Are You a Spermologer? Find Out With 18 Obsolete Words That Never Should Have Gone Out of StyleS

Just like facts and flies, English words have life-spans. Some are thousands of years old, from before English officially existed, others change, or are replaced or get ditched entirely.

Here are 18 uncommon or obsolete words that we think may have died early. We found them in two places: a book called The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk, and on a blog called Obsolete Word of The Day that's been out of service since 2010. Both are fantastic — you should check them out.

Snoutfair:

A person with a handsome countenance — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Pussyvan:

A flurry, temper — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten

Wonder-Wench:

A sweetheart — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten

Lunting:

Walking while smoking a pipe — John Mactaggart's Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia, 1824

California Widow:

A married woman whose husband is away from her for any extended period — John Farmer's Americanisms Old and New, 1889

Groak:

To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them — Obsolete Word of the Day

Jirble:

To pour out (a liquid) with an unsteady hand: as, he jirbles out a dram — Wordnik

Curglaff:

The shock felt in bathing when one first plunges into the cold water — John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808

Spermologer:

A picker-up of trivia, of current news, a gossip monger, what we would today call a columnist — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten

Tyromancy:

Divining by the coagulation of cheese — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten

Beef-Witted:

Having an inactive brain, thought to be from eating too much beef. — John Phin's Shakespeare Cyclopaedia and Glossary, 1902

Queerplungers:

Cheats who throw themselves into the water in order that they may be taken up by their accomplices, who carry them to one of the houses appointed by the Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons, where they are rewarded by the society with a guinea each, and the supposed drowned person, pretending he was driven to that extremity by great necessity, is also frequently sent away with a contribution in his pocket. — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten

Englishable:

That may be rendered into English. — John Ogilvie's Comprehensive English Dictionary, 1865

Resistentialism:

The seemingly spiteful behavior shown by inanimate objects — Obsolete Word of the Day

Bookwright:

A writer of books; an author; a term of slight contempt — Daniel Lyons's Dictionary of the English Language, 1897

Soda-squirt:

One who works at a soda fountain in New Mexico — Elsie Warnock's Dialect Speech in California and New Mexico, 1919

With squirrel:

Pregnant — Vance Randolph's Down in the Holler: A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech, 1953

Zafty:

A person very easily imposed upon — Maj. B. Lowsley's A Glossary of Berkshire Words and Phrases, 1888


This post originally appeared on Death and Taxes. Republished with permission. Follow Carmel Lobello on Twitter: @carmellobello.