Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 30 Obsolete 1890s Words

Today, I'm writing a scene, in which one of my characters uses some harsh late-Victorian language. This, of course, lead me to the Oxford English Dictionary, where I was able to make and study a list of words that came into use during the 1890s, but have since become obsolete. Many of those words were related to science, so I did quite a bit of sorting before I developed a manageable list. From there, I was able to narrow it down to the top 30 words that capture the spirit of 1890s London.
  1. crinanthropist n. a person who judges or criticizes other people. 
  2. herohead, n. The quality or condition of being a hero or demigod. 
  3. jobble, v. To move unevenly like a choppy sea. 
  4. mancinism, n. The state or condition of having a bias in some way towards the left-hand side of the body. 
  5. melomany, n. Enthusiasm or obsessive passion for music. 
  6. mentism, n. Disruption of rational thought by overwhelming emotion or vivid imagination. 
  7. mentulate, adj. Having a (large) penis. 
  8. mogiphonia, n. Difficulty in producing loud vocal sounds, as in public speaking or singing, attributed to overuse of the voice. 
  9. momiology, n. The scientific study of mummies. 
  10. morningly, adj. Occurring every morning. 
  11. morphiated, adj. Containing morphia; drugged with morphia. 
  12. moting, n. v. Mechanical, self-propelled movement of a vehicle. 
  13. muckerdom, n. Townspeople, as opposed to college students; the world of such people. 
  14. mythometer, n. A supposed system or standard for judging myths. 
  15. nanity, n. The condition of being abnormally deficient or underdeveloped in a particular characteristic. 
  16. ne’er-do-wellish, n. The worthless, disreputable people as a class. 
  17. neighbourize, v. To associate with others as neighbours; to act in a neighbourly fashion. 
  18. omnivorosity, n. A kind of enthusiastic wide-eyed curiousity; a combination of omnivorous and voracious.. eg.: "With the omnivorosity of youth I eagerly devoured them."
  19. opiism, n. The intoxicated state induced by taking opium; the habit of taking opium for the purpose of intoxication. 
  20. origines, n. The original facts or documents on which a historical or other work is based. 
  21. pekoe, v. To blend with pekoe tea. 
  22. pennoncier, n. A knight bachelor. 
  23. philobiblical, adj. Devoted to literature. 
  24. philo-sophistry, n. Love of or inclination towards sophistry. 
  25. pigfully, adv. In a manner befitting a pig. 
  26. plutogogy, n. Rule by the wealthy and their apologists. 
  27. poplocracy, n. Popular rule; government by the people. 
  28. proverbiologist, n. A person who studies proverbs. 
  29. pseudo-archaist, n. A person who invents or uses artificial archaisms, esp. in language. 
  30. repressful, adj. Apt to repress something; repressive.
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