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Forgotten English Words: Time for a Comeback? (Part 2)

We looked a while back at some of the quaintest and weirdest English words which are no longer used, like the wonderful Groak and Hoddypeak. Well, there are plenty more to wonder about in addition to those. The following are some antiquated words which we really need to think about starting to use again:


Before I give the definition, what do you think that Snoutfair means? Personally, I thought that it probably meant to root about for something with your nose with a degree of success, although that is a bit ridiculous if I am being honest. The real meaning of the word is a “good looking person”. However, it would tend to be someone whose physical handsomeness isn’t matched by their personality. You probably know a few people who are complete Snoutfairs.


This one is fairly obvious I think, though that doesn’t stop it from being pretty amusing at the same time. If you are Beef-witted then you a little bit thick or slow on the uptake. This seems to be related to the old-fashioned idea that eating too much beef makes you dim.


A Hugger-mugger sounds like a particularly affectionate street criminal, doesn’t it? I can imagine telling the police officer, “Yes officer, he put his arms round me and gave me a cuddle before grabbing my wallet and running off”. You would probably have to be a bit Beef-witted to lose your wallet in this way but it isn’t the real meaning of the word anyway. Instead, a Hugger-mugger is someone who acts in a secretive, sneaky manner.


Have you ever entered freezing cold water and thought, “Good grief, why can’t I feel my extremities anymore?” If so, then you have already felt the unpleasant effects of Curglaff. This is the sensation of shock which you feel when you first take a dip in cold water.


If we stick with the idea of plunging into water we have another word which you won’t come across very often this century. Queerplungers were people who deliberately threw themselves into water so that their friends would rescue them and take them to a charity which dealt with drowning incidents. The rescuer would get some money for their trouble and the Queerplunger would often get given some cash too. You would think that the person who came up with the idea of a charity for drowning incidents would have thought of a loophole like this. What a total Beef-witted Hoddypeak.

What other antiquated English words would you like to see make a comeback?