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Obsolete words that shouldn't be

13

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,506 ✭✭✭✭ r3nu4l


    What about the word 'kerfuffle'?

    I tend to use it but don't hear it half as often as I used to.

    Also, as an expression of exasperation I never hear the word 'Drat!' anywhere, even in England where I would have expected to. Same can be said for 'Golly!' as an expression of surprise, or it's close companion 'Gosh!'. :(

    Also, there's a lamentable loss of diversity to describe personalities or characteristics of people.

    I personally love but never hear:

    scoundrel
    rascal
    ragamuffin

    Instead, people use 'chancer', 'wideboy', or abusive words such as 'w*nker', 'd*ckhead', 'a*sehole' etc. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,091 ✭✭✭✭ P. Breathnach


    r3nu4l wrote: »
    ...
    Also, there's a lamentable loss of diversity to describe personalities or characteristics of people.

    I personally love but never hear:

    scoundrel
    rascal
    ragamuffin

    Instead, people use 'chancer', 'wideboy', or abusive words such as 'w*nker', 'd*ckhead', 'a*sehole' etc. :(
    It's interesting to note that all the words you list have negative connotations.

    We also have wonderful positive words like "amazing" and "awesome" and ... and ... (well, there must be something else if only I could think of it).


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,506 ✭✭✭✭ r3nu4l


    It's interesting to note that all the words you list have negative connotations.

    We also have wonderful positive words like "amazing" and "awesome" and ... and ... (well, there must be something else if only I could think of it).

    The point I suppose I was trying to make was that these words, while negative, were not necessarily abusive but have have been replaced with far more rude and abusive terminology.

    Another example which is not necessarily negative is 'scamp', as in 'mischievous scamp' which has generally disappeared and instead of being replaced by another word, the word appears now to be implied by using 'mischievous' in certain circumstances :)

    A positive example of a positive word that is becoming obsolete is 'magnanimous' which is generally being replaced by 'generous' :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,371 ✭✭✭ Boulevardier


    Blackguard (pron. blaggard) is still used. Its not bad for that sort off thing.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 32,863 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pickarooney


    r3nu4l wrote: »
    What about the word 'kerfuffle'?
    It had a brief renaissance when Little Britain came out.
    'Gosh!'. :(
    Napoleon Dynamite brought that one back for a bit, albeit in an ironic, hipster fashion.
    scoundrel
    Great word, one that should definitely be used more, although it seemed to go from a genuinely negative expression to one of almost admiring disapproval.
    rascal
    Still used for kids, a bit like 'scamp'
    ragamuffin
    Appropriated by the music style of the same name, it's lost its meaning.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 21,801 ✭✭✭✭ endacl


    I was recently commended for using the word 'bockety' in a post. Is this one obsolete or not?

    Etymology, anyone...?

    :D


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 32,863 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pickarooney


    endacl wrote: »
    I was recently commended for using the word 'bockety' in a post. Is this one obsolete or not?

    Etymology, anyone...?

    :D

    Definitely not obsolete. My mother thinks it's from the Irish 'bacach' but I'm not sure if there's anything to support that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,091 ✭✭✭✭ P. Breathnach


    r3nu4l wrote: »
    The point I suppose I was trying to make was that these words, while negative, were not necessarily abusive but have have been replaced with far more rude and abusive terminology...(
    An the point I was trying to make in my laboured way is that we have also to some extent lost the habit of using many adjectives with positive connotations.

