The English language is constantly on the move; always adapting and ever-changing, morphing and creating new meanings. “Selfie-stick” and “yolo” are some of the latest new additions to our everyday language, but today we wanted to remind you of ten words that probably don’t make it into your everyday vernacular (but we think they should).
Cavil ▶ verb
Make petty objections
“They cavilled over the menu selection”
Crapulent ▶ adjective
Given to indulging in alcohol; resulting from drunkenness
Falderol ▶ noun
A gewgaw or trifle; a trivial display
“There was a lot of falderol over the sporting event”
Graunch ▶ verb
Make or cause to make a crunching or grinding sound
“The train graunched against the steel tracks”
Grundy ▶ verb
A person embodying conventional propriety and prudery
Habiliment ▶ noun
Clothing suited to a particular purpose
Meretricious ▶ adjective
(Of decorations, literary style etc…) showily but falsely attractive
“We received meretricious gifts from his trip”
Pusillanimous ▶ adjective
Lacking courage; timid
Quadragesima ▶ noun
The first Sunday in Lent
Zounds ▶ exclamation
Expressing surprise or indignation
For extra fun, we’ve also graphed the use of these words in print over time (1800s – 2000s), using Google’s Ngram Viewer.
While these results aren’t exactly surprising, there’s definitely room for improvement. Zounds! Let’s use these words more often!
What words do you think should be incorporated more into colloquial speech? Don’t be pusillanimous and let us know what you think.
All definitions are taken from the Australian Oxford Dictionary