Wednesday, September 24, 2008

dying words?!?!? (CONTEST!!)

The Times announced this week that Collins doesn't have enough room in its dictionary anymore, what with all the new words being invented each year, and that some of its current entries are going to be eliminated.

English words at risk of extinction (albeit only in one venue)!! My heart begins to palpitate.

So go to the Times link above and vote for your favorite endangered word. But here at Ed Ass we're going to go a step above and beyond! We're going to re-integrate endangered words into internet authenticity. So! A contest.

Contest!! Write a short story of up to (but not more than) 250 words, featuring as many of the endangered words as you like/can gracefully fit.

Post that story a) on your blog, if you have one, and b) in the comments section of this contest post. This will mean a DOUBLE GOOGLE SEARCH hit for the words you choose to use.

Entries are due at 10 pm EST on Monday, September 29th. A winner will be chosen at random from the submissions. The prize will be a copy of THE SPANISH BOW, our October Book Club Pick.

I know there are at least some of you that can't say no. :)

Here are some of the dying words (although check out the full list link, since the ones below are probably the most likely to get saved):

Abstergent Cleansing or scouring

Agrestic Rural; rustic; unpolished; uncouth

Unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration

Caducity Perishableness; senility

Caliginosity Dimness; darkness

Compossible Possible in coexistence with something else

Embrangle To confuse or entangle

Exuviate To shed (a skin or similar outer covering)

Fatidical Prophetic

Fubsy Short and stout; squat

Griseous Streaked or mixed with grey; somewhat grey

Malison A curse

Gentleness or mildness

Muliebrity The condition of being a woman

Niddering Cowardly

Nitid Bright; glistening

Olid Foul-smelling

Oppugnant Combative, antagonistic or contrary

A charm or amulet

Recrement Waste matter; refuse; dross

Roborant Tending to fortify or increase strength

Skirr A whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight

Vaticinate To foretell; prophesy

To treat or regard with contempt


Precie said...

I feel like a kid in a toy store...

I have to have embrangle! Oh, but I really like fubsy too! And that periapt is so pretty and shiny! I really can't live without muliebrity, even though someone will come out with a comment about me being mule-headed.

I simply have to keep all of them! {stomps foot on ground}

Precie said...

And, no, that's not my contest entry. Just my exuberance.

Why is it that we can lose words like apodeictic but I have to put up with non-words in use like "irregardless"? Grr.

The Anti-Wife said...

I don't understand how they can not have room in the dictionary for these words. Does this mean they are simply unwilling to print the extra page or two it might require for them? And, even if Collins offs the words, won't they continue in some other form - i.e., the internet? You can't kill words.

I find this terribly embrangeling!

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, nothing is coming to mind using all these words. I'll check out the full list.

ChrisEldin said...

LOL!!! This sounds fun!

Anything to save 'fubsy!'

Precie said...

aw--According to the article, Collins will keep them in the online version, just not in print.

moonrat said...

but we can still have a contest, precie.

Precie said...

hells yeah.

{did i just say that??}

Kristi said...

Ooh, am I the first with a contest entry? Maybe I need a life...

Here goes (also posted to my blog, Skim Decaf Mocha With Whip

"Niddering old fool," muttered Milicent, reaching calloused hands into the olid calignosity of the ancient cupboard. The fubsy scholar, in his caducity, had trusted in the mansuetudinous muliebrity of what he thought was an agrestic farmwife to help repair his facilities. Millicent grinned in the darkness. His oppugnant ignorance was easy to vilipend.

She had passed a fortnight in the recrement of his laboratory, filled with sediment from the recent deluge. While beggars, dressed in looted silks and brocades, vaticinated the end of the world, she had shrugged off their extremist fatidical ramblings. Milicent would forge destiny, not be swayed by it.

Her fingers brushed against cold metal. She hefted the small chest from the muck. Using her apron as an abstergent, she cleansed the griseous sewage from the lid. Deftly, she found the mechanism to open it, just as the scrolls had described. With a skirr, the lid flew open, revealing a nitid jewel amongst folds of luxurious black velvet. The Periapt of Isingier was hers.

"Mrs. Mundial? I thought I heard a commotion…"

Uttering a malision, Milicent whirled to face her doddering employer.

"The artifact is mine now," she snarled dangling the jeweled necklace in front of her.

"Apodeictic, my dear." The man seemed taller than before. Had he taken a reborant?

Instantly, she exuviated her disguise, revealing her true, beautiful, self.

"Millie, I had not thought to embrangle you in this quagmire. You are even more beautiful than your mother."

