useful obsolete words
Posted: 12 June 2010 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve just discovered the obsolete verb “maudle”, from OED’s sense 2 of the adjective “maudlin”:

2. Having reached the stage of drunkenness characterized by tearful sentimentality and effusive displays of affection; characteristic of (the behaviour of) someone who has reached this stage.

As far as I know there’s no word with exactly the same meaning (if there is, don’t bother - I like the word anyway) but it made me wonder what other obsolete words are worthy of revival. Suggestions?

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Posted: 12 June 2010 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Which reminds me of an erroneous, but persuasive etymology I was taught at school, that “Magdalene” came from the German for “little maid”, “magdlein”.

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Posted: 12 June 2010 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Lovely idea for a thread, eliza. I often come across obsolete words which captivate me by their sense or sound or both. Bearing in mind the criterion of usefulness I offer the following from OED:

twiffler, n.

Now Hist.

[ad. Du. twijfelaar something intermediate between two types (also as below), f. twijfelen be unsure, vacillate.]

A plate or shallow dish intermediate in size between a dessert plate and a dinner plate.

No sign of a verb to twiffle as in the Dutch ‘to be unsure, to vacillate’ (still current, Dutchtoo?) but we should repair that omission by introducing it, thus at one stroke resurrecting one useful word and backforming another.

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Posted: 12 June 2010 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Afrikaans “twyfel” - doubt.

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Posted: 13 June 2010 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ll suggest wapman to refer to a specifically male human being.  It would free up man to refer to a human being of either sex.

Also, leman to refer to what is clumsily called significant other, posslq, partner, or girl/boy friend.

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Posted: 13 June 2010 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You could also borrow Dutch ‘mens’ to designate a human being. You could also take German ‘Mensch’, but I’m not sure they would let you have it.

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Posted: 13 June 2010 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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When we use mensch in US English we’re generally using it in the Yiddish sense, i.e., a human being who, through actions and deeds, deserves the term human being.

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