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General Joy
04-12-2006, 07:12 PM
Does anyone know where I could find a list of obsolete English words (on the Net)? Or, if anyone knows some obsolete words and their definitions, post them here... Thanks!

rtilryarms
04-12-2006, 07:44 PM
Any particular word you looking for?

maya
04-12-2006, 08:16 PM
www dot oed.com (oxford english dictionary) is excellent for this, but you need to subscribe to use it, unless you are just interested in the first one that comes along, in which case you could subscribe to the word of the day email and soon enough one ought to be in your inbox.

Cheers
M

Medievalist
04-12-2006, 08:31 PM
Language becomes obsolete or, more properly, archaic, over time. So you need to pick a date range. Even an ordinary dictionary, like the Blessed American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary (http://www.bartleby.com/61) will list words that are archaic, and so label them.

elizabethw
04-12-2006, 08:55 PM
Depending on your project, you might like to look up some word eymologies. As Maya suggested, the Oxford English Dictionary is the best source for this. But there are some other possibilities-- try http://www.etymonline.com/ to start.

Also, you might be interested in http://www.forgottenenglish.com/.

General Joy
04-13-2006, 02:36 AM
Thanks to everyone for replying. Elizabeth, the etymology site is a good one, thank you. There wasn't a particular word I was looking for, or even a very specific timeline (maybe 1700-1800). Maya, I like the OED word of the day idea. My old university has a collection of OEDs, so maybe I'll have to just venture there sometime :)

veinglory
04-13-2006, 02:44 AM
There is a series of book devoted to obsolete words and their meanings. Of course now I can;t remember ther names...

Medievalist
04-13-2006, 04:25 AM
Thanks to everyone for replying. Elizabeth, the etymology site is a good one, thank you. There wasn't a particular word I was looking for, or even a very specific timeline (maybe 1700-1800). Maya, I like the OED word of the day idea. My old university has a collection of OEDs, so maybe I'll have to just venture there sometime :)

The university probably has a subscription to the Online version of the OED, which you can access from campus. That would allow you to perform a search listing words that were archaic or obsc. or even obsl. from the range of dates in question.

You'll get a very large list though. You might have more fun getting a copy of Johnson's Dicitonary and looking through it. It's the first English dictionary, in the strict defininition, and it really is quite amusing.

ColoradoGuy
04-13-2006, 06:52 AM
You might have more fun getting a copy of Johnson's Dicitonary and looking through it. It's the first English dictionary, in the strict defininition, and it really is quite amusing.
Everyone has his or her favorite definition in Johnson - lexographer, oats. . .
What I really love is the wonderful send-up of Dr. Johnson in the BBC Black Adder comedy series with Rowan Atkinson. You can rent it on DVD. Sort of off-topic, I know, but it is incredibly funny.

Chickenchargrill
04-14-2006, 12:47 PM
Try this site,

http://phrontistery.info/

This includes both lost and rare words.

Carmy
04-14-2006, 07:07 PM
You may want to look at this site: http://www.worldwidewords.org

Michael Quinion will research specific words or terms, if you ask.

Nerak
04-15-2006, 12:53 AM
Try the compact edition of the OED online. It's Free!!!
www.askoxford.com (http://www.askoxford.com)
Let me know if this helped.

My-Immortal
04-15-2006, 01:15 AM
If you want to go the old fashion route and actually look at a book (vs the web) and you're looking for old fashion crude language:

"Depraved and Insulting English - Words to Offend and Amuse" by Peter Novobatzky and Ammon Shea.

The book gives the word - pronunciation - definition - sometimes history of the word, usage and uses it in a sentence.

Some examples picked at random:

achilous / uh KAI lus / ajd - Having no lips.
One of may words scattered throughout this book that are used for describing common turnoffs.
"Wanda was a wonderful lady, but no matter what her attributes, J.B. could never bring himself to kiss an achilous woman."

chyme / KIME / n - Partially digested liquid food
"Rosemary's filthy-drunk roomate had ruined yet another dish with her careless vomitings: after all, the recipe called for parsley, sage, and thyme, not chyme."

feist / FEIST / n - A silent fart.
"The disgusting and flatulent little toad from Word Processing was forever in the habit of letting loose with feists while lunching in the company cafeteria, and would always give himself away by tittering loudly when he did so."

gound / GOWND/ n - The crusty yellow substance that collects in the corners of one's eyes while one sleeps.

hypogenitalism / hi po JEN it ull ism / n - Stunted growth of the genitals

maritodespotism / mar it o DESS pot ism / n - Ruthless domination of a wife by her husband

omnifutuant / om nee FOO tyoo ant / adj - Prone to engage in sexual activity with anything
"Many readers were puzzled by the ad that ran in the Personals for several weeks that spring: Single Male Omnifutuant, seeking entity for romance on hot summer nights. Sex, age, species unimportant. Breathes oxygen a plus."

And two words that one would have to be very careful when using because there is only one letter difference but the definitions are completely opposite.

uxoravalent / ooks or AHV uh lent / adj - able to have sex only with one's wife.

uxorovalent / ooks or O vuh lent / adj - able to have sex only with someone other than one's wife

These are just a sample of some of the words in the 250 page book - many are a lot racier in subject....

Of course, if this isn't what you're looking for, sorry, but I hope it at least made you smile. :)

Take care all -

General Joy
04-17-2006, 04:32 PM
Those are very interesting words, Immortal, thanks! :D And thanks for those other sites, Chicken, Carmy, and Nerak. They're all very helpful.

Greasy Spoon
04-24-2006, 10:05 PM
Jeffrey Kacirk has a few books out related to this. His website is www.forgottenenglish.com (http://www.forgottenenglish.com).

His 2006 word-a-day calendar is where I got the name for my blog. :)