Language – Love It or Lose It

A word is for life – not just for Christmas

Language is such a pleasure that it’s almost impossible to imagine words going out of use. But of course they do, retiring like vaudeville performers past their prime to rest homes in antiquarian dictionaries. I’m not sure they are past their prime. Most of them are just a bit jaded and need some time off before roaring back into public consciousness, full of viagra and phyllosan. And let’s not forget, 60 is the new 40.

So I’m delighted to hear of a website, Save the Words, which seeks to rescue older words from oblivion by getting people to adopt them. An article in Sunday’s Guardian has the story.

The website for Save the Words operates on the pet shop window principle. There they are, looking all cute and cuddly, and (literally) calling out to be chosen like any puppy or kitten.

What does adoption entail? It means dropping your adopted word into conversations and/or writing. I had already adopted divagate, meaning to ramble or digress, even before hearing about Save our Words. I thoroughly enjoy my divagations, although I’m not sure my interlocutors do. By which I mean the other participants in a conversation rather than the middle man in a line of minstrels who acts as announcer and banters with the performers at each end.

That’s not a situation you come across very often these days outwith re-runs of the Black and White Minstrel Show. Here’s a video, if you’ve not seen it. Yes, I know. Bizarre, isn’t it? Oh, go on then. Here’s part 2.

I think I’m big-hearted enough to adopt more than one word. To that end, I have added a Word of the Week feature on the side bar. This gives each word 7 whole days of fame (eat your heart out, Andy Warhol), followed by congenial company on the Dictionary Page. There will be a few neologisms in there as well, so the old ‘uns have some bottoms to slap.

And I promise to take them out for a walk every day to re-introduce them to polite society. I just hope polite society is ready.

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