Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Save the Words

90% of everything we communicate is done with only 7,000 words. I just read that on a fascinating website called savethewords.org. The screen is filled with words that are slipping out of usage and in risk of disappearing altogether. The words are animated and keep calling out ‘over here!’ and ‘choose me!’ It's hilarious but you'll have to visit it for yourself to obtain the full amusement value.

The Guardian Newspaper ran an article about the site this week. They urged us all to adopt a word, slip it into our conversations, emails, letters, reports, blogs and all manner of places to save it from extinction. 

It’s not hard to see why some words are on the way out. They’re not exactly relevant. [If they’re relevant to you then apologies but please start using them!] Here are just a few:

Stiricide = falling of icicles from a house
Sevous = like tallow
Frutescent = looking like a shrub

On the other hand, there are many words that deserve to be rescued. Here are three of my favourites:

Blateration = blabber or chatter
Woundikins = mild profanity
Piladex = a game where an inflated bag is hit with the hand across a table

Of course, it’s us lot who make it difficult for people to use obscure words. We’re apt to make fun, tease, say,
‘Oooooh, get him! He’s swallowed a dictionary for breakfast!’ 

As I write this, BBC Radio 2 is playing in the background. The language used by the DJs is simple and uncomplicated. It’s the sort of language that the majority of us hear and use every day. We have not only allowed, but have played a significant part in the dumbing down of our own lovely language. Isn’t that a shame?

I think we should join forces and try to turn this trend around. I’m going to adopt my three favourite words. Blateration describes the way I talk on the phone – I know it does! Woundikins is so cute even if it does mean a mild profanity, and piladex sounds like my type of game, not too energetic but with a bit of competitiveness to spur me on.

Anyway, enough of my blaterations. I do hope you’re all going to visit savethewords.org and adopt a word or I shall have to resort to woundikins! And now, anyone for a game of piladex?



  1. I just love that word, woundikins, it sounds too cute to be anything but a pleasant remark. I've taken you advice and had a look at the web site. Here are a couple more words.
    Plegnic - blow, striking like a hammer.
    Helctic - to draw out.

    Now I'm off to write a few sentences with my new words...thank you...Hugs & licks from the little rascals....washed of course x

  2. Hi Pauline, it's a great site, isn't it. Glad it's inspired you too.

  3. I'm off to check it out now! Sounds like a great idea, and I love learning new words!

  4. I will pop over directly and choose a word or two in an effort to save it from the endangered list.

  5. Thanks Talli and Ann. Yet more words saved. Yay!

  6. I LIKE woundikins!! That's my kind of word! I'm off to check out the site - thanks! :)

  7. Roz - how could you! Where is that word that we learnt last year that you promised me faithfully you would one day use in your blog. The only problem is, is that I've forgotten what it is.

  8. Hi Jemi, it is a cute little word, isn't it ;-) Hope you've found some equally cute/amusing ones for yourself.

  9. Hi Judy, I haven't forgotten it. I have a note of it and I will use it very soon. Watch this space... as they say ;-)

  10. Yes I love that Save the Words site. My own mission is to start using some of the words (mostly Scottish) that have dropped out of my life. So you may catch me swithering, havering or warsling in the near future!

  11. All very interesting, Alison, but what does it mean?!?

  12. OK - I just have to adopt 'ten-cent store'.
    Over here we are multi-cultural and multi- currency.
    We have 'one dollar' stores and 2 shekel stores and one and a half shekel stores.....and then they lowered their price to '99 agorot stores' ( 100 agorot = 1 shekel = 23 cents / 16P

    By the way I've been using woundikins for ages - only by me it means a little wound!!
    as in " oh did you hurt yourself - let Bubby kiss your little woundikins....."
    Well we can't all be perfect can we !!

  13. Hi Ann, you have stores that sell things for 24p and under? Gosh. I think you can only buy fruit chews here for less than 24p but I'm sure it's all relative.

    'Let Bubby kiss your woundikins,' sounds familiar. I rather think I've said similar myself.

  14. I love words and this week my new word will be "Lubency". I think the website is wonderful, interesting and so funny. Mind you I don't know the meaning of half the words I use in every day life, so taking on a bunch of new ones could prove quite a challenge. I bet the hits on savethewords.org have multiplied since your fascinating blog went out. So it is with much lubency that I will be incorporating my new word into every email, letter and text sent out in the next 7 days. Much Love and Hugs x x x
    ah I can hear you say “but what does it mean”.................. it means willingness; pleasure. :-)

  15. It is with much lubency that I thank you, Rifka, for your comment (and for providing the definition!)I shall try to remember to include the word in my many blatterations this week. (I do blatter quite a lot, don't I! Wonder if you can say blatter? You can now!)