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Found: 30 Lost English Words That May Deserve a Comeback

A treat for all you snout-fair wordsmiths.

Samuel Johnson, published an English dictionary in 1755.
Samuel Johnson, published an English dictionary in 1755. Joshua Reynolds/Public domain

A team of linguists at the University of York has excavated 30 “lost” words from the English language. These words, they say, have fallen out of use but could be plenty useful again in the world of today. They found them by looking through old books and dictionaries, the BBC reports.

According to the York Press, the words include:

  • Snout-fair: Having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome
  • Betrump: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from
  • Coney-catch: To swindle, cheat; to trick, dupe, deceive
  • Slug-a-bed: One who lies long in bed through laziness
  • Momist: A person who habitually finds fault; a harsh critic
  • Peacockize: To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously
  • Sillytonian: A silly or gullible person, esp. one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people
  • Merry-go-sorry: A mixture of joy and sorrow
  • Teen: To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage / To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm
  • Wasteheart: Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern: “alas!” “woe is me!” Also wasteheart-a-day, wasteheart of me
  • Dowsabel: Applied generically to a sweetheart, “lady-love”
  • Ear-rent: The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk

So perhaps you are feeling like a slug-a-bed this morning. Now you can complain about paying ear-rent to your dowsabel, who, to be honest, has a tendency to peacockize.

This project was sponsored by an insurance company that is now running some sort of contest where people can vote on which of these words should be re-embraced by English speakers. Wasteheart! Does that make you feel betrumped or coney-catched, like a sillytonian? Does it bring a bit of merry-go-sorry to your day? Well, don’t be a momist, or let this teen you. Words don’t belong to anyone. Check out the full list, then get rouzy-bouzy and try a few more.