These unique old-fashioned words are set for a comeback, say experts

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Susan Devaney

If you’re anything like us, you’re more likely to respond in a group chat with a series of emojis than words. After all, with 51 new emojis added to our options this year alone, firing off a string of tiny pictures often seems like the easiest option in most conversations.

But maybe all you need is some new words to lighten things up. Words fall out of fashion all the time, but everything comes back around – which is why experts at the University of York have complied a list of 30 words set for a renaissance.

“As professional linguists and historians of English we were intrigued by the challenge of developing a list of lost words that are still relevant to modern life, and that we could potentially campaign to bring back into modern day language,” Dominic Watt, senior linguistics lecturer at the University of York, told to the Evening Standard

“We've identified lost words that are both interesting and thought-provoking, in the hope of helping people re-engage with language of old.”


Some words may have fallen out of fashion, but as we all know everything comes back around.

By categorising the words into various groups – including ‘post-truth’, ‘appearance’, ‘personality and behaviour’ and ‘emotions’ – the researchers believe they’ll make their way back into our daily conversations soon.

We’re holding out for these 10 words replacing our much-loved emojis any day now:

Betrump - To deceive, cheat, elude, slip from (did anyone else think of a certain president?)

Coney-catch - To swindle, cheat, trick, dupe, deceive

Dowsabel - Applied generically to a sweetheart, 'lady-love'

Ear-rent - The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk

Hugger-mugger - Concealment, secrecy

Percher - A person who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person

Quacksalver - A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine; a pedlar of false cures

Rouzy-bouzy - Boisterously drunk

Wasteheart - Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern

Wlonk - Proud, haughty, rich, splendid, fine, magnificent

It’s long-lost lingo no more. 

Images: iStock


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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