Have you ever been called a nickum? Someone’s saying you’re a liar. What about snout-fair? It might not sound like a compliment, but it actually means handsome or fair-faced. Or maybe you’re feeling rouzy-bouzy? You might want to calm it down because you’re being a boisterous drunk.
The English language is constantly evolving. Last year, 1,200 new words were added to the Oxford Dictionary, including yolo, moobs, slacktivism, and fuhgeddaboudit. But what about words that fall out of use?
Dominic Watt, a senior linguistics lecturer at the University of York, and his team have poured over historical texts and dictionaries for olde English words to bring back into the modern-day lexicon. They put together a list of 30 words as part of their “Lost Words Campaign”.
“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,” Watt explained, according to the Daily Mail.
Each word in the final 30 fall into one of four categories: post-truth (deception), appearance, emotions, and personality and behavior.
“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,” Watt said.
The research was done in collaboration with the insurance company, Privilege.
“Research like this is important, and it highlights the constantly evolving nature of the English language, with as many words entering as leaving,” said Christian Mendes, head of Privilege home insurance.
These are the words to choose from:
Ambodexter – a person who takes bribes from both sides
Awhape – to amaze, stupefy with fear, or confound utterly
Betrump – to deceive, cheat, elude, or slip from
Coney-catch – to swindle, cheat, trick, dupe, or deceive
Dowsabel – sweetheart or “lady-love”
Ear-rent – the figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk
Fumish – inclined to fume or be hot-tempered, irascible, or passionate
Hugge – to shudder, shrink, shiver, or shake with fear or cold
Hugger-mugger – concealment or secrecy
Losenger – a false flatterer, a lying rascal, or a deceiver
Man-millinery – suggestive of male vanity or pomposity
Merry-go-sorry – a combination of joy and sorrow
Momist – a person who habitually finds fault or is a harsh critic
Nickum – a cheating or dishonest person
Parget – to plaster the face or body with powder or paint
Peacockize – to behave like a peacock, especially to pose or strut ostentatiously
Percher – a person who aspires to a higher status
Quacksalver – a person who dishonestly claims knowledge and skill in medicine
Rouker – a person who whispers or murmurs, who spreads false rumors
Rouzy-bouzy – boisterously drunk
Ruff – to swagger or bluster, to brag or boast
Sillytonian – a silly or gullible person
Slug-a-bed – a person who lies long in bed through laziness
Snout-fair – to have a fair countenance or be fair-faced, comely, or handsome
Stomaching – full of malignity, or given to cherish anger or resentment
Swerk – to become gloomy, troubled, or sad
Teen – to vex, irritate, annoy, or enrage someone
Tremblable – causing dread or horror
Wasteheart – used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern
Wlonk – rich, splendid, fine, or magnificent[H/T: BBC News]