"Father? Impossible…"

"Not impossible. Compossible."

Natalie said...

Ooo, so fun. What a great contest.

Precie said...

Woo hoo! Already there's an entry! Way to go, kristi!

pacatrue said...

Someone use apodeictic in a ms of mine recently. I had to go look it up. I think we can do without all of these words, except maybe niddering and fubsy. And maybe embrangle, just for precie.

cindy said...

yikes! good riddance???


Kathy G said...

I found your contest through a comment that Kristi posted on MY blog today. I used all of the words!

Here it is:

I sat down to write, wanting to use as many words on the Collins list as possible. I have to admit that many of the words embrangled me, because I don’t have them in my everyday vocabulary. However, the article said they’d be dropped from the dictionary if they were no longer used, and I didn’t want that article to be fatidical.

As I was typing, one of my pets, Pepper, came and sat on my desk. He is a beautiful griseous shorthair cat. All of a sudden he walked right in front of the monitor, blocking my view. I gave a malison, and shoved him out of the way. He just looked at me with vilipend.

The other cat, Jackson, sauntered into the kitchen and jumped up on the window seat. When he sits in a certain way he looks quite fubsy. It may be time to put him back on a diet. Something outside fascinated him, and I looked out to see some birds flying away; the skirr of their wings was quite loud.

Pepper came over and started grooming Jackson. His abstergent tongue did a thorough job of exuviating Jackson’s excess hair. I’ll vaticinate that there will be an olid hair ball in the next couple days; I’ll have to clean up the mess and toss it with the rest of the recrement in the trash can.

Pepper must have done something to anger his brother, because Jackson’s mansuetude quickly turned oppugnant. Jackson chased Pepper out of the room.Pepper ran under the coffee table in the family room and sat there for a while in a niddering manner.The “safe” area must be a roborant for him, because after a few minutes he shot out of there to chase Jackson. However, their activity was over as quickly as started. It always amazes me how compossible they are. Their apodeictic affection for each other is amazing!

After I had spent a few minutes watching the cats, it was time to get ready for work. I decided to wear a necklace with a nitid periapt. I enjoy wearing jewelry; I guess that’s part of my muliebrity, because I don’t know many males who feel the same way.I opened my closet door and flipped the light switch. The bulb chose that moment to burn out. Despite the caliginosity of the closet I was able to find what I was looking for. I don’t want to leave the house looking agrestic. People might question my caducity.

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

OK, this isn't about words, exactly, but it is about one of our favorite writers who uses really big words. (Michael Chabon, of course.) Have you heard about Ayelet and Michael's Books 4 Obama fundraiser? Donate $250 and get 10 signed books. I posted about it at and I'm sure lots of bloggers are yakking about it -- I just couldn't help but tell Moonrat (aka the OTHER Mrs. Michael Chabon -- I still can't forget that one). Now, back to your vocabulary/dictionary discussion...

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Oops. I had trouble with the small print. Looks like maybe Chabon and Waldman aren't accepting donations for the books anymore, just looking for more donated books to fulfill existing orders asap. I think that's the story, anyway. This what I get for being online when I should be writing... Still, what an inspiring couple.

pilot said...

They want to eliminate certain words, to make room for others?
I proclaim the conspiracy as outrageous, foul-smelling, vulgar and rotten.
Uprooting bright pearls of the English language, in an extravagant effort to clean it, should be considered insane.
Words are no waste matter to be shed or treated with contempt, but priceless treasures.
Prophetical and unquestionably true “use what’s useful and reject what’s useless” translates as cursed senility when it comes to cannibalizing one’s language.
Latin based languages have double, some even triple, the lexicon we do, and this, in coexistence with the gentleness of sound, enriches it.
Old words can confuse modern speech. Cowardly not employing the right terms can diminish verbal eloquence.
I also know that there are those of us who strive to show off their sophistication by employing ‘exceptional’ words.
A language must keep pace with the time, but must also retain its history.

Below, it’s the same text, but with some of the proposed for elimination words.
I’ve added a few extra ones as their time may soon come.

I nuncupate the conspiracy as opprobrious, olid, agrestic and nefarious.
Deracinating nitid pearls of the English argot, in a quixotic sedulousness to absergentize it, should be considered jejune. Words are no recrement to exuviate or vilipend, but priceless treasures.
Fatidical and apodeictic “use what’s useful and reject what’s useless” translates as malisoned caducity, when it comes to cannibalizing one’s patois.
Latin based glottology have double, some even triple, the onomasticon we do, and this, compossible with the mansuetude of sound, aggrandize it.
Caducous words embrangle neoteric soliloquy. Niddering not employing the condign hypocorism can diminish verbal prolixity.

