"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: 20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback

Sunday, January 6, 2013

20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback

From my very impressionable age, I’ve always been fascinated by words—their sound, spelling, meaning, uses, history. That’s why I used most of my time in secondary school I memorizing all the dictionaries in my school library. I continued the memorization of dictionary into my university days. Learning about words has been my enduring passion. In response to my article on outdated words in Nigerian English, a friend sent this fascinating article about 20 words that have gone out of circulation in the English language. It was written on November 8, 2010 by Heather Carreiro 


DURING MY UNDERGRADUATE studies as a Linguistics major, one of the things that struck me most is the amazing fluidity of language. New words are created; older words go out of style. Words can change meaning over time, vowel sounds shift, consonants are lost or added and one word becomes another. Living languages refuse to be static.

The following words have sadly disappeared from modern English, but it’s easy to see how they could be incorporated into everyday conversation.

Words are from Erin McKean’s two-volume series: Weird and Wonderful Words and Totally Weird and Wonderful Words. Definitions have been quoted from the Oxford English Dictionary.

1. Jargogle

Verb trans. – “To confuse, jumble” – First of all this word is just fun to say in its various forms. John Locke used the word in a 1692 publication, writing “I fear, that the jumbling of those good and plausible Words in your Head..might a little jargogle your Thoughts…” I’m planning to use it next time my husband attempts to explain complicated Physics concepts to me for fun: “Seriously, I don’t need you to further jargogle my brain.”

2. Deliciate

Verb intr. – “To take one’s pleasure, enjoy oneself, revel, luxuriate” – Often I feel the word “enjoy” just isn’t enough to describe an experience, and “revel” tends to conjure up images of people dancing and spinning around in circles – at least in my head. “Deliciate” would be a welcome addition to the modern English vocabulary, as in “After dinner, we deliciated in chocolate cream pie.”



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