Language is a dynamic organism with new words being coined on a daily basis and others drifting into obscurity or seeing their meaning changed or altered. It is fascinating to watch and you can tell a lot about a person by listening to the words that they use. What sort of education did they have? In what environment were they raised? Even how old are they or with what type of people do they normally associate? Here’s a quick list of great words that have slowly but surely drifted into obscurity, and which are no longer used with the abandon they enjoyed a decade or more ago. Set yourself the challenge of trying to use them in conversation over the next day or two. 

Pantechnicon 

That big truck that you put all your things into when you move home is not called a moving van, it’s called a pantechnicon. If you were looking for removals Laverton to movers Point Cook for instance, the company that came to take care of the situation would undoubtedly own a fleet of the above vehicles. 

Alack 

Such a shame really that people don’t use this word any more. It sounds very similar to ‘alas’ and has the same meaning, but truth be told, nobody really sues either word anymore. Perhaps it’s time to bring about a revival, or is it a case of alack, it’s too late. 

Corpulent 

Such a descriptive word and a way of suggesting not just that a person is fat or overweight but also that they are a tad arrogant and unpleasant. While a corpulent person might have a similar physique to a chubby person, the latter term is almost endearing, you wouldn’t use the former to describe a person you were fond of. 

Purulent 

Strictly speaking this means something that contains pus or discharge, but it can mean anything wile or stomach turning. It is a word that rolls from the tongue nicely and which expresses revulsion very well. But it has slowly drifted into obscurity, replaced by less creative terms, usually comprised of four letters and usually not used in polite company. Purulent would be a perfectly appropriate word to use in polite company without having to worry. 

Gormless 

A great word that describes a simple or foolish person. Some people might substitute it with the term mouth-breather. Gormless is a peculiar word in that is means a person without ‘gorm’ but curiously there is no such word as ‘gorm’, which kind of makes you think that whoever came up with the word in the first place was making a veiled comment about all of our intelligence. 

Heretofore 

Now days a term that seems to be reserved for legal documents only, this convenient concatenation of words simply means, ‘up until now.’ It definitely has a pompous ring to it and it’s not hard to understand why it has become increasingly uncommon in modern lexicon. 

Verily 

A fine word that means ‘truly’ or ‘certainly’, verily is now a word that even your granddad is unlikely to use. The demise of ‘verily’ is quite possibly linked to the rise of the word ‘very’ which has grown in popularity as an adverb due to its brevity.                   

 

 

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