A good guideline to help decide if you’re overreaching in an otherwise admirable effort to add variety to your writing: Would someone ever say the word in real life? Here are four examples that I don’t think anyone would.
Bespoke. A Britishism that until a few years ago specifically denoted custom-tailored clothes (and seems to have sailed over on the same trendiness ship that carried massive to our shores). Often seen these days in food and home-design writing. Bespoke burgers! Bespoke cocktails! And:
— Bill O'Sullivan (@billmatto) November 26, 2016
Limn. A literary-criticism word that looks like a lemon-lime typo but means simply to describe or depict. Other observers have amusingly detailed—limned, if you will—New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani’s affection for this bit of arcana (okay, that might be another example) that most people have to look up when they come across it. Fun fact: It’s pronounced lim, but you pronounce the n in limning. Then again, what are the odds you’d ever have call to utter the present participle of limn? (Hat tip to reader @fedward for reminding me of this word.)
Quaff (and quaffable). The only thing that ever got quaffed is mead.