Saturday, June 11, 2011

Amazing disappearing English words

English is full of amazing words.  Sadly, some of the best words are hardly used.  They have fallen out of favor among public usage.  The kids and I were folding laundry the other day.  I don't remember why, but I was able to fit the word "brouhaha" into the conversation.  My kids laughed at the word and asked for it's definition.

I know how the word is used, but I was having a hard time coming up with a good definition for the kids.  I went through several synonyms trying to come up with the best way to describe brouhaha including "disturbance."  My 11 year old son, who had just been playing a Star Wars game, announced, "I sense a brouhaha in the Force."

I laughed so hard at his cleverness.  Of course, that got us started on other great English words including:  balderdash, snottor, oxter, and vomitory!  Snottor is Old English for "wise" and my older son used the word appropriately with the conversation when he told us his Jedi Master is very snotter (continuing with the Star Wars theme.)  Oxter is a Gaelic word (I know, it's not English), and it means "armpit."  You can imagine how much the kids love being able to use that one.  "Did you wash your oxters today?"  And of course vomitory.  It means a large passageway at an arena.  That one is harder to fit into everyday conversation.

So many great words.... so few opportunities to use them.


Deb and Barbara said...

Love talking words! And you have such good ones here.
Brouhaha is one of my faves. It's great that you're bringing fun with words to your kids. What about schlep, persnickety, and befuddled???

Linnea said...

I loved this!

Molly said...

Thanks! I had to look up schlep. I wasn't familiar with that one. It's great to learn a new word. I love befuddled! I must use that one more often.