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English, unlike Latin, is a living language. As a living language, the words which people use in their everyday life are a reflection of their physical, social, political, economic, and cultural environments. Since all of these different environments change, so do the words which people commonly use. This means that some words became less frequently used; they become dead in the spoken language and some only survive in the written language. Listed below are some words which are seldom used in today’s spoken English, particularly in the American dialect. I have listed only the meaning of the word, not its etymology nor the date of its last recorded use. Some of these words are considered dead by lexicographers.

Fream: this is a verb meaning to groan or grunt as a boar.

Fucus: this is a noun referring to paint for the face.

Furfur: this is a noun referring to a type of dandruff.

Bombycinous: this is an adjective meaning silken or made from silk.

Crapulence: this is a noun referring to drunkenness or sickness by intemperance.

Snoutfair: this is a noun referring to a person with a handsome countenance.

Jirble: this is a verb meaning to pour with an unsteady hand.

Jargogle: this is a verb meaning to confuse, to jumble.

Kench: this is a verb meaning to laugh loudly.

Malagrugrous: this is an adjective meaning dismal.

Brabble: this is a verb meaning to quarrel about trifles.

Freck: this is a verb meaning to move swiftly or nimbly.

Wad: this is a noun referring to a bundle of straw thrust close together.

Macilent: this is an adjective meaning lean.

Madefy: this is a verb meaning to moisten or to make wet.

Quiddany: this is a noun referring to marmalade.

Nudation: this is a noun referring to the act of making bare or naked.

Radicate: is a verb meaning to root or to plant deeply and firmly.

While words fall into disuse and some die, at the same time, English-speakers continue to invent new words, borrow words from other languages, and change the meanings of the words they use.

Originally posted to Ojibwa on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:04 AM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Cranky Grammarians.

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