Academics uncover 30 words ‘lost’ from English language


Jodie Whittacker
Image caption Jodie Whittacker in the BBC series “Trust Me” – the story of a “Quacksalver”

If someone were to accuse you of being “snout-fair” would you be pleased or offended?

What about being described as “dowsabel” or as a “percher”?

These are among 30 lost English words uncovered by experts at the University of York that they believe still have a use today.

Dominic Watt, senior lecturer in Language and Linguistic Science at the university, said he hoped people would re-engage with the language of old.

The researchers have drawn up the list in an effort to persuade people that these defunct words can still have a relevance.

The team spent three months searching through old books and dictionaries to create the list.

  • Nickum A cheating or dishonest person

  • Peacockize To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously

  • Rouzy-bouzy Boisterously drunk

  • Ruff To swagger, bluster, domineer. To ruff it out / to brag or boast of a thing

  • Tremblable Causing dread or horror; dreadful

  • Awhape To amaze, stupefy with fear, confound utterly

Mr Watt wants to bring these words back into modern conversations.

“We’ve identified lost words that are both interesting and thought-provoking, in the hope of helping people re-engage with language of old,” he said.

“Snout-fair”, for example, means “having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome”, while “sillytonian” refers to “a silly or gullible person, esp one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people”.

“Dowsabel” is “applied generically to a sweetheart, ‘lady-love'”.

Margot Leadbetter, the snobby neighbour from 1970s BBC sitcom, The Good Life, could be seen as an arch example of a “percher” – someone “who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person”.

The BBC series Trust Me is the story of a “quacksalver” – a person who “dishonestly claims knowledge of, or skill in, medicine; a pedlar of false cures”.

Image caption Joey Essex: “Snout-fair” to some, to others a “sillytonian”

The list of 30 “lost words” are grouped into three areas the researchers feel are relevant to modern life: post-truth (deception); appearance, personality and behaviour; and emotions.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41266000

The final list also includes the words “ear-rent” – described as “the figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk”, “slug-a-bed” – meaning “a person who lies in late”, and “merry-go-sorry” – a phrase used to describe “a mixture of joy and sorrow”.

In the same category are

Labour members back anti-Semitism action Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Labour leadership waves to delegates at the end of the third day of Labour's conference Labour members ...
Swallowed Playmobil traffic cone ‘in man’s lung for 40 years’ Image copyright BMJ Image caption The patient reported he regularly played with and even swallowed the toy pieces during his childhood Doctors rem...
Parsons Green bombing: Three men released without charge Image copyright Reuters Three men who were arrested over the Parsons Green Tube attack have been released with no further action, the Metropolitan P...
Parsons Green bombing: Three men released without charge Image copyright Reuters Three men who were arrested over the Parsons Green Tube attack have been released with no further action, the Metropolitan P...
Varadkar aims for summer abortion referendum Image copyright Reuters Image caption Recent years have seen demonstrations both for and against repealing the Eighth Amendment The Irish governme...
Varadkar aims for summer abortion referendum Image copyright Reuters Image caption Recent years have seen demonstrations both for and against repealing the Eighth Amendment The Irish governme...

Dont forget to “Like” us on Facebook


Need something to share, visit our sister site for the

‘News in the last 30 days”

in a clear concise package ….

 

If you are an artist or interested in art, visit our art website and read about todays artscene and browse some of our artist profiles

 

Comment on this story