Twelve obscure words with delightful meanings
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Paul Anthony Jones collects terms that have fallen out of use and resurrects them. We’ve featured 12 of our favourites in a new animation celebrating forgotten phrases.

“I love finding words that are just beautiful as well as strange,” says self-confessed ‘word geek’ Paul Anthony Jones. “‘Mamamouchi’ is a delight to say out loud.”

It’s one of the words featured in his book The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities (published by Elliott & Thompson), compiling obscure terms Jones has found in long-forgotten lexicons and out-of-print dictionaries. We’ve picked 12 of our favourites for our animation looking at ‘lost words’ with surprising meanings.

From ‘frowst’ – a 19th-Century slang word for ‘extra time spent in bed on a Sunday’ – to ‘shivviness’, ‘the uncomfortable feeling of wearing new underwear’, they’ve fallen out of use. Jones wants to resurrect them, and he’s found a receptive audience on social media.

“On the one hand, I’m pulling these words out of obscurity and rescuing them from the murkier corners of the dictionary – then through Twitter, which is one of the most modern things going, at the opposite end of the dictionary from the 19th-Century scholars, people are using them. It seems to fill a niche.”

Watch the animation by clicking the play button above.

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