Language is a living thing. As the world evolves, so do our lexicons. But, with every new word added to our dictionaries, more words, which have lost significance in the modern world, are lost to the sands of time. In this ongoing blog, we’re bringing you 10 more forgotten words we think should be brought back into mainstream language.
Let us know what you think of these words (have you ever used them before?) in the comments below.
- an imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place
Example: I hope my boss never finds out that the Aunt Florence I said I’ve been visiting the last few Fridays is just a bunbury for going to the beach.
This is an fascinating word because it actually derives from Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest when Algernon explains that he invented a fictional friend named Bunbury, which he’d allegedly visit, to escape his social obligations. It’s also a great word because I think we’ve all created a persona (whether real of fictional) at one point or another that we use as an excuse to get out of an obligation, but who knew there was an actual word for it other than excuse?
- to throw (someone) out a window
Example: I was angry and pushed him, but I never meant to defenestrate him!
This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite words because it’s not just a verb to use when throwing something out a window, it’s a verb meant specifically for when throwing someone out a window. I mean, how often does this happen that an entire words needs to be created for it?
- A hodge-podge, or jumbled medley (can also refer to an edible dish)
Example: I can’t believe I had to sit through that entire meeting, it was just a gallimaufry of random thoughts with no direction.
I’ve always liked the term hodge-podge but I’ve also felt it was very pedestrian. Gallimaufry, though? It sounds more refined, more distinguished, and definitely worthy of finding more use in our daily vocabulary.
- A person who takes great joy and comfort in rainy days
Example: I was really looking forward to the park, but Sarah? She’s such a pluviophile that she pulled out board games and had a whole day planned for us to spend inside.
I think it’s fair to say we all have a pluviophile in our lives. If you said “no”, then you’re probably the pluviophile. I mean, who doesn’t love curling up on the couch with a good book on a rainy day? Oh, maybe I’m the pluviophile?
- someone who reads in bed
Example: When I walked into his bedroom and saw the giant stack of books on the end table, I knew right away that he was a librocubularist.
This is me. I read in bed. It’s the best place to read books, I don’t care what you say!
- an all-night feast or ceremony
Example: She took a nap late in the afternoon knowing she’d need the energy if she wanted to stay up for the pannychis.
This word sounds like it would come right of a fantasy novel. Here in the real world, we have all-nighters, but that doesn’t sound nearly as elegant. Then again, I can’t remember the last all-nighter that involved feasting or a ceremony.
- characterized by having a beard.
Example: He was a barbigerous man, whose cheekbones were hidden behind a glorious mane of curled brown hair.
To quote grandpa Chip from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby: “he was a man, he had a beard!”
- to lie awake in the period just before dawn because you’re worrying too much to be able to sleep
Example: No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t shake the uhtceare before my alarm clock blared and I needed to start my day.
Pronounced “oot-care” I think this is one word all of us have experienced at one time or another. It’s an Old English word derived from uht, which means “the hour before sunrise” and ceare, meaning “care or worry”. As we pass further into our adult lives, we suffer anxiety from a growing number of things which may, or may not, wake us and keep us up no matter how tired we are. Welcome to the uhtceare.
- to leisurely watch the passage of boats, from the bank of a canal, lock or bridge.
Example: Every morning he heads down to the pier and gongoozles the fishing boats as they head out to sea.
This is another fine example of a word meaning something we all do but never knew there was a word for it. I mean, there’s just something so calming about watching boats and waterways.
- to gobble greedily; to cram food into one’s gut
Example: After spending weeks foraging for bugs and berries on the deserted island, Isaac guttled the food provided by his rescuers.
This is a great word because it’s so reminiscent of gluttony and sounds like a stronger verb than some others that could mean the same thing.
What did you think of this week’s list? How many of these did you know? Do you have any words we should add to our next list? Let us know in the comments!
Want to see our other lists of obscure words? Check these out: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4