    Our descriptive vocabulary has become quite impoverished.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,091 ✭✭✭✭ P. Breathnach


    Definitely not obsolete. My mother thinks it's from the Irish 'bacach' but I'm not sure if there's anything to support that.
    Support for her: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/bockety.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,200 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slowburner



    No, that's used everywhere. It was even in Full Metal Jacket :)
    Not too sure that it was used in the same way. Are you referring to the parade ground ditty: 'M-I-C-K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E, oh Mickey mouse...'?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,684 ✭✭✭✭ Earthhorse


    Given that we all are familiar with these words and know their meaning, are they really obsolete or is it just that more common synonyms are deployed in their stead?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,200 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slowburner


    I consider that and its cousin forbye to be Ulster-Scots. I have not heard either word used by anybody under 40.
    'The grape was fronent of the gripe'.
    Heard 25 odd years ago near Dundalk.
    Meaning, the pitch fork was next to the ditch/drain (I think).
    Rural Wexford had some curious words (along with curious surnames) back then, they escape me now, bar one chap who wrote that a recidivist polluter had refused to... 'Rightify the situation'.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,091 ✭✭✭✭ P. Breathnach


    slowburner wrote: »
    'The grape was fronent of the gripe'.
    Heard 25 odd years ago near Dundalk.
    Meaning, the pitch fork was next to the ditch/drain (I think).
    ...
    Fair translation.

    Very often people who use local or regional words do not know that they are not universal English. I told a group of people in the border region that graip was a local word and they did not believe me. I called a Tipperary man into the company and asked him if he knew what a graip was as an agricultural tool. He had no idea. One of the local lads described it for him and his response was "Oh! You mean a shprong."


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,200 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slowburner


    Fair translation.

    Very often people who use local or regional words do not know that they are not universal English. I told a group of people in the border region that graip was a local word and they did not believe me. I called a Tipperary man into the company and asked him if he knew what a graip was as an agricultural tool. He had no idea. One of the local lads described it for him and his response was "Oh! You mean a shprong."
    A shprong, in my experience, was a customised fork, complete with barbs and sharpened tines.
    It was exclusively used for the capture of salmon.
    This illicit custom occurred around the end of November when the salmon were well inland on the spawning beds, and at their most vulnerable.
    Whilst a horrendous act, in terms of conservation, those manly folk away from the coast seem to have felt (feel?) a duty to have a go at the landlord's fish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,091 ✭✭✭✭ P. Breathnach


    slowburner wrote: »
    A shprong, in my experience, was a customised fork, complete with barbs and sharpened tines.
    It was exclusively used for the capture of salmon.
    This illicit custom occurred around the end of November when the salmon were well inland on the spawning beds, and at their most vulnerable.
    Whilst a horrendous act, in terms of conservation, those manly folk away from the coast seem to have felt (feel?) a duty to have a go at the landlord's fish.
    Something like Neptune's trident, by the sound of it.

    That's a word (or a particular use of a word) that we would like to see obsolete.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 32,863 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pickarooney


    slowburner wrote: »
    A shprong, in my experience, was a customised fork, complete with barbs and sharpened tines.
    It was exclusively used for the capture of salmon.
    This illicit custom occurred around the end of November when the salmon were well inland on the spawning beds, and at their most vulnerable.
    Whilst a horrendous act, in terms of conservation, those manly folk away from the coast seem to have felt (feel?) a duty to have a go at the landlord's fish.

    I never realized until now that a sprong (no H) was not standard English. For me it's a 4 pronged fork with thin, curved tines for pitching (spronging) hay.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,091 ✭✭✭✭ P. Breathnach


    I never realized until now that a sprong (no H) was not standard English. For me it's a 4 pronged fork with thin, curved tines for pitching (spronging) hay.
    Oh! You mean a graip.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 tac foley


    I never realized until now that a sprong (no H) was not standard English. For me it's a 4 pronged fork with thin, curved tines for pitching (spronging) hay.

    Ah! You mean, after the style of 'shoop shpoon'?

    tac


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,801 ✭✭✭✭ endacl


    tac foley wrote: »

    Ah! You mean, after the style of 'shoop shpoon'?

    tac
    Shtyle!


  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭ hibby


    endacl wrote: »
    if people still referred to the barleycorn (third of an inch),

    The measure is still in use: the difference between 2 shoe sizes (e.g. size 9 to size 10) = 1 barleycorn.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 594 chickenbutt


    tac foley wrote: »
    Ah so, Yakuza-san- just to let you know that 'yea' as in 'roughly this', is alive and kicking and living here in MY house, and all over Canada and the NWP USA.

