The Slimikin Snobographer, and Other Rare Words

Dictionary of the English Language

The fascinating Compendium of Lost Words indexes the rarest modern English words. The words must appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, and must have been used in standard modern English, rather than a regional dialect. They also must not have appeared on the Internet in their proper context, so hopefully this post won’t reduce the glorious list.

Some seem so useful that one wonders why they have slipped from common usage:

  • airgonaut: one who journeys through the air
  • boreism: behaviour of a boring person
  • redamancy: act of loving in return
  • speustic: made or baked in haste
  • uglyography: bad handwriting

Others, meanwhile, are perhaps rare for a reason:

  • quadragintireme: vessel with forty rows of oars
  • triclavianism: belief that only three nails were used at Christ’s crucifixion
  • urette: dried animal urine absorbed into calcareous soi

On that note, I’ll let you explore the remainder yourself.

Dictionary photograph by Muffet

Dan Zambonini

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Dan Zambonini is a co-founder at Eighty-Five Technologies Inc. Their most recent project is Docoh - SEC EDGAR Filings Search. He wrote A Practical Guide to Web App Success, the leading web application book. You can usually find him twittering on about something on Twitter at @zambonini.