Don’t be a losenger — delight yourself with this wlonk list of English words which have almost betrumped history.

Image credits: firepile / Flickr.

English can be a wonderful language, but it can also get quite weird at times. The language is also actively evolving, with new words constantly entering the dictionaries, while some older words are slowly phased out. Now, researchers from York University have spent three months looking for older English words that have left the common usage but are just funky enough to reenter language.

If you’ve ever spent your entire weekend in bed, there’s a word for that: slug-a-bed. A nickum is a cheating person, while something that causes angst and horror is tremblable. These unusual words may still be used by eccentrics, but linguists hope they could bring them back in the spotlight.

Dr Dominic Watt and his research team say that the words are still relevant now (slug-a-bed is seriously relevant), and they expressed their belief that modern society can re-engage with these words.

“As professional linguists and historians of English we were intrigued by the challenge of developing a list of lost words that are still relevant to modern life, and that we could potentially campaign to bring back into modern day language,” said dr. Watt.

“To allow people to really imagine introducing these words back into their everyday lives, we’ve chosen words that fit within themes still relevant to the average person. Within these themes, we’ve identified lost words that are both interesting and thought-provoking, in the hope of helping people re-engage with language of old.”

A special mention goes out to betrumped — there’s something funny in the president of the USA having a name that basically meant “deceiver” or “cheater.”

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The list of 30 “Lost Words” is delightful to read and engaging. If you’ve made it this far, let’s make a pledge. Let’s choose one word, your very favorite from the list, and start using it.  The more the merrier, but let’s all pick at least one. Mine’s slug-a-bed. Which one is yours?

The full list is:

Ambodexter, n: One who takes bribes from both sides

Betrump, v: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from

Coneycatch b, v: To swindle, cheat; to trick, dupe, deceive

Huggermugger, n., adj., and adv: Concealment, secrecy; esp. in phr. in hugger-mugger: in secret, secretly, clandestinely. Formerly in ordinary literary use, now archaic or vulgar

Nickum, n.: A cheating or dishonest person

Quacksalver, n: A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine; a pedlar of false cures

Rouker, n.: A person who whispers or murmurs; one who spreads tales or rumours

Man-millinery, adj: Suggestive of male vanity or pomposity

Parget, v: To daub or plaster (the face or body) with powder or paint; to cover with cosmetic

Snout-fair, adj.: Having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome

Slug-a-bed, n: One who lies long in bed through laziness

Losenger, n.: A false flatterer, a lying rascal, a deceiver

Momist, n: A person who habitually finds fault; a harsh critic

Peacockize, v.: To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously

Percher, n.: A person who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person

Rouzy-bouzy, adj.: Boisterously drunk

Ruff, v: To swagger, bluster, domineer. To ruff it out / to brag or boast of a thing

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Sillytonian, n.: A silly or gullible person, esp. one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people

Wlonk, adj + n (also ‘wlonkness’) Proud, haughty /  Rich, splendid, fine, magnificent: in later use esp. as a conventional epithet in alliterative verse (N.  A fair or beautiful one)

Fumish, adj: Inclined to fume, hot-tempered, irascible, passionate; also, characterized by or exhibiting anger or irascibility

Awhape, v. To amaze, stupefy with fear, confound utterly

Hugge, v. To shudder, shrink, shiver, or shake with fear or with cold

Merry-go-sorry, n. A mixture of joy and sorrow

Stomaching, adj.: Full of malignity; given to cherish anger or resentment

Swerk, v. To be or become dark; in Old English often, to become gloomy, troubled, or sad

Teen, v To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage / To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm

Tremblable, adj. Causing dread or horror; dreadful

Wasteheart, int. Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern: ‘alas!’ ‘woe is me!’ Also wasteheart-a-day, wasteheart of me

Dowsabel, n. Applied generically to a sweetheart, ‘lady-love’

Ear-rent, n. The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk

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