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Reading the OED: 50 lost words from the OED

50 lost words from the OED

“Ammon Shea loves dictionaries – especially the OED. He loves the OED so much, he read it – the whole thing, in its second edition: 21,730 pages with around 59 million words. It took him a year, full-time, and he wrote a book about it, titled Reading the OED (2008).”

“acnestis (n.): on an animal, the point of the back that lies between the shoulders and the lower back, which cannot be reached to be scratched

advesperate (v.): to approach evening

aerumnous (adj.): full of trouble [‘practically begging to be reintroduced to our vocabulary’, Shea notes]

backfriend (n.): a fake friend; a secret enemy

benedicence (n.): benevolence in speech

cellarhood (n.): the state of being a cellar (cf. tableity)

cimicine (adj.): smelling like bugs

constult (v.): to act stupidly together

dactylodeiktous (adj.) pointed at with a finger

discountenancer (n.): one who discourages with cold looks

elozable (adj.): readily influenced by flattery

epizeuxis (n.): the repetition of a word with vehemence and emphasis

fard (v.): to paint the face with cosmetics, so as to hide blemishes [‘I suspect there is a reason no one ever gets up from the table and says, “Excuse me while I go to the ladies’ room and fard.”’]

felicificability (n.): capacity for happiness

gound (n.): the gunk that collects in the corners of the eyes [‘the type of word I was unaware that I didn’t know, and yet it still felt like a relief when I discovered it’]

grinagog (n.): a person who is constantly grinning

hamartia (n.): the flaw that precipitates the destruction of a tragic hero

happify (v.): to make happy [this one gives me a happy, as they said in Buffy]

heterophemize (v.): to say something different from what you mean to say

impluvious (adj.): ‘wet with rain’ (Thomas Blount, Glossographia, 1656)

insordescent (adj.): growing in filthiness

jentacular (adj.): of or pertaining to breakfast

kankedort (n.): an awkward situation or affair

latibulate (v.): to hide oneself in a corner

letabund (adj.): filled with joy

malesuete (adj.): accustomed to poor habits

misdelight (n.): pleasure in something wrong

nefandous (adj.): too odious to be spoken of

neighbourize (v.): to be or act neighbourly

obganiate (v.): to annoy by repeating over and over and over and over

occasionet (n.): a minor occasion

petecure (n.): modest cooking; cooking on a small scale [‘Very few people eat in an epicurean fashion, yet many of them know what the word epicure means. A great many people eat in a simple fashion, and yet no one knows the word for this.’]

postvide (v.): to make plans for an event only after it has occurred [the antonym of provide, which originally meant ‘exercise foresight; make provision for the future’, per OED]

psithurism (n.): the whispering of leaves moved by the wind

quag (v.): to shake (said of something that is soft or flabby)

remord (n.): a touch of remorse; (v.) to remember with regret [‘when utilized as a verb, remord seems as though it can instantly render poetic any decision made in the past and subsequently regretted’]

residentarian (n.): a person who is given to remaining at table

scringe (v.): to shrug the back or shoulders from cold

scrouge (v.): to inconvenience or discomfort a person by pressing against him or her or by standing too close

subtrist (adj.): slightly sad

sympatetic (n.): a companion one walks with [‘Discoveries like this one are what make reading the OED from cover to cover worthwhile.’]

tacenda (n.): things not to be mentioned; matters that are passed over in silence

unbepissed (adj.): not having been urinated on [‘Is it possible that at some time there was such a profusion of things that had been urinated on that there was a pressing need to distinguish those that had not?’]

undisonant (adj.): making the sound of waves

vicambulist (n.): one who walks about in the streets

vulpeculated (pa. pple.): robbed by a fox

well-woulder (n.): a conditional well-wisher

xenium (n.): a gift given to a guest

yesterneve (n.): yesterday evening

zyxt (v.): to see [‘It is the second-person singular indicative present form of the verb “to see” in the Kentish dialect and has obviously not been in common use for some time.’]”


Posted on: May 3, 2019, 6:16 am Category: Uncategorized

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