Word You Can’t Believe Is a Word: Smellfungus

Just looking at this word makes me laugh. But it is a real word, at least according to Merriam-Webster, the American Heritage Dictionary, and a few other sources. And not only is this word legit–it’s been used since 1766!

So what does it mean exactly?

:  a captious critic :  faultfinder

I have a hard time believing that this word gets much use in 2017, but let’s investigate:

From a New York Daily News article:
“Yes, we know this page can be a smellfungus (faultfinder), but with fanfaronade (bragging manner), we hereby salute an achievement of pharaonic (enormous) proportions …”


From a U.K. Express article:
No need to paste the quote–it’s just the definition. The article is titled “Borborygmus, ramfeezled and zamzodden: Weird and wonderful words we’ve forgotten.”


From a Dallas News article:
It was mentioned here as a word used in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Again, it just lists the definition.


Side note: It was really challenging to find articles that used the word smellfungus because there’s a very prolific commenter by the name of Smellfungus who kept coming up in my search results. He especially likes to comment on Breitbart News articles.

6 thoughts on “Word You Can’t Believe Is a Word: Smellfungus

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