History is full of obscure words that were once oft-used but have since been lost to time, from what criminals used to call the police to old-timey ways to refer to the office gossip. Now, Joe Gillard, creator of History Hustle, has assembled some of history’s best words in The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting, on sale now. Each word is accompanied by a vintage painting that delightfully illustrates its concept and a sentence that hilariously demonstrates its usage. Here are just a few of the many wonderful words you’ll find in its pages.
This English word, which dates back to the 18th century, means “to pretend to be sick.”
According to Gillard, this is a 17th-century English slang term meaning “a stingy, mean person.”
Use this 16th-century English word—which means “the time for drinking alcohol”—at your next happy hour.
Gillard writes that this word is a verb with Scottish origins meaning “to stare eagerly at someone who is eating, hoping they’ll give you food.” In other words, what happens when your dog is begging.
An old English word meaning “adolescents, youth.” Emphasis on frum.
We’ve all known one of these: “A stubborn person who refuses to change their mind despite being proven wrong.” Gillard writes that it’s English in origin and dates to the 16th century.
This Scottish word means “a light, gentle sleep.”
A 19th-century English verb for something we’ve all done, especially around the holidays—it means “to relax and digest after consuming a large meal,” according to Gillard.
If you can’t find a word for something in English, rest assured that German probably has a word for it. Such is the case with sonntagsleerung, a German medical term from the early 20th century for “the depression one feels on Sunday before the week begins.” Who needs the phrase Sunday scaries when you have a word like this?
Buy The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting here.