Daniel W. Powell said...

Hey There Moonrat,

I'll work up a story. About four of those words are pretty solid.

The others?

Watch this video all the way through and you'll see that some things just have to pass on (don't bail out after the first twenty seconds...that's part of it!).

Story forthcoming...

Darby said...

"A winner will be chosen at random from the submissions." Ha ha. Kind of like the publishing industry.

Usman said...

That list was English.
Those words need slaughtering; they sound so, so -- I'm trying to be repectful here-- but they are ugly.

EJ McKenna. said...

I feel the love.
Come here my little orphan words, I'll look after you!

CNU said...

"Croon" Great word and yet probably dying. ;)

Croon- "1. To hum or sing softly.
2. To sing popular songs in a soft, sentimental manner.
3. Scots To roar or bellow.
To sing softly or in a humming way: crooning a lullaby.
A soft singing or humming."

Great example the trip-hop band "Portishead"

Good music.

Aerin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
graywave said...

My God! They can't kill vaticinate! I used the word several times just a few weeks ago in a new story I wrote! (Actually, I coined the word 'vaticinatrix', meaning 'prophetess' but it's close.) How can a dictionary just go around dropping words I'm still using? It's outrageous! said...

My contest entry, Skunk, which is also at my blog, My Verbocity

Sarah looked at her olid cat, Skunk, and wondered what he’d been up to recently. Generally the fubsy beast had bits of its last misadventure in his griseous fur, but a quick inspection revealed that Skunk’s fur was still nitid.

This was all the more worrying for Sarah, since now she knew that the smell was coming from some sort of recrement in her apartment.

Sarah glared at her cat, while Skunk used his teeth to exuviate the hair balls between his toes; each bite abstergent.

Sarah left her laptop and began to sniff from room to room in her apartment. In the family room the smell was strong, but it wasn’t until she reached the bathroom that she heard a skirr.

“A malison on that cat!” Sarah mumbled as she nidderingly drew the shower curtain back.

She looked into the tub, but surprisingly, the pigeon she had expected to find was not there. Embrangled, she pulled the shower curtain closed. She headed to her bedroom, where her sheer curtains blew in the light spring breeze. Her former roommate always thought her taste in d├ęcor was agrestic, but Sarah knew that it was not compossible to own nice things and live with Skunk.

“Skunk!” she cried, as she ran to her window. There on the floor were the entire contents of her flower box arranged like a periapt on the floor. And, obviously acting with caducity, 15 year old Skunk had mistaken Sarah’s window box with his litter box.

Caitlin said...

An entry...

“Well, it’s certainly agrestic, isn’t it?”
“Don’t be like that. Come inside; you’ll love it!” Michael tugged her toward the dilapidated farmhouse. He opened the door and Vanessa found herself shoved into the otid caliginosity of the abandoned abode. She uttered a quiet malison.
“I don’t know about this…”
“Oh, at least look around. This place has great bones. Look at the potential.”
Vanessa felt no potential. In fact, she felt the house was downright oppugnant. There was no visible recrement, just griseous dust, but the place felt unclean and she felt unwelcome. Hours of abstergent activity would not be enough.
“Michael, I want to leave. NOW.”
“What is wrong with you? Just because I found this place without you doesn’t mean you have to reject it outright. Why do you always have to be in charge? If the idea didn’t come from you, it’s no good, right?”
“That’s ridiculous.”
“Oh, I think it’s apodiectic, and I’m getting sick of it.”
“There is something wrong with this place. It makes me want to exuviate my skin. I feel like I should be wearing some sort of periapt just walking in here. Something bad happened in this place.”
“You’re letting this house turn you into a niddering fool, Vanessa. Moving in together was a bad idea. Let’s go.”
Vanessa stared as he walked out the door. Her feeling was not due to what had happened in the house, but some fatidical warning of what would happen. now it was too late.

Mary said...

Fubsy is such a cute word. I admit this is the first time I’ve seen it, but I intend to use it as often as possible from now on.

Save fubsy!

slhastings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
slhastings said...

Believe it or not, this cheery story is a reinvent of a scene I cut from MG novel. The other choice was Fusby the Agrestic Dog- a picture book for 3-6 year olds. Needless to say, that one didn't make the cut.

Like fitting square pegs into round holes, I used all of the words. Here goes it.

