20 Bizarre Words That Sound Dirty but Actually Aren’t

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If you’re a badminton fan, you’ve probably heard this one—it’s another word for the birdie you whack at in the game.

Nothing to see here, folks! A kumquat is an innocent citrus fruit that’s often used in preserves.

We’ve all masticated in public—this word just means chewing.

Diphthong is fun to say, and might sound dirty, but it’s really a linguistics term for a sound made by combining two vowels (like oil and loud).

It’s just another word for a wireless adapter, but it’s also super fun to say. Don’t forget your dongles!

Spatchcocking refers to splitting open a chicken or other fowl to prepare it for grilling.

No, it doesn’t involve disrobing—to defenestrate means to throw someone or something out of a window.

It’s a gag-inducing word for many people, but how else do you describe a perfectly succulent slice of cake?

The dik-dik is a type of antelope found in eastern and southwestern Africa, and the name comes from the sound the animal makes.

It’s an athletic training technique that uses bursts of intense exercise alternated with periods of less strenuous activity.

In addition to being fun to say, a haboob is a sandstorm found in the deserts of North Africa, Arabia and India.

It’s not what you think—peniaphobia is the fear of poverty.

It’s a questionable-sounding word that just means severe chest pain.

If you’re handy with home improvement, you know that caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant.

Whoa there! A tittle is actually a very small part or quantity.

Nothing physical here: it’s a type of mollusk, and is also used in the phrase “the cockles of one’s heart” to convey the depths of one’s emotions.

Penal refers to something of, relating to, or involving punishment.

A titmouse is a small songbird that feasts on insects.

We all gesticulate from time to time—it means to use gestures to emphasize words as you speak.

The opposite of what you were thinking, a sexton is a person who tends to a church and its contents.