Save the language!
The Collins English Dictionary. You may not have heard of it before. Out of the major dictionaries of the UK, it is less well known than the Oxford English Dictionary or the Chambers Dictionary. And internationally, nowhere near as well known as The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, or the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.
For its new edition, Collins are adding a further 2,000 new words. And they have announced that they will be removing 24 words on the grounds of obscurity and disuetude.
But this is the age of American Idol and the public right to vote – Collins are offering the chance for these words to be saved. In order to be saved,
Endangered words must appear at least six times in Collins’s corpus, a database that records word usage in printed, broadcast and online media.
Compilers will discount any references to words if they appear in articles about the campaign to save them.
A more cynical person might suggest that this is all merely a publicity stunt to raise the profile of the Collins Dictionary – indeed, that has all ready been suggested.
Regardless, the impoverishment of language is something that should be mourned, so here, for your edification and enjoyment, is the list of the 24 words facing excision, with definitions. Perhaps you might consider using them in your work, or on your blog, and see if you can secure their continued existence in the Collins English Dictionary.
- Abstergent: Cleansing or scouring
- Agrestic: Rural; rustic; unpolished; uncouth
- Apodeictic: Unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
- Caducity: Perishableness; senility
- Caliginosity: Dimness; darkness
- Compossible: Possible in coexistence with something else
- Embrangle: To confuse or entangle
- Exuviate: To shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
- Fatidical: Prophetic
- Fubsy: Short and stout; squat
- Griseous: Streaked or mixed with grey; somewhat grey
- Malison: A curse
- Mansuetude: Gentleness or mildness
- Muliebrity: The condition of being a woman
- Niddering: Cowardly
- Nitid: Bright; glistening
- Olid: Foul-smelling
- Oppugnant: Combative, antagonistic or contrary
- Periapt: A charm or amulet
- Recrement: Waste matter; refuse; dross
- Roborant: Tending to fortify or increase strength
- Skirr: A whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight
- Vaticinate: To foretell; prophesy
- Vilipend: To treat or regard with contempt