The menagerie is swaddled in caliginosity. Yet, through long rips in the faded canvas, the moonlight casts a nitid light onto the periapt worn around my neck. The glimmer catches Panga’s attention– a roborant effect on my old friend. A faint glint of delight sparks up her eyes and she holds out a frail, human-like hand. The chimpanzee’s mansuetude would have surprised me many years ago, but no longer. I hand her the charm.

Once full of energy, Panga sits imprisoned, embrangled in cotton candy. A pink web sticks to her griseous hair, clumps of which exuviate off her body. An olid stench surrounds me. Recrement is scattered around her cage. With no supplies to speak of, my rough hands become the abstergent.

We deserve better.

Constant filth and brutality are compossible when you live among animals – a malison even a freak at an agrestic circus should not have to bear. Divided between muliebrity and masculinity, the scars on this genetically mutated body are apodeictic of a tortured existence.

Oh, how I wish to vaticinate his arrival!

My brain swirls around in caducity, but a skir outside alerts me to the oppugnant boss man’s approach. Although fatidical powers are not mine to be had, today I am fully prepared.

Don't vilipend the measures that must be taken. This niddering fool should have performed this final act many years ago.

One single bullet decides my fate.


His fusby form falls to the ground.

I break his whip with my hands.

Cat said...

my entry:
The abstergent wind skirred around my head, embrangling my hair with the dawn. I gripped the periapt at my neck, trying to vaticinate what the day and the wind would bring. Once the earth birthed a new sun, I let its roborant warmth propel me to the agrestic cottage I shared with my fubsy uncle, a malison on my life.

Within the caliginosity of our two-room structure, I exuviated my cloak, giving him a nitid smile. “Feeling better today?”

“Absolutely not!” he shouted oppugnantly, his look vilipend, his griseous hair falling in his face.

“How very apodeictic,” I muttered, bending to stir the breakfast porridge. “Servitude is our muleibrity,” my long dead-mother whispered in my memory. “Let it be tempered with mansuetude.” She had wound the amulet around my neck, a faticidal symbol of my position, and I bristled then as I did now at her words. My parents traded me to my uncle for food and each winter’s hunger bound me to him anew with the threat of starvation should I leave, although it was now only my own life at stake.

“Have you emptied the night bucket?” he growled at me.

“I forgot.” I said.

“The caducity of your memory galls me.” He kicked the night bucket, splattering the hem of my dress with olid recrement.

Suddenly my niddering fears of starvation burn away. “Our habitude is no longer compossible,” I say, ripping the amulet from my neck and dropping it on the floor.

revalkorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
revalkorn said...

Since I screwed this up the first time, let's try it again. This is a mostly true story.

Having lived in agrestic caliginosity--which, incidentally, served to embrangle me--I am convinced of the apodeictic nature of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Some might consider that caducity on my part, but I consider it compossible to hold to the truth of Scripture in the midst of post-modernism. Though the muliebrity of certain of those who consider themselves faithful pastors sounded as a skirr in my ears, their oppugnant, niddering verbosity only served to enable me to practice mansuetude, rather than vilipend toward them.

I also experienced for the first time the abstergent nature of private Confession during my time in North Dakota, which served to exuviate the guilt of my sin. The pastor to whom I confessed, a fubsy, olid, somewhat griseous man wearing a nitid, cruciform periapt, pronounced sin a malison, a collection of recrement. He then spoke the words of absolution to me, which served as a roborant. He also attempted to vaticinate regarding the end times, but his words lacked fatidical conviction.

Aerin said...

Hey Rev - I didn't know Lutherans took formal confession. And references to theology and postmodernism make me swoon. Do you like Marcus Borg?

Moonie, my entry is forthcoming. I hope.

Daniel W. Powell said...

“Why?” she howled. “Why would you sell her?”
The finances of beauty aren’t something you can readily explain to a five year old.
“Sweetheart, you need to consider how stabling her will impact our lives. She’s fubsy. You can’t say she’s not. And she won’t exuviate another coat. That’s what the veterinarian said, and you know how much a dragon coat is worth.”
“Dad, I don’t care! I don’t…” she started, but then her face went adobe red. She held her breath for a moment and then she let it go. “No! Nooo! She’s my friend. You can’t let Cynthia go! Not…not ever!”
I love my girl, but she might be a bit confused.
I run over 200 dragon on this tiny stretch of strata. But really, is it compossible for this aging beauty to live with all of the young fire-breathers?
Seriously. Give them time, they’d tear her apart.
Think about it. The jury’s really still out on ranching dragon. I’ve always thought it an olid conflagration, to speak the truth.
No, I’d like to take Cynthia into town and try to peddle her.
She’s been with us far too long to treat her like anything other than what she is: royalty.
We’ll hope to find a sire, and we’ll pray that she doesn’t feel bad about all of this.
I don’t consider myself a niddering idiot, but I fear that my periapt will not protect me from Cynthia.
Confession: God help me, but I needed the money.

revalkorn said...

