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14 September, 2007


Heh.  'Murklins'.

"There are rare words, and there are rarer words, but only a very special word qualifies as a bona fide lost word." The Compendium of Lost Words compiles a truly sinapistic* array of the extremely obscure. I'm afraid my written style isn't adequately gaudiloquent as to convey my ecstasiation at this discovery, but I love the fact that these words exist, and that someone has hunted them down. Anyone know of others?

As Stephen Chrisomalis says, a word can't really be lost, merely mislaid, or at least one fully lost couldn't be subsequently rediscovered. However, words qualify for inclusion in the Compendium by having header entries in the (full) Oxford English Dictionary and having been used in Modern, standard English (post-1650 and not regional dialect), without appearing in their proper English contexts on any readily-accessible web pages. Alternative spellings of better-known words obviously don't count.

I did briefly wonder whether the Compendium is genuine; 'ascoliasm' in particular sounds suspiciously Pythonesque, but it's a subsection of a much larger, highly-credible site, so I'll take it at face value for now.
I'd also question the strict validity of defining 'lost' as merely 'absent from the indexed web', as certain terms may be merely 'uncommon' within certain groups. For example, as an ex-academic in the field of physical geography, I recognised the word 'hyometer' immediately, and I imagine it appears occasionally in a fairly large number of journal papers, which tend to be widely-circulated in print and online behind pay-walls.

Whatever. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to return a few of these words to genuine usage – but not merely as flosculation.

I suppose this counts as my solennial reposting of User Friendly's 'Link Of The Day'.

*: Er, no, that's 'consisting of mustard'.

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