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January 29, 2009 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Save the Words. Do lost words still have meaning? Just because society has neglected them doesn't make them any less of a word. How do you get lost words back in the dictionary? With lexicographers scanning publications and other communication for words not currently housed in the dictionary, all you need do is use your adopted words as often as possible. Go, Adopt a Word. Like graocracy.* * - government by an old woman or women.

My adoptee: hymnicide: killing of hymns through alterations.
posted by Tufa (37 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
aporrhoea [n. 1646 -1880] a bodily emanation; an effluvium

"Who cut the aporrhoea?"
posted by Joe Beese at 9:49 PM on January 29, 2009


It's Friday afternoon so I'm capernoited and don't want to be too inaniloquent, and in any event have come ecdysiophilia to partake of, but I promise to revisit this in due course.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:55 PM on January 29, 2009


Primifluous: that which flows first

It could be used for descriptions of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but god help me, I can't think of any other possible context...

Nope, none at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:56 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


This post goes further than was really necessary.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Evidently I can't adopt widdershins as it's not on their list.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2009


supererogatory
posted by batmonkey at 10:03 PM on January 29, 2009


Maybe some words were just meant to become extinct? It's a jungle out there, and I guess there were good reasons 'veteratorian' lost out to 'subtle'.

This programme is like the heck cattle of lexicography. It just ain't scelidate.
posted by Sova at 10:27 PM on January 29, 2009


"Like graocracy.* * - government by an old woman or women. "

Make that Grace-ocracy and I'll take it
posted by Cranberry at 10:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I can't open this page in my text-only web browser. They're failing to do what they ask of us.

I went through a period of actively hunting down neat words and finding ways to work them in. Then I realized that most of the time (exceptions include this entire thread, among others) it's pretentious and a little bit wasteful. Words are important enough that you shouldn't try to force them, they should come out naturally. Build the idea, then find the word.

Also: The Infinite Jest glossary
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


So was it your goal to post to askme, metatalk, and metafilter all in one day?

Is your goal to find fault with the most people you possibly can, and for the most ridiculous reasons? Give it a rest, dude.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:37 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


nubivagant describes me quite a lot of the time, so I was happy to do my part for the cause.
posted by rubah at 10:42 PM on January 29, 2009


I fall on the side that if you use an obscure word where a simpler word or phrase would do (at least absent stylish use of such, as DFW), then you bear responsibility for the failure of the communication.
posted by troybob at 10:56 PM on January 29, 2009


I wanted to pick fallaciloquence, but it wouldn't show me what it meant. I looked it up on the online OED though.

[ad. L. fallaciloquentia, f. fallaci- (see prec.) + loquentia talking: see -ENCE.]
Deceitful speech
posted by jock@law at 11:08 PM on January 29, 2009


Traboccant is mine, now. Appropriate in so many ways. Related.
posted by batmonkey at 11:17 PM on January 29, 2009


is our vocabularies growings?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:30 PM on January 29, 2009


Oh great, now we're having a word bail-out. They had their chance!
posted by Nattie at 11:46 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hm. A lot of these words don't need to be preserved in that they are closely tied to a working knowledge of the classics. Many of these words will be intuitive only for people who know Greek and Latin, and it would be natural for someone who is fluent in those languages to reinvent such words on the fly if the word had been forgotten. Restore knowledge of the dead languages and you get competence in these words for free. Without the languages, many of these words are neither natural to say nor easy to understand.

------

Since we're talking about what we lose when words fall out of the dictionary, we can't do without mentioning Orwell's Politics and the English Language
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:31 AM on January 30, 2009


Most of these words may seem extinct, lost, or weird to you, but they are still being used in the languages where they originate. Graocracy, for example, is a Greek word (graiokratia) that is still being used. Though you would still need to be a more or less educated Greek to use it properly. The same goes for a lot of other "weird" words non Greek people use. As for Latin, quite a few of of its word are derived from the Greek also.

Nothing beats studying the classics if you are in love with language.
posted by acrobat at 3:45 AM on January 30, 2009


...of its words are...
posted by acrobat at 3:47 AM on January 30, 2009


Acrobat, I've seen gerontocracy and gerontocratic used in political science in English. Just sayin'.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:01 AM on January 30, 2009


Quite right, fdg. In Greek it would be "gerontokratia" and it means governed by people close to death :)
posted by acrobat at 4:19 AM on January 30, 2009


Dictionary Blue: expect a news release on some new OED-related product from Oxford RSN.
posted by scruss at 4:47 AM on January 30, 2009


I'll bet if I fed this site into a randomizer a Gene Wolfe novel would fall out.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:34 AM on January 30, 2009


supererogatory. I see what you did there.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 6:24 AM on January 30, 2009


I'm currently doing my part to see to it that catarrh, ague and quincunx stay with us a little longer.

"Although they suffered from a great ague, the survivors were able to arrange the five dead of the catarrh into a pleasing quincunx."
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:36 AM on January 30, 2009


An eximious and copacetic post! (I could do without the squeaks of "Pick me," but one can always turn down the sound.)
posted by languagehat at 7:10 AM on January 30, 2009


My candidate for most unnecessary word: "Dodrantal, consisting of nine inches."
posted by languagehat at 7:11 AM on January 30, 2009


My candidate for most unnecessary word: "Dodrantal, consisting of nine inches."

Sure, if you're white.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:47 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I prefer 'niner.' It's understated and humble.

"Hey, would you like to see my dodrantal?!"

"What's a dodrantal?"

"Well, let me..."
posted by iamkimiam at 7:55 AM on January 30, 2009


Is there a link to the non-flash part of the site? There doesn't seem to be a way to skip it and it's taking forever to load.
posted by Eideteker at 8:06 AM on January 30, 2009


Lambition. Meaning, apparently, "licking up with the tongue." Huh.

Well, it's my word now and I'll hear nothing said ill about him. Her. It. The word.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:28 AM on January 30, 2009


love.
posted by millipede at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2009


Graocracy, for example, is a Greek word (graiokratia) that is still being used. Though you would still need to be a more or less educated Greek to use it properly.

The thing is there aren't many occasions to use the word. You can infer its meaning etymologically, but I doubt I've ever seen it used. Gerontocracy on the other hand...
posted by ersatz at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2009


Torschlusspanik

literally "Shut gate panic", it's the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, now it's time for me to unpack my old canard "busculation" which I've found in exactly one (1) short story by Michael Chabon, and absolutely nowhere else. Did he make it up? If so, is it really a word?
posted by newdaddy at 5:57 PM on January 30, 2009


"Lambition. Meaning, apparently, "licking up with the tongue." Huh.

Well, it's my word now and I'll hear nothing said ill about him. Her. It. The word."

I going to name a cat that someday.
posted by jellywerker at 6:05 PM on January 30, 2009


Well, now it's time for me to unpack my old canard "busculation" which I've found in exactly one (1) short story by Michael Chabon, and absolutely nowhere else. Did he make it up? If so, is it really a word?

He appears to be the first to use it, but I suspect he created it on the model of the French bousculer 'jostle, bump against' (which has a rare nominal form bousculation), if that fits with the way he uses it. (Google Books won't let me see the context.)

Also, I'm not sure you're using canard correctly.
posted by languagehat at 8:11 AM on January 31, 2009


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