Aerin--I have to say I've never heard of Marcus Borg.

Though many Lutherans today do not participate in private Confessiona and Absolution, our Lutheran doctrinal documents allow and even encourage its use. Unfortunately, some Lutherans see it as "too Roman Catholic", which is a sad excuse to abandon God's gifts.

sheila said...

My word processor already thinks these words are dead, sadly. I probably misused some of these, but I wanted to use them all. Here goes-

“You niddering, fubsy, mass of olid recrement!”

“My dear Nellie, no need to vilipend me with your agrestic malison. Your oppugnant caducity only serves to embrangle the situation. Can we not continue with compossible mansuetude? Or does your muliebrity preclude such?”

“An abstergent to your soul!”

“What’s that skirr? No! A roborant periapt! The vaticinate is apodeictic!”

“Ha! ‘Tis fatidical. This nitid amulet will exuviate the griseous calignosity from your being. And it was hidden all along, in your very own coin pouch.”



Precie said...

Nothing like a deadline to get me moving.

Here's my extemporaneous entry:

The agrestic shopkeeper dangled a nitid periapt above the counter. It had the power to vaticinate, he said, and the innocence of the wearer worked a roborant influence.

My older sister Olivia, ever fatidical, was quick to vilipend him. “Leave us alone. Else I shall inform my father that you are spreading such recrement.”

Not wanting to appear niddering or oppugnant, for at the time I still believed those to be characteristics of muliebrity , I approached the old and fubsy man with mansuetude, despite the olid stench that filled the air around him. As I came closer, his corner of the shop seemed to drift into caliginosity. I paused and fetched a handkerchief from my satchel. Using it as an abstergent, I hoped to clear my head of the embrangling, to exuviate whatever veil had fallen upon me.

As I reached the counter, I could see that, beneath his griseous hair and his masquerade of eccentric caducity, his eyes were clear and piercing. Before I could speak, my sister uttered a malison I have never heard since. We heard a skirr rising to a crescendo around the building, but Olivia, proving the apodeictic bonds of sisterhood, pulled me out the door. Family proves in quotidian fashion that love and hate are compossible.

Kate Barnes said...

Greetings! This was fun. Posted in my new blog, which features an obscure "word of the day."

I also managed to i nclude all the words.

Cassandra pleaded with the officer.

“A fubsy female with griseous hair is captive in an olid oubliette! She’s in an agrestic region, covered in recrement! She’s donned a jade periapt! Heed my fatidical words! She’s in peril!

The officer looked confused. “Ma’am, you seem to be upset about something. If you’ll stop the hysterics, and talk slowly, maybe we could see what’s the matter.”

“Officer, my intention is not to embrangle, and I assure you, I suffer no caducity. My apodeictic vaticinations do not deserve disdain. My sesquipedalian speech is with veracity compossible! I am typically the very portrait of mansuetude.

The officer sneered. “Look, if you can’t speak English, don’t waste my time.”

“Do not vilipend me, sir. If your niddering attitude stems from my muliebrity, I may yet become oppugnant. There is a woman in need of abstergent, she's petrified, huddled in caliginosity, awaiting avail! I beg you, please, ignore the malison of obfuscatory language!”

The officer signaled for assistance to remove the unintelligible woman.

Taking the hint, Cassandra started to leave the station. If the police would not help her save the unfortunate woman, she would go alone.

“I will leave you and your netid environs. Your disregard serves as roborant to my resolve.”

With that, she left the station, as pigeons scattered in a skirr before her purposeful stride.

Alan said...

Some great little yarns here! I've come a bit late to this one, but I've tried to help the cause on my own site. I put together a story with all 24 words, but it's more than the 250 word count suggested here! Anyway, check it out if you like:

Let's save the words!

Nix said...

Wow, I know this is so old (and I guess now I have to admit that I've been reading through the archives) but I also came across this list somewhere a couple of years ago and I just had to do something about it. I decided to use about 15 words in a short story for my creative writing class ... of course, my professor/classmates tore apart every word and asked me if i wrote the story with a thesaurus on my lap, but hey! It was my project, and I'm glad I did it! Words should never be forgotten.

And as a semi-anonymous stranger reading your blog, thanks for being awesome :)