    I've certainly used it all my life that I can recall.

    tac

    I've always used 'yea' in that context. It's very handy for measuring things in the air with your hands.

    I rarely hear anyone say fortnight.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,050 Da Shins Kelly


    r3nu4l wrote: »
    I personally love but never hear:

    scoundrel
    rascal
    ragamuffin

    Instead, people use 'chancer', 'wideboy', or abusive words such as 'w*nker', 'd*ckhead', 'a*sehole' etc. :(

    My father uses scoundrel a lot, and never in an admiring sort of way, so I've grown up thinking of it in its truest meaning. It's a great word.

    'Flummox' is a word that I remember hearing or reading a lot when I was younger, but it's never really used.

    Also, my grandmother used to use the word 'cozener' to describe a sort of Artful Dodger character. I looked it up and apparently the verb is 'to cozen', which is to shrewdly deceive someone. She pronounced it like 'cuzzener'. Don't know if anyone's heard this one before? I like it!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,200 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slowburner





    'Flummox' is a word that I remember hearing or reading a lot when I was younger, but it's never really used.
    I often hear of people being flummoxed by difficult problems. I would say it's alive and well amongst the over 35 age group. In fact, I can't think of an alternative word in the vernacular. 'Stumped' just doesn't do it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,684 ✭✭✭✭ Earthhorse


    slowburner wrote: »
    I often hear of people being flummoxed by difficult problems. I would say it's alive and well amongst the over 35 age group. In fact, I can't think of an alternative word in the vernacular. 'Stumped' just doesn't do it.
    Nonplussed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,050 Da Shins Kelly


    slowburner wrote: »
    I often hear of people being flummoxed by difficult problems. I would say it's alive and well amongst the over 35 age group. In fact, I can't think of an alternative word in the vernacular. 'Stumped' just doesn't do it.

    I can't say I've heard anyone my age using it (20s). People usually just say something like 'I dunno'.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 tac foley


    Earthhorse wrote: »
    Nonplussed.

    Interestingly, you can be 'nonplussed, but not 'plussed'.

    Also, a item might be described as 'inert' - not moving or liable to change suddenly from one form to another as in 'inert explosive', but a live anti-personnel mine, fer'instance, is not described as 'ert'.

    tac


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 tac foley


    I've always used 'yea' in that context. It's very handy for measuring things in the air with your hands.

    I rarely hear anyone say fortnight.

    Nor will you, Sir. Most 'mercans have never heard the term. ;)

    tac


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,662 ✭✭✭ who_me


    tac foley wrote: »
    Interestingly, you can be 'nonplussed, but not 'plussed'.

    Also, a item might be described as 'inert' - not moving or liable to change suddenly from one form to another as in 'inert explosive', but a live anti-personnel mine, fer'instance, is not described as 'ert'.

    tac

    Likewise, you can be disgusted, but not gusted (which presumably shares the same Latin root as the Spanish "me gusta" / Portuguese "eu gosto" etc.)

    For a word that isn't quite obsolete... "ye" for the plural "you". Never used in many places, but still common in parts. Obviously helpful in making that distinction clear.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,684 ✭✭✭✭ Earthhorse


    I can't say I've heard anyone my age using it (20s). People usually just say something like 'I dunno'.

    You would only really use flummoxed or nonplussed when the solution to some problem has eluded your after a long pursuit, something really surprising happens which you can't explain or some other similarly extreme situation. They're superlatives so you wouldn't have cause to use them as often as "I dunno".


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,143 ✭✭✭ Yakuza


    Wow, I only knew nonplussed as meaning "not bothered by" - I never knew it could mean flummoxed / confused as well. I love this thread :)
    who_me wrote: »
    Likewise, you can be disgusted, but not gusted (which presumably shares the same Latin root as the Spanish "me gusta" / Portuguese "eu gosto" etc.)

    Gustatory is still around as a fairly formal term for things related to the sense of taste.


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