Esoterica

Lexicographers class words that have fallen from use as archaic or obsolete, and here we designate them as esoteric. Two examples: The verb deliciate  – defined in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) as “to delight oneself; to indulge in feasting; to revel” – probably delighted America’s heartiest partiers, and perhaps the swells of the Roaring Twenties wondered about the tough who lent his surname to brannigan, slang for “brawl” or “carouse.”

For the moment, we focus on the archaic curglaff, the relatively new pareidolia, and forgotten curiosities beginning with ex- or ses-.* Words to stay tuned for include those that remain current but are little known – the likes of coriaceous (leathery) and hircine (characteristic of a goat, especially its odor). Whatever their nature, such words are unlikely to find a place in your vocabulary. But oh, will they come in handy when you tackle Scrabble or Words With Friends!

*Coming soon: The reason gruntled employees are nowhere to be found.