Researchers have found 30 words that have fallen out of everyday English language

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Friday 15 September 2017 12:00
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The online world has created almost a dictionary’s worth of new words and acronyms. But evolving language at such an exponential rate comes at a cost, and some words have fallen out of fashion.

Experts at the University of York have compiled a list of 30 words that have fallen out of our consciousness and conversation, that could just make a comeback.

The researchers want these words return in the near future, according to Dominic Watt, senior linguistics lecturer at the University of York.

He told BBC News:

We've identified lost words that are both interesting and thought-provoking, in the hope of helping people re-engage with language of old.  

To allow people to really imagine introducing these words back into their everyday lives, we’ve chosen words that fit within themes still relevant to the average person. Within these themes, we’ve identified lost words that are both interesting and thought-provoking, in the hope of helping people re-engage with language of old.

As professional linguists and historians of English we were intrigued by the challenge of developing a list of lost words that are still relevant to modern life, and that we could potentially campaign to bring back into modern day language. 

Here’s the full list:

Ambodexter: One who takes bribes from both sides

Betrump: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from (no relation to the US president, of course...)

Coney-catch: To swindle, cheat; to trick, dupe, deceive

Hugger-mugger: Concealment, secrecy

Nickum: A cheating or dishonest person

Quacksalver: A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine, a pedlar of false cures

Rouker: A person who whispers or murmurs, who spreads tales or rumours

Man-millinery: Suggestive of male vanity or pomposity

Parget: To daub or plaster the face or body with powder or paint

Snout-fair: Having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome

Slug-a-bed: One who lies long in bed through laziness

Losenger: A false flatterer, a lying rascal, a deceiver

Momist: A person who habitually finds fault, a harsh critic

Peacockize: To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously

Percher: A person who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person

Rouzy-bouzy: Boisterously drunk

Ruff: To swagger, bluster, domineer. To ruff it out / to brag or boast of a thing

Sillytonian: A silly or gullible person, esp. one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people

Wlonk: Proud, haughty / Rich, splendid, fine, magnificent: in later use esp. as a conventional epithet in alliterative verse (N. A fair or beautiful one)

Fumish: Inclined to fume, hot-tempered, irascible, passionate; also, characterized by or exhibiting anger or irascibility

Awhape: To amaze, stupefy with fear, confound utterly

Hugge: To shudder, shrink, shiver, or shake with fear or with cold

Merry-go-sorry: A mixture of joy and sorrow

Stomaching: Full of malignity; given to cherish anger or resentment

Swerk: To be or become dark; in Old English often, to become gloomy, troubled, or sad

Teen: To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage / To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm

Tremblable: Causing dread or horror; dreadful

Wasteheart: Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern: ‘alas!’ ‘woe is me!’ Also wasteheart-a-day, wasteheart of me

Dowsabel: Applied generically to a sweetheart, ‘lady-love’

Ear-rent: The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk

You can vote on your favourite word here.

More: Every British swear word has been officially ranked in order of offensiveness

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