Monday, July 2, 2012

In Other Words —

Not long ago I came across a copy of Johnson’s Dictionary at a flea market. While rummaging through the dusty tome, I found some wonderful words that are no longer in use. I would love to bring them back to life. For example:

AFTERWISE, Wise too late.
(What a wonderful word to describe the whole process of bringing up children. Why had it fallen into disuse?)

DISHCLOUT, the cloth with which one washed dishes long ago, (or broke them).

FLAPDRAGON, a game in which the players catch raisins out of burning brandy. (Sounds like fun to me!)

FLESHQUAKE, a tremor of the body. (How much more exciting than the feeble shivers and shudders we have today.)

FLITTERMOUSE, the bat. (What a beautiful name for such an unsavory critter, eh, Bob?)

GRUMLY, sullenly, morosely. (the way this heat wave makes me feel!)

GUTTLE, to feed luxuriously, gourmetize, a low word. (To pig out, is the modern substitue.)

MOIL, to labor in the mire.

RANTIPOLE, to run about wildly (like my two-year-old grandson.)

STAR-PROOF, impervious to starlight. (Most of the proofs we have today are good proofs--fire-proof, water-proof, moth-proof. But “star-proof”! What an awful thing to be. As I sat pondering this at the window, the first star of evening appeared. I gazed at it a little longer than usual.

Robin Hathaway


  1. Robin, Flittermouseman!!???

  2. Robin, I want them all back! Especially "starproof" to describe a soulless person! Hey, Bob--there is an opera about that guy: Die Fledermaus!

  3. Robin, there is a seductiveness about these books! Often, when I look up a word, I find the clock has moved an hour on and my nose is still sniffing out the delicious new words!