Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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What do you think of these 15 obsolete words?

Laura Moss writes that we should be resurrecting these 15 obsolete words.

First, I don’t think “slugabed” is really obsolete. I’m sure I’ve seen it, and maybe even used it myself. It definitely sounds familiar.

Second, is “younker” to mean young person really obsolete? Or is it regional? I kind of had the impression it was rural / southern / regional somehow, and perhaps somewhat old-fashioned, but not actually obsolete.

Third . . . I must admit that I am not familiar with any of the other words on that list. I’m not sure I believe in them. Have any of you ever heard any of them used? Were they ever really in common usage? Actually, I don’t like most of them very much and I’m pretty much okay with letting them slip away into the past, if they were ever in general use in the first place.

Except “Cockalorum.” I must admit, I like that one.

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7 Comments What do you think of these 15 obsolete words?

  1. pete mack

    Callipygian is still in use–it is even accepted by my spell-checker.
    Crapulous is too. And it’s a good word.

    Most of the others I can live without. Goldbricking is MUCH better than fudgel.

  2. Craig

    I agree about “slugabed” although, curiously, I don’t recall ever running into “younker”. (For the reader: this is curious because Rachel and I share upbringing.)

    I have seen “callipygian” used, but only in a context meant to be humorously obscure. And maybe by Jack Vance.

    I could support the revival of “cockalorum,” and I like the idea of having a word for “apricity.”

    “Jirble” *looks* so perfectly like a word that should mean “to pour carelessly” that I couldn’t imagine why it ever fell out of use… until I pronounced it and realized it sounds exactly like a pet rodent.

  3. Rachel

    Oh, well, JACK VANCE. He uses ALL the words.

    I laughed when you pointed out that Jirble sounds like gerbil! I didn’t notice when I read it.

    To me, Apricity sounds like it ought to have something to do with bees, even though “Apis” doesn’t have an “r” in it. I like the idea of the word, but I want a different word for it.

  4. Elaine T

    I’ve run across younker, probably in reading, but I can’t remember specifics. Sounds somewhat like Dag-speak from SHARING KNIFE.

    I like apricity and what it describes. and slugabed, The rest i can take or leave.

  5. Rachel

    I also think it was Dag who used the word !”younker”, but I didn’t want to flip through the books looking for it

  6. Hanneke

    Cicisbeo is still in use in some regency romances. I also recognised frigorific (rare), slugabed (ordinary), cockalorom and younker (rare, oldfashioned, dialect), but none of the others. As I’m not a native English speaker but get all my words from books, my vocabulary is likely to be a bit old-fashioned and probably limited.
    I agree with Elaine T, I like the idea of apricity but never saw the word before, and would prefer another word for that concept (to me it looks like April in the city, not something I associate with rare warm sunshine in the winter).

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