Obsolete Words in Need of a Revival


Earlier this year I came across a list entitled, 27 Obsolete Words It’s High Time We Revived. The entries looked a little something like this:


Meaning: Tangled hair, as if matted by elves.
Origin: 1590s
As in: Jeez, dude, look at the state of those elflocks — have you not heard of a comb?



Meaning: To act in a secretive manner.
Origin: 1530s
As in: I’m sick of all these sneaky types, creeping around and hugger-muggering the whole time.



Meaning: A slovenly, slobbering person.
Origin: 1650s
As in: Look at that sluberdegullion, sprawled on the sofa with his tongue lolling out.

Aside from the warm fuzzies I get at seeing those perfectly suited adorable little owls, the list itself appeals to the word nerd in me. I’m a stickler for words that have long gone out of fashion. I croon over the Austens and Dickens long gone, at the polite ways of saying terribly impolite things and the words that once accompanied them.

I discussed the matter in a comparable light not two years ago. I mentioned words like skullduggery, discombobulate and alohamora as words I feel deserve a bit more attention in our contemporary language repertoire. Your responses suggested I wasn’t the only word nerd feeling a little word nostalgic. You mentioned gumption, tarradiddleabsquatulate and footle. Spectacular words! Too spectacular for the Words Gone Out of Fashion shelf.

And so, let me introduce you to your end of week challenge: Check out the owl list. If nothing else, it has cute owls in funny poses. Then pick a word that tickles your fancy and start using it. Make a sentence. Make a paragraph! Go wild.

Let’s stop hugger-muggering around this footle, get off our slubberdegullion butts, comb out those elflocks and get to work.

I’d like to hear what words, either from the list or not, you’d like to see more of and show me how you’d use it.

Go on. Talk to me fellow word nerds!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the English Language

I’m a fan of words…good ones that is.  Sometimes I will see a word written or hear a word spoken, and I’ll make a point of memorising it so that I can casually drop it into conversations (I’m cool like that).  It might be the way it sounds, the way it looks, or the imagery it evokes.  Then, there are those words that make me shudder.  Literally shudder with contempt, and wonder that anyone uses them at all.

Here is just a very small collection of the few words that I think could do with a bit more exposure, and those that, were they to crawl into a cave and die, would undoubtedly be doing the world a favour and likely improve the chances of world peace.

The good

Discombobulate – I wish I could use this word more often.  It just sounds, well, cool!

Magnanimous – This one makes me think of minions talking to their master.  And I do like minions.

Alohamora – I wave a wand in my head every time I say this aloud.

Skullduggery – Arrrrrrgh matey!

Racecar – ‘Cause everybody loves a good palindrome.

Gypsy – What’s this? No vowels!

Wednesday – Because I like how I sound it out in my head every time I write it.

The bad and the ugly

Chagrin – Twilight anyone? This word, sounds ugly, looks ugly…and what the hell does it mean?!

Moist – Last year it was concurred amongst friends (and some random people at the pub) that this is one of the ugliest sounding words, ever.

Grimace – Makes you want to do it as you say it.

Colonel – I sound somewhat challenged every time I stumble over this word when reading aloud.  I want to sound it out as it’s spelt…which apparently is not allowed.

Phlegm – Look at it!

Vacuum – Who’s idea was this, really?

Bookkeeper – Double letter overload.

I’m sure I’m not the only one having a love/hate relationship with the English language.  Are there any words that make you want to thank a supreme deity and sacrifice a virgin goat for the gift of language? Or those that similarly make you want to jump off a cliff so that your ears never have to bleed at the sound of them again?

~storytelling nomad~