10 English words we don’t use anymore, but should

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).

 Make petty objections
“They cavilled over the menu selection”

Given to indulging in alcohol; resulting from drunkenness

A gewgaw or trifle; a trivial display
“There was a lot of falderol over the sporting event”

Make or cause to make a crunching or grinding sound
“The train graunched against the steel tracks”

A person embodying conventional propriety and prudery

Clothing suited to a particular purpose

(Of decorations, literary style etc…) showily but falsely attractive
“We received meretricious gifts from his trip”

Lacking courage; timid 

The first Sunday in Lent

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.

Google Ngram chart

Click to enlarge


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.

Oxford Australian DictionaryAll definitions are taken from the Australian Oxford Dictionary


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