Adopt a Word for the Holidays

The Oxford English Dictionary is on a mission: to save old, forgotten, little-used words from ending up on the scrap heap of linguistic history. As the OED explains on its Save the Words website:

“Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English language. Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.”

Isn’t that horrible? Doesn’t it just make you want to burst into tears? Then you’ll be glad to know that you can help by “adopting” one of these older, more obscure nuggets of the English language. To adopt a word, just choose one of the many, many examples on the OED site and start using it. The OED recommends using these words to make you sound smarter in meetings, naming pets after them, writing them as graffiti, and perhaps even getting “your” word as a tattoo. Or, you know, you could just throw them into conversation whenever they seem appropriate.

Here are some of the words currently up for “adoption.”

Nubivagant- adj. Moving through or among clouds

Senticous – adj. Prickly or thorny.

Lubency – n. Willingness; pleasure.

Divinipotent – adj. Having strong divinatory powers.

Cibosity – n. Store of food; plenty of food supplies. For example, squirrels hide cibosities of nuts.

Hecatologue – A code consisting of 100 rules. Like the Ten Commandments times 10.

Tudiculate – To bruise or pound.

Ictuate – To reiterate

Scathefire – n. A great destructive fire. Someone please adopt this word and name a death metal band after it!

Gleimous – adj. Slimy; full of phlegm

Odynometer – n. An instrument for measuring pain

Boreism – n. The behavior of a boring person.

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