Wordcount for Lovecraft’s Favorite Words

Update: The free eBook of Lovecraft’s Complete Works is done and can be downloaded here. This post was updated 6/23/2011 with requests from the comments which had a significant number of instances (generally over 10, but sometimes fewer for odd & Lovecraftian words).

One of the things any fan of Lovecraft discovers early on is that Lovecraft was very attached to certain words. We either laugh or groan every time we hear something described as “indescribable” or called “unnamable” or “antiquarian” or “cyclopean.” And sometimes we wonder how many times he actually used the words.

In working on the Lovecraft ebook project (which is nearly complete and is in final proofreading), I compiled all of Lovecraft’s original works in one file. So I took suggestions for words to count on the H.P. Podcraft forums and on Twitter.

The list is below. The only big surprises were “squamous,” which only appears once in an original story—”The Dunwich Horror”—, and “unutterable,” which only appeared 13 times.

Abnormal – 94

Accursed – 76

Amorphous – 19

Antediluvian – 10

Antiqu (e/arian) – 128

Blasphem (y/ous) – 92

Cat – 46 (whole word search)

Charnel – 20

Comprehension – 9

Cyclopean – 47

Dank – 19

Decadent – 32

Daemoniac – 55

Effulgence – 4

Eldritch – 23

Faint (ed/ing) – 189

Foetid – 22

Fungus/Fungoid/Fungous – 54

Furtive – 60

Gambrel – 21

Gibbous – 9

Gibber (ed/ing) – 10

Hideous – 260

Immemorial – 25

Indescribable – 25

Iridescence – 2

Loath (ing/some) – 71

Lurk – 15

Madness – 115

Manuscript – 35

Mortal – 27

Nameless – 157

Noisome – 33

Non-Euclidean – 2

Proportion/Disproportionate – 53

Shunned – 54

Singular (ly) – 115

Spectral – 60

Squamous – 1

Stench – 59

Stygian – 6

Swarthy – 14

Tenebrous – 9

Tentacle(s) – 28

Ululat (e/ing) – 4

Unmentionable – 16

Unnamable – 22

Unutterable – 13

At a commenter’s request, I ran the names of some of the god/great old ones/other eldritch beings:

Gods, Great Old Olds, and other Eldritch Beings

Azathoth – 22

Cthulhu – 42

Dagon – 16

Nodens – 8

Nyarlathotep – 47

Shoggoth – 22

Shub-Niggurath – 8

Yog-Sothoth – 28

And in answer to another request:

Eldritch Tomes, Things and Locations


Necronomicon – 49

Pnakotic Manuscripts – 16

De Vermis Mysteriis – 2

Book of Eibon – 3

Eltdown Shards – 1

Nameless Cults (Unaussprechlichen Kulten) – 4


Elder Sign – 2


Arkham – 159

Dunwich – 41

Innsmouth – 104

Kadath – 67

Kingsport – 43

Leng – 158

Miskatonic – 62

R’lyeh – 16

Yuggoth – 21

Irem – 12

And someone requested a Wordle….so here it is!
Wordle: Lovecraft Favorite Words

(click to view larger) Thanks to the lovely commenter who pointed out Wordle’s advanced function. I really haven’t used it, so I wasn’t able to make the best use of it. This new Wordle is much better.

Got another word for me to check in the file? Leave it in the comments or ask me on Twitter and I’ll add it for you!

Ok, so, someone very crudely asked about his use of the N-word. I’ve deleted the comment because I felt it was inappropriate. The answer however is 20 times, 19 of which refer to the abominably-named cat and the other is in “The Picture in the House” if you want to avoid it. He did use the term of the time, “negro/es,” 25 times to refer to characters and inhabitants of regions and he certainly used that term in derogatory fashion. There is then his disgusting poem “On the Creation of N—,”. To my knowledge, those are the instances. This is not an argument against his racism, just a note that he wasn’t throwing around the N-word except when he was, in “The Rats in the Walls” and in the awful poem.


  1. Arexack says:

    How about the beautifully hideous “rugose” and “scabrous”?

  2. Squamous is also used by H P Lovecraft in “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”, which he cowrote with another writer (name ?) as a sequel to “The Silver Key”. Although you may not see this story as ‘original’, because of its cowritten status and that the ‘ Fountain of youth ‘ theme is changed to one of weird science fiction time and space travel.

  3. Seek elder Dictionaries in used book shops and second hand stores. And ye shall find.

  4. […] I can’t even remember when it was I was first introduced to him but I have always liked  weird, unsettling horror and mystery genres as well descriptive writing, and I think Lovecraft has these in spades (where does that turn of phrase come from? I hope it’s nothing racist). For a long while I even thought the Miskatonic University was a real place. You see the brilliance of Lovecraft’s writing is that he enables the reader to conjure up the places he writes about in their minds. He uses wonderful language that is seemingly a bit archaic but I think that ends itself to the word picture he is trying to produce. For example, such words as eldritch, amorphous, gibbous (a phase of the moon)and cerulean (a colour) are words that I love to use in my own writing. In fact you can find a lexicon of Lovecraft’s favourite words here: Lovecraftian Lexicon […]

  5. Aristobulus says:

    … what about three-lobed? (“the three-lobed flaming eye!”)

  6. Michael says:

    I’m noticing that he really liked to describe expansive objects and places as “yawning” or “frowning”. “Aperture” is common as well.

  7. […] H.P. Lovecraft’s favorite words. […]

  8. […] Surprise— the guy who tried to torture tongues into finding the correct pronunciation of Cthulhu loved obscure, strange sounding words. Even in his time, his choice of words was considered excessively florid and antiquated. It’s become a comedic meme of sorts, subject to much intense analysis. […]

  9. LWitherspoon says:

    This makes for a handy (and squamous) list of words to use for madlibs.

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