adding entries to a new list of further Pagan appropriate words that may one day turn into a second edition of this post.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below what some of your own favourite words from around the globe are. In doing so, we will – aptly – keep this delightful conversation going all the more! 📝😃❤️
What a beautiful post! I am an ailurophile.
Thank you very much, my fellow ailurophile. I truly adore cats and wholeheartedly hope we can welcome one (or more) into our life again at some point. Do you presently have any cats yourself? 🐱
As a fellow lover of language – and unusual, often archaic words – this list is the stuff of dreams for me, and I expect to be scrolling through it again and again. I was pleased to see that Apricity made the list, as I dedicated a blog post to it earlier this year! xxx
Thank you mightily, my dear friend and fellow logophile. I’m delighted to know that this post struck a chord with you as well.
Looking back across the various websites and blogs I’ve had the pleasure of running over the years, this post stands out amongst my favourite posts I’ve ever penned and I have already begun gathering entries for a second edition at some point in the future. Please do not hesitate to suggest words (from any language) that you think would be a good fit. I’m all ears! 😃
I loved this- I use many of these words! For instance I believe my belief in God (s) is ineffable. It is impossible to explain most days…
So a word not on your list I also love is :
Aporia – Boiled down it means ‘ an impossible possibility.” A paradox. Which is what I feel I am. Lol. We have the word on the back of our van. If we could all live with the impossible possibilities how much richer would the world be??
Thanks again Autumn for always being so vibrant in your zest for life and love. You encourage me to grasp the beauty and I am honoured to ‘know you’ in the sense of witnessing you here.
Sweet soul, what a tremendously kind, meaningful, and supportive comment. Thank you very much. I greatly appreciate all that you said – including the sharing of aporia.
That is a gorgeous word as well and one that I will add to my already growing list of possible entries for a 2nd post of this nature.
Really, and with a deeply grateful heart, thank you again. It is a joy and honour to know and engage with you online as well. 💗
I am a huge lover of words (and I have a degree in Linguistics!) and just soaked up this post, Autumn! Thank you for this time of calm and for these wonderful images and words. I thought these would each make a wonderful tarot-type of card…you could have this as a whole desk, then pull out cards that you could then meditate on, or think about.
Have a wonderful day! Enjoy the light, the sounds, the smells of spring, my friend!
Sweet Sheila, I adore (underline that many times over) the fact that several years on from first meeting one another online, I continue to learn fascinating, awesome information about you. Case in point, that you have a degree in linguists. That is immensely interesting and something I would be delighted to hear more about any time.
That is a brilliant and wholly inspiring idea regarding creating a tarot or oracle card deck out of this post. Thank you very much for suggesting it. You’ve got me wondering now if there might any publishers out there who would be interested in the concept as well? If one just made a personal (one-off) version for themselves though, it would be no less wonderful and useful – and you’ve got me thinking now that this is something I may do at some point. Really, thank you again. You’re awesome!
Autumn, I adored this post. As someone equally enchanted by words (and often searching for just the right one), I found this list fascinating.
So many of them immediately resonated with me, and I look forward to incorporating them into my daily life!
Thank you for this most informative post!!
Dearest Debi, you are truly welcome. Thank you very much for letting me know that you not only enjoyed this fun word-filled post, but that you are a fellow logophile as well.
There are few posts, on any of the websites and blogs I’ve run over the past 17 years, that I enjoyed researching, writing, and creating the images for more than this one. I was in a genuinely blissful state the whole time and can definitely foresee a 2nd part (and maybe further entries beyond that, too) appearing at some point down the line.
Many hugs & the sunniest, sweetest April wishes!
Very informative and educational post! I like to save your posts for my day off so I can take my time and enjoy all your information.
What a touching compliment, Donna. Thank you wholeheartedly for sharing not just your time, but some of that on your days off, with me.
That means a great deal and is not something I take lightly or for granted in the slightest. 💗
What a great post Autumn, so interesting! I love reading all of the different meanings.
You’re wonderfully sweet, Tammy. Thank you very much! 😘
I’m tickled pink to know that you enjoyed this post. It is one of my personal favourites (and amongst the most happiness-inducing) I’ve ever penned for any of the sites and blogs I’ve run throughout my life.
This has been such an enlightening post! There are a handful of words that I know and some are even used on occasion. I actually learned the word ailurophile about a week or two ago when I came upon it on a t-shirt for sale through an online merchant. I think Google knows how much I love cats! And I’m so excited to learn the word elflock as my youngest (18 and still at home) has gorgeous long curls that tend to be rather tangled. I’ll be using this with him for certain! Oh! At times like this I wish I had a photographic memory to recall each of these words you’ve defined for us. I will be popping some into Teams conversations during the work day. My colleagues will enjoy that!
I can understand how you spent hours upon hours for this post. What a labour of love!
Sweet Kate, thank you deeply for your stellar comment. I am tickled pink to know that this post struck a chord with you and that you’ve discovered some new-to-you words in it that you adore.
Isn’t elflock an enchantingly pretty word? I wish that I had naturally curly hair so that I could refer to it as such. How lucky your son is to be blessed with beautiful ringlets of his own.
I sincerely appreciate your acknowledgement of the time that went into this post. It was, unquestionably, a labour of love (spanning at least seventy hours over the course of several days). Happily, I enjoyed every minute of it though – very much including creating the 100+ images housed in this post.
I’ve already begun putting together a list of other unique, rare, and beautiful words from around the world, so a second edition of this post may appear here at some point.
I know that you have a huge passion for words as well and am all ears if there’s any you’d like to suggest for “part 2”.
Big hugs & many more thanks for everything!
I really enjoyed this! Who knew there were so many terrific terms to describe some of life’s most precious moments. I’m working on my MFA in poetry writing and found this page to be very inspiring, I feel like each of these 100 terms could spark a poem. Thank you so much,
Hi Joshua, thank you very much for your terrific comment. I’m delighted to know that this page helped to spark inspiration for you.
I have an ongoing list of additional words that I am gathering up for a (likely fairly distant) second edition of this post. If there are any entries you would like to see included, please do not hesitate to let me.
Wishing you all the best with your MFA, my fellow poet.