I feel sorry for words we don’t use any more. I imagine them mooching about in a linguistic side room, which is silent and monotone, waiting to be written or uttered. Elizabethan insults, empire-building idiom, eighties buzzwords are all stuck in their together, perhaps avoiding i contact.
Today I thought I’d knock on the door, invite a few of those forgotten words out for a stroll.
My New English Dictionary was printed in 1932. It declares itself the ‘Passing Show’ Edition, but doesn’t explain what that means. Mr Google suggests that the Passing Show was a revue, a magazine and cigarettes, but please feel free to make up your own explanation from scratch.
This ‘compendius dictionary of handy size’ tells me with asterisks which words had fallen out of use by 1932. It has a supplement of expressions coined during ‘the World War’. Let’s not keep the poor fellas waiting any longer. My favourite find is:
funk-hole: noun. A government job or similar refuge used by a shirker.
And now opening the dictionary at random:
dicacity: noun. Talkativeness, pertness. (Only if I drink too much tea.)
shotten: adjective. Curdled or sour. (Ooo, I’m hoping they unplugged the office fridge again).
wrawl: verb. To cry like a cat. (We can’t have too many onomatopoeias, right?)
yare: adjective: Ready, prepared, quick and dextrous. (Man, I was born yare).
whoobub: noun: hubbub. (Replaced by an upstart. The original and still the best.)
fap: adjective. Muddled, fuddled. (Don’t you ever feel a bit, you know, fap?)
ultion: noun. Revenge. (Like whoobub gonna have on hubbub.)
sequacious: adjective. Tending to follow; logically consistent and coherent. (For occasional use.)
laidly: adjective. Loathsome, hideous. (Most covert insult ever.)
I'm going to add one without an asterix - because it doesn't deserve the long walk to that side room.
jaunder: verb. To gossip or chat. noun. Idle talk. (We all love a good jaunder.)
Go on, make a forgotten word happy – read it aloud, take it to work with you, or introduce it to your friends.