What happens to words that aren’t used any more?
Sadly, these brave soldiers disappear from the dictionary, dropped from the lexicon by heartless editors who frankly seem like the kind of people who would seat elderly folks on ice floes and push them out to sea.
The good news? You, dear reader, have the power to save an archaic or obsolete word from certain oblivion.
“What can I possibly do?” you say. Simple.
The Times Online is running a list of words that are in danger of being dropped from the dictionary (Collins). To save them, all you need do is use them in your copywriting work.
…but Collins has given warning that it is not enough for the words to be used by their champions alone. Endangered words must appear at least six times in Collins’s corpus, a database that records word usage in printed, broadcast and online media.
Compilers will discount any references to words if they appear in articles about the campaign to save them.
Surely, my verbose friends, you can find a place in that landing page for “Apodeictic” – which means “unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration.”
No room for that? Then how about spicing up that corporate Web copy with “nitid” – which means “bright or glistening.” (That’ll drive conversions.)
Embrangle? Compossible? Fubsy?
Stick ‘em in a direct response email – or use them in that epic tweet you haven’t quite gotten right.
Only by acting today can we – as copywriters – turn back this threat to our language.
So look deep into your heart, and see if you have it in you to save some poor word from oblivion today. (If not, then perhaps you too are the kind of person who would shove elderly laden ice floes out to sea.)
Abstergent: Cleansing or scouring
Agrestic: Rural; rustic; unpolished; uncouth
Apodeictic: Unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
Caducity: Perishableness; senility
Caliginosity: Dimness; darkness
Compossible: Possible in coexistence with something else
Embrangle: To confuse or entangle
Exuviate: To shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
Fubsy: Short and stout; squat
Griseous: Streaked or mixed with grey; somewhat grey
Malison: A curse
Mansuetude: Gentleness or mildness
Muliebrity: The condition of being a woman
Nitid: Bright; glistening
Oppugnant: Combative, antagonistic or contrary
Periapt: A charm or amulet
Recrement: Waste matter; refuse; dross
Roborant: Tending to fortify or increase strength
Skirr: A whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight
Vaticinate: To foretell; prophesy
Vilipend: To treat or regard with contempt
Keep writing, Tom Chandler.
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