11 olde English words we need to start using again

Scholars say that what we now call English started when Germanic tribes settled in present-day Britain at around 500 CE.

The Oxford English dictionary counts 171,476 words in current use.

A staggering 47,156 words are now obsolete.

But, as you’ll see from the below, some of the mother tongue’s finest phrasings need to be brought back, as they will help us mark our days and describe our lives better than what’s currently on offer.

Overmorrow: on the day after tomorrow.

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Example: 'I'll have that report to you overmorrow.'

Why: Overmorrow was in Middle English but fell out of the language. So instead of having this word, we have the wordy 'day after tomorrow.' German still has this very useful word: übermorgen.

Bedward: heading toward bed.


Example: 'I'm bedward, putting this group text on mute.'

Why: Because it treats your bed as a cardinal direction. As it should be.

Elflock: hair that has been tangled as if by elves.

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Example: 'I think I bruised my scalp trying to get those elflocks out.'

Why: Because hair tangles are frustrating, but elflocks are adorable. And speaking of them helps to re-enchant our world.

Snollygoster: A smart person not guided by principles.


Zwodder: A hazy state of mind.

Example: 'He was in a zwodder all day after last night's party.'

Why: Because the word 'hangover' is a catchall for all sorts of physiological debts we end up paying by pushing ourselves too hard. It would help to have more precise words.

Mugwump: Someone who acts like they're above conflict.

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Rawgabbit: Someone who speaks authoritatively about something they know nothing about.


Example: 'That rawgabbit posts his opinion on Facebook about every single thing that happens in the news.'

Reason: Because frauds should be named.

Twattling: gossiping.


Example: 'I knew I was in for it when they stopped twattling soon as I walked in the room.'

Why: Because 'twattling' is one of those words that sounds like the thing it describes: twattle, twattle, twattle.

Fortnight: a period of two weeks.


Example: 'We have a meeting with sales every fortnight.'

Why: Because biweekly is woefully confusing -- is it twice a week or every two weeks? Fortnight -- and its sibling fornightly -- help cure that ambiguity.

Anon: shortly.

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Example: 'I'll see you anon.'

Why: Because it would be nice to have a classier version of see you soon. Plus it always sounds dope when Shakespeare's characters use it.

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