ozarque (ozarque) wrote,

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Linguistics; a sampler of obsolete English words

All these obsolete English words are from a book I treasure -- Lost Beauties of the English Language, by Charles Mackay, published by Bibliophile Books (London) in 1987. This is just an LJ-post-sized sampler of the words I wish we hadn't given up, and choosing wasn't easy... I recommend the book wholeheartedly. The ISBN number is 0-900123-40-0.

Burdalane ... the last child surviving in a family
Cark ... to be fretfully anxious
Clyte ... An orator who -- for want of a word or an idea -- suddenly stops in his speech and sits down, has clyted.
Crine ... to shrink, or become smaller from drying up (the diminutive is "crinkle")
Cumberground ... something that's totally worthless and in the way
Darg ... a day's work
Drumble ... Someone who does a thing in a way that makes it clear that he or she has no idea how to do it is drumbling.
Dwine ... to pine away or waste away, slowly (the diminutive is "dwindle")
Earth-fast ... "firm in the earth and difficult to be moved"
Elden ... to grow old
Eldfather ... grandfather, ancestor
Eldmother ... grandmother, ancestor
Embranglement ... perplexity
Evenhood ... equality
Felth ... the power of feeling in the fingers
Forswunk ... completely worn out with work
Girn ... to laugh with anger (instead of with merriment)
Gowl ... to weep with anger (instead of with sorrow)
Hardel ... the back of the hand (the other side of the palm)
Lanken ... to grow thin and lean
Malison ... a curse (opposite of "benison," a blessing)
Moffle ... to do something badly and with no idea how it ought to be done
Quaddy ... short and thick
Queachy ... shaking, quivering
Rindle ... to sparkle like running water
Shinicle .. a fire or other light seen from a distance
Sleepaway ... to die peacefully and gradually without being sick and without suffering
Sloom -- to sleep soundly and heavily (distinguished from "slumber," which Mackay says is to sleep lightly)
Smeke -- to flatter somebody to their face and overdo it
Spuddle -- to go about something trivial with a lot of fuss, as if it were tremendously important
Wedfellow -- spouse, of either gender
Whingle -- to complain
Wofare -- sorrow (the opposite of "welfare")
Wrine -- a deep line in the face (the diminutive is "wrinkle")

And all the old "-some" adjectives, like...
Bendsome -- pliable, yielding
Fluttersome -- quick, agile, restless
Foulsome -- foul, disgusting
Hindersome -- holding things back, in the way, delaying
Janglesome -- quarrelsome
Longsome -- tedious
Lugsome -- difficult to move along, heavy
Sweltersome -- hot and sultry and close, of weather
Tanglesome -- unreasonable in arguments
Ugsome -- ugly
Wantsome -- deficient, lacking

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