Out With the Old, In With the New

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We always hear about new words being added to the dictionary—things like acronyms are being rewarded with official word legitimacy. So, we’ve learned that the dictionary can stay modern, but what about those antiquated words that have been lost from the English vernacular? The Oxford Concise Dictionary has dropped around 200 words to make room for 400 new ones (though they remain in the Oxford Dictionary of English).

“The Concise has also set aside “threequel,” meaning the third book in a series; it never caught on, perhaps because trilogies are out of fashion. The Concise has likewise abandoned “brabble,” which means a paltry but noisy quarrel, and “growlery,” meaning the private den of a man. I knew none of these words in their prime and now must recognize that they are on their way out. It leaves an odd feeling, a cousin to the nebulous melancholy that accompanies the reading of an obituary of someone you would like to have known.”

(via arts&lettersdaily)


Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →