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Website Dusts Off Unpopular Words

2/5/2009 5:32:16 PM

Tags: Great Writing, literary news, dictionary, Save the Words, OED

dictionary pageWhen’s the last time you used the word adimpleate? Or obstrigillate? How about kexy? They’ve never exited my mouth, and I’m fairly certain I’ve never heard them uttered, either. Apparently, this neglect leaves them vulnerable: Every year, dictionaries drop words that have fallen into disuse. The website Save the Words works to save them from such a fate.

You can begin by browsing their store of endangered terms. For the truly committed, there are word-a-day emails and the option to adopt favorites—I’ve chosen vicambulate (to walk about in the streets), for instance. If your adopted word doesn’t roll off the tongue, Save the Words offers advice on getting them back into circulation, including:

Tattoos: I Love Mum. Done. Anchor. Done. Celtic Symbols. Done....Tremefy? Never done!

And:

Signboard: How about spending your lunch hour spreading the good word? That soggy salad and stale sandwich can wait while you educate the community on such insightful words as ‘scaevity’, ‘prescited’, ‘ulvose’, ‘ergote’.

Dictionaries say they trash old words to clear space for more relevant ones. Take a look at the OED’s list of their newest additions, which includes terms—like frenemy and MILF—that make me even more excited to fight for vicambulate

Image by Adam Smith, licensed under Creative Commmons.



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