One excellent place for a big word is a double-dactyl. This is a poetry form which was invented in the late sixties by Anthony Hecht and John Hollander. It falls into the same category as limericks in being a short, specifically structured verse form which is usually humorous in nature.
The defining characteristics of a double-dactyl are as follows: eight lines; lines one, two and three are double dactyls (two “feet” of “long-short-short”) then line four is a choriamb (long-short-short-long). Repeat for the second half of the poem. The poem should be one sentence, and the sixth line one six-syllable word. There are two rhyming words, one at the end of each choriamb, and each rhyming word only one syllable. The first line is often nonsense syllables like “higgeldy-piggledy” and the second a name.
Here’s a lovely definition of double-dactyl in – what else – a double-dactyl!
Dactyls in dimeter
Verse form with choriambs
One sentence (two stanzas)
Challenges poets who
Don’t have the time.
I’ve written a couple of double-dactyls, but because the original definition was given to me by someone who got it wrong, I’ve been writing mine with a six-syllable word in the seventh line, so I’m not going to quote them here. But it’s worth having another go at it, and I think I will.
There are quite a few legitimate hexasyllabics around – parliamentarian comes to mind, or cryptozoologist. You can always make one up, too. I made up “mythobiologist”, someone who studies mythical beasts.
The wonderful thing about a disciplined form like a double-dactyl, or a limerick, is that within that rather rigid pattern you have a good deal of room to play. Like limericks, double-dactyls seem to be written most often with a twist or a joke, a point or a punch, rather than just an observation.
Haul out those big words and see what you can do!