The English language is so fabulously rich. The Oxford English Dictionary currently lists 171,476 words in current use and another 47,156 obsolete words. I would love to see a come-back for some of these old words:
- When I wrinkle my brow it is ‘malagrugrous’
- To ‘jargogle’ is to confuse or jumble
- ‘Crapulous’ is what we all feel after eating too much food
- A ‘snoutfair’ is a good-looking person
- ‘Lunting’ is going for a walk and smoking a pipe
- A ‘quockerwodger’ is a wooden puppet controlled by strings
- And a ‘slubberdegullion’ is what I’d like to be for most of January (a person sprawled on a sofa with no intention of moving)
Words are endlessly fascinating and I am fond of books about lexicography, the art of writing dictionaries.
Here are some favourites you might like to try: Dr Johnson’s Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World by Henry Hitchings, The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester and Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper.
I hope the New Year celebrations do not bring you any ‘woofits’ (hangovers) from being a ‘vinipote’ (wine drinker), that your Christmas banquets have not made you ‘batten’ (grow fat) and that you have a ‘chatillionte’ (delightful, sparkling) New Year.
Do you have any favourite words that have fallen out of common usage? Let me know yours in the comments.
Dr Johnson’s Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World by Henry Hitchings
The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper