Saturday, September 30, 2017

Deslided: 10 Almost-Extinct Words You Should Start Using Right Away

Deslided: 10 Almost-Extinct Words You Should Start Using Right Away

"Skedaddle" is one I still hear in use, and even use myself.

"Agrestic" and "skirr" are two I sometimes see in writing.

Two of the others I could have figured out from their roots.

But the other five are awesome. "Snollyguster"?

I will add to the list: "cockshut." No, it's not what you think. It just means "dusk." Cock's crow and cockshut used to be bookends for dawn and dusk, but the latter just disappeared. The word was used by Thomas Kyd, a contemporary of Shakespeare, in his play "Arden of Feversham."

Although now largely forgotten, Kyd was considered an important literary figure in his day. He may or may not have written a play about Hamlet that pre-dated Shakespeare's version, and is probably the author of "King Leir and his Three Daughters," which also pre-dated Shakespeare's version.

Leir vs. Lear? You poor spellers may take heart from the fact that English had no official spelling in Shakespeare's time. You could not make a spelling error if you were literate enough to create a recognizable form, so national spelling bees presumably ended in a chaotic million-way tie. We now have six different examples of Shakespeare's hand-written signature. Only two of them have the same spelling for his last name, and neither of those, nor for that matter any of the others, is spelled as we spell it today!

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