“See I’m all about them words/Over numbers, unencumbered numbered words/Hundreds of pages, pages, pages forwards/More words then I had ever heard and I feel so alive…”
I think SavetheWords.org should take these lyrics by Jason Mraz as their motto. (Though these particular words may not be highbrow enough for them.) The organization’s mission: To promote the use of words that would otherwise fall out of active use and be lost from the English language.
Try these near-obsolete words from their site on for size:
- Venustation – Act of causing to become beautiful or handsome. “The venustation of Ugly Betty created much envy among the office staff.”
- Coquinate – To behave as a cook. “When it comes to coquinating in the kitchen without getting any real work done, Brian scored an A.”
- Vinitorian – Of or pertaining to tending vines. “The vinitorian experts were amazed at Jack’s magical beanstalk, which sounds very dirty, but actually isn’t.”
- Telligraph – Charter outlining boundaries of landholdings. “According to this telligraph, there should be a huge, black dotted line right about where we’re standing.”
To promote its mission, the site makes it easy to register and adopt a word or get word-of-the-day e-mails. It also offers suggestions to “spread the word.” If nothing else, it’s fun to check out all the old-fashioned words. I also like the sort-of collage effect they are displayed in.
If it’s new words you’re interested in, World Wide Words keeps track of “international English from a British viewpoint.” The site features musings on new words, word histories, words in the news and so forth. For example, a recent piece examines the use of “mash-up” word “religitation.” It’s a British term referring to — you guessed it — legal action pitting faith-based groups’ views against human rights and other anti-discrimination legislation.
As our technology changes, the language changes. Why not use technology to hold on to some of those words just a little longer?