Here's the rest of the list of words that Wayne State University suggests we use more often. I think I can manage to use all five of them in my next book. They don't seem nearly as obscure as the first five did -- or perhaps I'm just in a better mood today!
• Mawkish: Excessively sentimental; sappy; hopelessly trite.
To her surprise, Beth found Robert’s words of love to be so mawkish that they made her feel sticky, as though she were being painted with molasses.
Much of the music my Confederate lady will be playing on her parlor melodeon would sound mawkish today.
• Natter: To talk aimlessly, often at great length; rarely, it means simply to converse.
You can tell our staff meetings are winding down when everybody starts nattering about their kids.
People natter away all the time, so in a 19th-century parlor you can expect to hear a lot of nattering going on.Once darkness fell, there was little else to do.
• Persiflage: Banter; frivolous talk.
Emma hoped to get Lady Astor into a serious conversation, but as long as the King was around she could elicit only persiflage and gossip.
More often the conversations in a southern parlor turned from simple nattering to persiflage between ladies and their gentlemen callers.
• Troglodyte: Literally, a cave-dweller. More frequently a backward, mentally sluggish person.
Susan felt she could have saved the company if only the troglodytes in management had taken her advice.
And what groups of people do not have their own resident troglodytes? Look at Congress, for example, or any ordinary college classroom. So they are surely present in Civil War South Carolina.
• Winkle: To pry out or extract something; from the process of removing the snail from an edible periwinkle.
Jack showed no inclination to leave his seat beside Alice, but Roger was determined to winkle him out of that chair no matter what it took.
It can take a long time for a parent to winkle the truth out of their children when the question is, "How did this lamp get broken?"
And finally, here's a bonus word (actually a bonus phrase):
Gustatory Rhinitis: A legitimate medical condition that causes one's nose to run whenever food is consumed.
After being embarrassed a several formal banquets, I have found a simple remedy for my gustatory rhinitis. They have a nose spray for that. Who knew!