Researchers Have Identified Thirty "Lost" English Words

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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. 

Without further ado, here is the list:

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]


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