Friday, September 2, 2011

Look it up!

  • In my ramblings through the internet yesterday, I ran across this article on  It seems the Collins Dictionary is declaring some words obsolete and removing them from their smaller print version.  Important point to note:  This is being done for practical, space-related reasons in the small version only - otherwise it would no longer be the small version.  These words will still be contained in the larger print version and on-line.  I know many of you, myself included, are fans and participants of Wonderous Words Wednesday, in which bloggers share new and unusual words they have discovered in their reading, so here are some of the Wonderous Words that are being deleted.  How many do you know?  (Answers are at the end of this post.)

    • aerodrome 
    • alienism 
    • bever 
    • brabble 
    • charabanc 
    • deliciate 
    • frigorific
    • supererogate 
    • younker
    • drysalter

The part of this article I found the most discombobulating (confusing or perplexing) were people's animadversions (unfavorable or censorious remarks).  There were many who actually fuminated (to explode with a loud noise or to issue denunciations) that the writers of a dictionary can peremptorily (imperiously or dictatorially; leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal) change our language.  (All these big words are giving me a cephalalgia - that's a headache.) So, heads up, people!  You are NOT being banned from ever speaking these words.  They just won't be in one small, printed dictionary.  Get a grip!  For what it's worth, spell check did not recognize nine of these eleven words.  I'm just saying.

      To do my part in preserving the English language, I am beginning my own campaign to bring back brabble and frigorific.  Are these not two of the most delightful words you've ever heard?  Brabble describes pretty much every teenage girl ever born (and a frightning number of grown women), and frigorific just makes me smile to say it.  "This chocolate malt is giving me a brain freeze.  It's frigorific!"  :D:

      • Vocabulary Quiz Answers:

      • aerodrome a landing area, esp for private aircraft, that is usually smaller than an airport
      • alienismthe study and treatment of mental illness
      • beverA light repast between meals; a lunch/To take a light repast between meals.
      • brabbleto argue stubbornly about trifles; wrangle./noisy, quarrelsome chatter.
      • charabanc - a large bus used on sightseeing tours.
      • deliciate To delight one's self; to indulge in feasting; to revel.
      • frigorificcausing or producing cold.
      • supererogateto do or perform more than is required
      • younkera youngster/a young noble or gentleman
      • drysalter - a dealer in dry chemicals
      • stauroscope - an optical intrument for studying the crystal sturcture of minerals
      • succedaneum - a substitute
      • woolfell - the skin of a wool-bearing animal withe fleece still on it.

      • Here's my question to you - In large printed volumes or on-line dictionaries where space is not such an issue, should words be declared obsolete and dropped?  Isn't that the point of a dictionary - to store the meaning of unfamiliar words so that they are not forgotten?  


  1. I'm very fond of woolfell and hate to see it go.

  2. Very intereting. I did know charabanc was a tour bus, I could have used that word in my posts from my trip to Europe where I took several!! Have a nice weekend.

  3. Great! Needless to say I knew none of these words, but I will try to remember them. Esp. brabble sounds useful, so does deliciate. I should look through my English dictionary more (the BIG version)!