15 Antiquated Words for 'Happy' We Should Bring Back

iStock
iStock

Happiness is such a wonderful feeling, why should we only use one word to describe it? In honor of today's International Day of Happiness, why not open up that vocabulary and let the good times roll.

1. CHIRKY

From the late 19th century, meaning “cheerful.”

2. IN HIGH SNUFF

An expression for “good mood,” used from the late 17th century until the 1930s.

3. OVER THE MOON

Before humans literally went beyond the moon, this popular phrase from the 1930s means “overjoyed.”

4. GASSED

Started out meaning “intoxicated,” but by the 1950s it just meant happy.

5. TICKLED

As in “tickled pink.”

6. MERRY-PIN

Also started as a reference to tipsiness, this referred to a general good ol’ time in the 19th century.

7. RICOCHET

In the 19th century, this bouncy term also meant “splendid.”

8. ALL CALLAO

This 19th century sailor’s slang either referred to the Peruvian port of Callo or acted as a play on the word alcohol. Or both.

9. GAUDEAMUS

From the Latin for “let us rejoice,” this oldie refers to a merry jamboree.

10. KVELLING

From the Yiddish for “so happy and proud my heart is overflowing.”

11. CHUFFED

This current slang in the UK certainly needs to make a trip across the pond.

12. DELIRA AND EXCIRA

A term the Irish use to mean “delirious and excited.” We need to borrow this one, too.

13. GLADSOME

This classic from the 14th century doesn’t get used enough anymore.

14. TO LICK THE EYE

This confusing 19th century gem was used to describe someone who was extremely pleased.

15. COCK-A-HOOP

From the phrase “to set the cock on the hoop,” meaning open the tap and let the good times flow.

The One Letter in the Alphabet That Can't Be Silent

Hafiez Razali, iStock via Getty Images
Hafiez Razali, iStock via Getty Images

The English language can be baffling at times—just look to words like phlegm, receipt, and chthonic for proof. Silent letters are unavoidable. Almost every word in the alphabet is occasionally guilty of taking up space without contributing anything, but there is one exception. According to Merriam-Webster, V is the only letter in English that consistently makes itself heard.

No matter where it appears, whether it's in love, voice, or divisive, V plays a vital role. Most letters are phonetic chameleons: That's why the C sounds different in cat and city, and why the g sounds like nothing at all in gnash. V is unique in that it never goes through an identity crisis.

There are a few letters that rival V's special status. Z is only silent in words we borrowed from the French, like chez, laissez-faire, and rendezvous. The one silent J in the entire English language appears in marijuana, a term of Spanish origin. But even accounting for words we've adopted from other tongues, there's not one example of a silent V in the English dictionary.

The prevalence of silent letters is just one frustrating aspect of our language. Here are a few more obstacles foreign speakers must encounter when learning English.

Rosetta Stone Is Offering Big Savings on Language-Learning Subscriptions for a Limited Time

Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone

If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to start learning a new language, now might be the perfect time. Through the end of the day on February 14, Rosetta Stone is offering major savings on language-learning software and subscriptions, making this a unique Valentine's Day gift for your significant other or just for yourself. The best deal is still the lifetime subscription for $199 (save $100), but there are other low prices on three-month, 12-month, and 24-month plans. You can read more about them here.

With the online subscription, you can access lessons to learn Spanish, German, French, Chinese and the many other available languages on any device. Along with getting a full course, your online subscription also comes with a phrasebook full of common expressions that are perfect for traveling, games that match your language level, stories to read for extra vocabulary practice, and much more. And the best part is that you’ll be able to participate in these language-learning exercises and courses on your own schedule and take them with you on the go.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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