Old-Timey English Words We Should Bring Back ASAP
The English language includes some of the most eloquent and beautiful words in the world. This article largely isn’t about them. Instead, let’s turn to some of the most delightfully bizarre words that slipped from common usage before their time. They say newer is better, but there are some lost English words that really need to come back in style.
Back in the 1500s, a story was told about an illiterate priest that couldn't read the words in front of him. When he arrived at the word sumpsimus — a Latin word used to describe the action of picking up or consuming — he mistakenly said mumpsimus and refused to be corrected.
Groak was a word with more than one meaning, depending on who you asked. According to Joseph Wright, the man behind the English Dialect Dictionary, the verb was used to describe the act of looking at someone with suspicion or crying and whimpering a lot.
Long before the words drunk and hungover were used, crapulous was used to describe the state of having overindulged in alcohol, causing a person to become ill. The word originated from the Latin word crapula, which meant intoxication.
A famous literary hero can be thanked for the history of the word quixotism. The book Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes came out in the 1600s and told the story of a wannabe-hero in the Spanish countryside. In the novel, Quixote tries to become a savior but in practice becomes sort of a bandit.
Jargogle isn't just fun to say — it also describes exactly what happens when you use the word jargogle in a sentence today. This verb means to confuse, jumble or mix up. It's a great word to try out at your next party just to jargogle your party guests.
Apricity is one of those words that just rolls off the tongue. It has a great sound and describes something genuinely unique — the warmth of the sun on a snowy day in the middle of winter. It takes an entire sentence and packages it all up in a poetic-sounding way.
If you find yourself in a situation where the person you're with just will not stop talking, possibly preventing you from being productive, you may be in the presence of someone who twattles. It means to talk idly.
Gorgonize might sound like a word that you wouldn't want associated with you, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. It means to have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on someone, so you could hypothetically gorgonize someone with your beauty.
Monkeyshine is one of those words that should never have left common usage. It's not only fun to say, but it's also associated with the fun act of pranking. The word is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "mischievous or playful activity."
When your pants get a little too tight from holiday meals and snacks, you may be able to refer to yourself as a jollux. In the 1800s, the word meant a person who was overweight. Unlike fat, it’s specifically a noun.
The word brabble is used to describe an argument, two people bickering or an all-out brawl. It's fairly diverse in its meaning, but it's so much more fun than to use than just calling something a fight.
The adjective beef-witted came about as early as 1700 and was used to describe someone "having the wit of an ox; dull in intellect; heavy-headed; stupid." The simplicity of the term and the comparison to food gives it some zing when used to insult someone's intelligence.
Blatherskite is one of those words that's just fun to say. It has several meanings, but it's most recognized definitions include foolishness and gibberish, an overly animated talkative person, "a blustering, noisy, talkative fellow" and "one who talks nonsense in a blustering way."
Before there was Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot, there were other ways to describe a good-looking derriere. One of the best yet least commonly used words to describe a fit and fancy behind today is callipygian.
The obsolete yet wonderfully zany verb fuzzle used to describe the state of being either intoxicated or confused. The word originated in England but was a very close translation of the German word fuseln, which had the same meaning.
Stultiloquence is one heck of a Scrabble word that means defined as "senseless or silly talk," and comes from the Latin words for foolish and speak, stultus and loqui (present participle loquens). It can refer to speech without value or words that make no sense. Related words used today are ramble and drivel.
It might sound like a crazy philosophical theory that died out during the 1800s, but resistentialism is actually a pretty cool way to describe malevolent household objects. It means "the apparently perverse or spiteful behavior of inanimate objects."
You probably won't hear it anytime soon, but if anybody calls you a slubberdegullion, it's safe to say that you can be heavily offended. The word is defined in different dictionaries as different things. On Dictionary.com, the word is defined as "a slovenly or worthless person."
One of the oldest words on the list, soothfast originated as early as the 12th century and was used to describe someone who was truthful and honest at all times. The adjective was widely used and came from the Middle English word sothfast, meaning the same thing.
There's not much worse than seeing a spoiled child running rampant through a shop while you're just trying to pick up a few things in peace, but at least now you can have a fun way to complain about it. A mammothrept is a spoiled child.
For a more sinister look into the English language, consider the word Ganch. The definition as described by Merriam-Webster is "to execute or kill by impaling on stakes or hooks." It's easy to see why a word like this existed in the olden days when things like that happened on a regular basis.
Another ancient word used to describe a violent act is whisternefet, which means a sharp slap. The word is actually so unused, it's barely featured in any of the main dictionaries anymore. It’s a shame, since it rolls right off the tongue and really takes things up a notch.
When you're in a dead-end relationship and have to have that dreaded talk, one of the most common things people say is that they want different things." Wouldn't it be great if there was a single word you could use to say all that instead?
Another word that can be used during romance woes is lasslorn. The word is defined on Merriam-Webster as when a person is betrayed by their significant other, especially when the betrayer is a female. It was widely used as a literary term, especially by Shakespeare.
The rare noun epicaricacy comes from the ancient Greek word epikhairekakía, meaning "joy upon evil." The word itself is defined as "rejoicing at or deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others," much like the German "schadenfreude."
If you've ever been late to a meeting and had to rush away from your lunch date to get there, you have had to absquatulate. The verb originated in the 1800s and is derived from pseudo-Latin. The word was originally a slang term itself and then eventually landed proper word status.
Widdershins is one of those old words that just sound hilarious. The word itself has been associated with some pretty dark myths. The origin of the adverb came from the Middle Low German weddersins and means to do something "in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction."
If you’ve ever snuck away from a restaurant with more than your share of dinner mints, you are able to condiddle. This verb is defined as "to make away with secretly," and the most common synonym today is to steal, although it’s not a perfect synonym.
When it's been a long week and all you want to do is get a little shut-eye, you may be aching for a good sloom. The word can be used as both a noun and a verb. The noun version means a light sleep, while the verb has two different meanings — "to become weak" or "to move or wander slowly or silently."
Everybody is guilty of a little rizzle now and again, especially around the holidays. The verb is defined as relaxing after a large meal, and an old-timey word has never been so perfect. Rizzle is fun to say and also describes something that most people do at least once a week.