Don’t Be A “Wasteheart” About Your Vocabulary; Just Learn These New Old Words

A team of linguists at the University of York have dug up 30 lost words from the English language they say could still be useful today.

The professors scoured old dictionaries to compile the list. Some of the words date to the 17th and 18th centuries but, they say, could still be relevant in today’s society.

 Example: If someone is good looking, you could say they’re “snout-fair”

Have you noticed how snout-fair tom is since getting his hair colored?”

Slug-a-bed…a lazy person who lays around all day

since she started working part-time at Goathouse brewing, Cody isn’t a slug-a-bed on the weekends anymore”

Merry go Sorry….a mixture of happiness and sadness

Pat’s sure glad it’s football season but his Bengals suck eggs so he’s a total merry go sorry these days”

Here’s the full list, as provided by

Nickum, n.: A cheating or dishonest person

Quacksalver, n: A person who dishonestly claims knowledge of or skill in medicine; a pedlar of false cures

Rouker, n.: A person who whispers or murmurs; one who spreads tales or rumours

Man-millinery, adj: Suggestive of male vanity or pomposity

Parget, v: To daub or plaster (the face or body) with powder or paint; to cover with cosmetic

Snout-fair, adj.: Having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome

Slug-a-bed, n: One who lies long in bed through laziness

Losenger, n.: A false flatterer, a lying rascal, a deceiver

Momist, n: A person who habitually finds fault; a harsh critic

Peacockize, v.: To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously

Percher, n.: A person who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person

Rouzy-bouzy, adj.: Boisterously drunk

Ruff, v: To swagger, bluster, domineer. To ruff it out / to brag or boast of a thing

Sillytonian, n.: A silly or gullible person, esp. one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people

Wlonk, adj + n (also ‘wlonkness’) Proud, haughty /  Rich, splendid, fine, magnificent: in later use esp. as a conventional epithet in alliterative verse (N.  A fair or beautiful one)

Fumish, adj: Inclined to fume, hot-tempered, irascible, passionate; also, characterized by or exhibiting anger or irascibility


Awhape, v. To amaze, stupefy with fear, confound utterly

Hugge, v. To shudder, shrink, shiver, or shake with fear or with cold

Merry-go-sorry, n. A mixture of joy and sorrow

Stomaching, adj.: Full of malignity; given to cherish anger or resentment

Swerk, v. To be or become dark; in Old English often, to become gloomy, troubled, or sad

Teen, v To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage / To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm

Tremblable, adj. Causing dread or horror; dreadful

Wasteheart, int. Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern: ‘alas!’ ‘woe is me!’ Also wasteheart-a-day, wasteheart of me

Dowsabel, n. Applied generically to a sweetheart, ‘lady-love’

Ear-rent, n. The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk



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