Lost for words

December 15, 2009 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Wordle: Lost English wordsI’ve been helping a couple I’m friends with choose their first baby’s name. If it’s a girl, the front-runner is Lara; if it’s a boy, Evan or Owen. We were busy looking up odd, unusual or lost baby names and, in the process, I came across a whole slew of words we seem to have lost from the English language. I was caught up with this for hours (there went most of Sunday).

So today, I’m bringing you a select list of words that our ancestors once uttered. I’m putting them into sentences as I really like how they sound (I’m presuming the words could be used like this). The lost word is in bold with its meaning following the sentence, although this is pretty obvious when you see the word and ask “what the?”!

  • You are very acrasial today I must say.  Ill-tempered, cranky.
  • I was watching the child’s lambition of the ice cream. Licking or lapping.
  • I simply couldn’t get any sleep last night because of all the tussicating going on. Coughing.
  • He was a skeptic but now he’s a sacricolistDevout worshipper.
  • The namelings Kim and Dr Kim follow the same political party. People sharing the same name.
  • The bird flew to its nidifice. A nest.
  • If I might quaeritate. Are you sure we’re going in the right direction? To question or inquire.
  • I’m off to the markets to venundate. To buy and sell.
  • I must say, that’s a real conynger. Rabbit-warren.
  • That dinner looks a bit meagry. Meagre-looking.
  • The sinapistic sauce I made last night really went over well with my guests. Consisting of mustard.
  • Phylactology reached its peak during the Cold War. Science of counter-espionage.
  • She thought her bad luck was due to evil forces but her family thought it was a matter of scaevity. Unluckiness or left-handedness. Actually, the Greeks and Romans used to associate left-handedness with weakness and during the Medieval era, it was associated with witchcraft.
  • I simply will not tolerate your sevidical tone. Speaking cruel and harsh words; threatening.

These are some of the words I found most fascinating. Can you imagine how people used to speak?!  Mind you, we have some interesting new words entering the English language, reminding us that language is very much a complex, adaptive system. Here’s some new words:

  • Blamestorming. A noun meaning a way to collectively find someone to blame for something when no-one wants to fess up.
  • Threequel. The third book, movie or event in a series.
  • Lookism. Prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of appearance.
  • Unfriend. To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

There are heaps more here.  I can imagine when Twitter, Facebook, social networks and so on are left behind by the amazing technology and cultural shifts of the future, someone 500 years from now will laugh at words we use now like tweet, twitterverse, gaydar, metrosexual – to name but a few.

Sources: Cracked; Phrontistery; BluePlanet languages; AskOxford. Word Cloud by Wordle.


Entry filed under: Useful resources. Tags: , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Baoman  |  December 15, 2009 at 2:56 am

    I know someone who uses lambition – I remember encountering him at a Japan Records Management Association meeting a few years back (he isn’t Japanese and doesn’t live in Japan) and he said quite seriously something like “Let’s start our lambitions” – I didn’t have a clue but we soon had drinks….

  • 2. thinkingshift  |  December 15, 2009 at 3:01 am

    I would have been with you Baoman, no clue but hoping I’d figure out what the hell he was talking about soon!

  • 3. James Dellow  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:55 am

    ‘Blamestorming’ – now that could come in handy at home… 😉


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