Experts compile list of out-of-use English words as they aim to bring them back

Have you been betrumped by a losenger? Perhaps you’ve been left fumish by a rouzy-bouzy nickum.

Or maybe you feel wlonk because of your snout-fair dowsabel?

Either way, it probably looks like gibberish – for all of these are English words which would once have been familiar but have long slipped out of use.

To ‘betrump’ has nothing to do with the current occupant of the White House but instead means to deceive or cheat, while ‘losenger’ does not mean seller of cough sweets but false flatterer or lying rascal.

Meanwhile ‘fumish’ means hot-tempered, ‘rouzy-bouzy’ is a colourful term for being boisterously drunk, and a ‘nickum’ is a cheat.

The unlikely-looking ‘wlonk’ comes from Middle English and could mean proud, with ‘snout-fair’ meant comely or handsome and a ‘dowsabel’ was a sweetheart.

Lost words of the English language

Ambodexter, n – One who takes bribes from both sides

Betrump, v – To deceive, cheat; to elude

Coney-catch, v – To swindle, cheat, deceive

Hugger-mugger, n, adj, and adv – Concealment, secrecy; clandestinely

Nickum, n – A cheating or dishonest person

Quacksalver, n – A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of medicine

Rouker, n – A person who whispers or spreads rumours

Man-millinery, adj – Suggestive of male vanity or pomposity

Parget, v – To daub the face or body with powder or paint

Snout-fair, adj – fair-faced, comely, handsome

Slug-a-bed, n – One who lies long in bed through laziness

Losenger, n – A false flatterer, a lying rascal, a deceiver

Momist, n – A person who habitually finds fault; a harsh critic

Peacockize, v – to pose or strut ostentatiously

Percher, n – an ambitious or self-assertive person

Rouzy-bouzy, adj – Boisterously drunk

Ruff, v – To swagger, bluster, domineer.

Sillytonian, n – A silly or gullible person

Wlonk, adj + n – Proud, haughty; splendid

Fumish, adj – hot-tempered, irascible, passionate

Awhape, v – To amaze, stupefy with fear

Hugge, v – To shake with fear or with cold

Merry-go-sorry, n – A mixture of joy and sorrow

Stomaching, adj – given to cherish anger or resentment

Swerk, v – To become dark or gloomy

Teen, v – To vex, irritate, annoy, anger

Tremblable, adj – Causing dread or horror

Wasteheart, int – used to express grief, pity, regret

Dowsabel, n – sweetheart, ‘lady-love’

Ear-rent, n – figurative cost of listening to trivial talk

Unfamiliar they may be now – but at least one could be returning to modern use as part of a campaign to highlight how long-lost words are still relevant today.

They are among 30 often curious-sounding terms selected by language experts at the University of York as being ripe for revival.

Working with insurer Privilege, Dominic Watt and his research team spent three months scouring historic texts and etymological dictionaries to create the list.

They are grouped into themes which Dr Watt believes to be highly relevant to modern life: post-truth (deception), appearance, personality and behaviour, and emotions.

Read more here.

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