Could you use any of these 30 lost words?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss some research relating to 30 lost words….

I’ve written before about lost writinghow to cope when the words you have written suddenly go missing. Today I’m focusing on something entirely different: 30 lost words.

Researchers from the University of York have identified 30 lost words that they hope might make a comeback in English someday soon.

They found these words by spending three months studying historic texts and etymological dictionaries and their work was funded by the British insurance company Privilege. Now, the group is running a public vote to see which of the words should come back into everyday use.

Here’s where my votes go:

Ambodexter, n: One who takes bribes from both sides

Momist, n: A person who habitually finds fault; a harsh critic

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

Fumish, adj: Inclined to fume, hot-tempered, irascible, passionate; also, characterized by or exhibiting anger or irascibility

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

But my absolute favourite?

Betrump, v: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from

Somehow this seems a perfect choice, echoing as it does the name of the current US president. You can see the entire list of lost words here. My thanks to Petruta Bunaciu for alerting me to this story.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Oct 2/17.

Scroll to Top