SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: From cutpurse to fizgig, or an entertaining list of archaic words.


A word that only recently came into existence is new, but so is a word with which you were previously unfamiliar.

For instance, archaic words. Once they were known, but their groove was lost.

I love lists like this. So many wonderful potential names for a Northeastern IPA are herein.

These words are no longer in everyday use or have lost a particular meaning in current usage but are sometimes used to impart an old-fashioned flavour to historical novels, for example, or in standard conversation or writing just for a humorous effect. Some, such as bedlam, reveal the origin of their current meaning, while others reveal the origin of a different modern word, as with gentle, the sense of which is preserved in gentleman. Some, such as learn and let, now mean the opposite of their former use.

Following are 12 archaic words, with dozens and dozens more at the web site. Lovers of vintage literature probably will recognize more than a few.

bibliopole … a dealer in books

caducity … the infirmity of old age; senility

cicisbeo … a married woman’s male companion or lover

dandiprat … a young or insignificant person

embouchure … the mouth of a river

gudgeon … a credulous person

jakes … an outdoor toilet

kickshaw … a fancy but insubstantial cooked dish

peregrinate … travel or wander from place to place

quidnunc … an inquisitive, gossipy person

scaramouch … a boastful but cowardly person

yclept … by the name of