Favorite Forgotten Words

Last year my mother gave me a desk calendar that had an obsolete English word for each day. It was geeky-cool to be greeted with an example of “Forgotten English” each day at work.

Some of the words are just too fun not to be shared. Others are so useful that I think they should be re-adopted into the English language.

Here are my favorite forgotten words of 2006:

  1. purfled: short-winded, especially in consequence of being too lusty (1808)
  2. squizzle: to let squizzle, to fire a gun (1956)
  3. chaddy: full of chads. The bread is chaddy [if] it has been made of meal not properly sifted to get out the husks, fragments of straw, or gritty particles of the mill-stone. (1830)
  4. tooth-saw: a fine frame-saw for sawing off portions of the teeth; used by dentists. (1874-77)
  5. lunting: walking and smoking a pipe (1824)
  6. curglaff: the shock felt in bathing when one first plunges into the cold water (1808)
  7. scurryfunge: a hasty tidying of the house between the time you see a neighbor and the time she knocks on the door (1882)
  8. flippercanorious: elegant (1934)
  9. irrisory: addicted to laughing or sneezing (1897)
  10. jirging: the noise too dry shoes make when walked with (1824)

My favorite is scurryfunge. What’s yours?

Note: All of the calendar pages © Jeffrey Kacirk. You can buy his book, Forgotten English, at amazon.com.

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15 Responses to Favorite Forgotten Words

  1. Drew MacDougall says:

    I agree about the scurryfunge. We do a variation on that with visits from friends who will drop by unannounced. For me, the scurryfunge begins the moment I see the car appear on our driveway. SCURRYFUNGE RULES!

  2. camille says:

    “Scurryfunge” with its impressive pedigree has just replaced my usual term: “Wooshbasket”.

  3. Diane says:

    Oh, there’s lots of treasures there. I like flippercanorious because it sounds really, really silly. But elegant, of course. Also high on my list is squizzle — it reminds me of the image from the 60’s of protesters putting flowers in the police officers’ guns. How dangerous can a squizzling weapon be?
    Thanks for not really giving up posting, Karl. That would be too bitter a pill to swallow. Now off I go jirging through the house.

  4. Michael Van Houten says:

    These all seem like words that show up in some of the email spam I get. Forgotten? I think not!

  5. Debbi says:

    I like scurryfunge too. It sounds so much nicer than what I am thinking to myself as I am surryfunging around the house! It’s nice to know that even in 1882 there were people like me!

  6. Aunt Ginny says:

    I am currently too ‘flippercanoriously purfled’ to comment.

  7. Tracy says:

    Hey Karl.
    I like this list, but are you too busy lunting to post your favorite music of ’06? I was looking forward to seeing your opinion!

  8. Bri says:

    The little story about The Queen and her Court Jester had me a bit lost until I looked at the picture. HILARIOUS!!

  9. marc says:

    As a pipesmoker who likes to take walks, I was thrilled to find “lunting” a few years back. Say it all the time

  10. Aaron Clift says:

    My favourite word you do not have up there, it is Calipigean : To have/pertained a firm well developed buttocks.
    This is not the exact meaning, but it is basically saying they have a nice ass. It is a classic word that has been forgotten

  11. Kevin says:

    Flippercanorious is too hard to remember.
    Macaroni works for me!

  12. Bernard Weisberger says:

    My choice is flippercanorious, but although it dates from a time when I was old enough to have heard it, I never did. Should I be skeptical?

  13. Sebastian Simon says:

    Spelling error: I think “plugnes” should be “plunges”.

  14. Peri says:

    Flippercanorious. I have been searching for the word Johnny Depp uses in the third Pirates of The Caribbean movie regarding cuttlefish. I finally found it on your site. Thanks for posting it!

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