Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

From flapdoodle to rapscallion, ten lost words of the English language that are long overdue a revival

507397631.jpg

In our race to assimilate modern slang - adorbs, hot mess and side boob were all recent additions to Oxford Dictionaries - it's easy to forget the rich tapestry of words that already exists at our fingertips. 

In recognition of this, the folks over at Word Warriors have come up with a list of long-neglected terms that they want to bring back into everyday conversation and prose.

Their wonderfully eloquent recommendations are created from tips from inside the group, as well as suggestions from devoted logophiles (word lovers) from all over the world. 

Now in its seventh year, this year's repertoire of forgotten words "worthy of retrieval from the linguistic closet" include some we know - think melange or philistine - and some we really don't.

But it has provided us with a veritable Aladdin's Cave of phrases to draw upon, as we chat flapdoodle or caterwaul in despair while obambulating around our offices every day.

"The English language has more words in its lexicon than any other," says Jerry Herron, a member of the Word Warriors' editorial board. "By making use of the repertoire available to us, we expand our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more interesting place. Bringing these words back into everyday conversation is just another way of broadening our horizons."

Scroll down to see their compilation of long-lost words and add in your own suggestions in the comments section, below. 

Life is just better with a good ol' caterwaul

Life is just better with a good ol' caterwaul

1. Caterwaul

A shrill howling or wailing noise

2. Concinnity

The skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something

3. Flapdoodle

Nonsense

4. Knavery

A roguish or mischievous act

5. Melange

A mixture of different things

There's no denying it, this dog is a bit of a rapscallion

This pup has committed knavery on the sofa. What a rapscallion!

6. Obambulate

To walk about

7. Opsimath

A person who begins to learn or study only late in life

8. Philistine

A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them

9. Rapscallion

A mischievous person

10. Subtopia

Monotonous urban sprawl of standardized buildings

Photos: Rex Features

Related

rexfeatures_1640614a.jpg

How to fall in love with anyone in 36 questions

Friends.jpg

New graphic poster catalogues every single Friends episode

509140721.jpg

What does your chosen London borough say about you?

Comments

More

Italy to become first European country to offer paid menstrual leave

Women could get three days off every month

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Mar 2017

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

“When are you going to get hitched?” How to tackle intrusive questions

Useful responses for the most annoying of questions

27 Mar 2017

Oh, happy day: a live Sister Act show is coming to London

Featuring a 35-piece gospel choir and full band

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Westworld creators answer one of the big questions about Maeve

And star Thandie Newton addresses the show’s violence toward women

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Women link hands on Westminster Bridge to honour victims

Many wore blue as a symbol of hope and peace

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

New report: endometriosis symptoms often “dismissed” by doctors

42% of women said they were “not treated with dignity and respect” by doctors

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Airline defends decision to ban girls from flight for wearing leggings

The incident was “sexist and sexualised young girls”, according to an observer.

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Deliveroo is giving away free ice cream to make your Monday better

That's your lunch break sorted.

by Hayley Spencer
27 Mar 2017

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017