Giving Old Words New Life

Aug 12, 2013

Credit zolierdos via Flickr Creative Commons

Language evolves. Try reading Chaucer or Shakespeare, or even watching an early 20th-century movie and listen for the words or expressions that have grown obsolete and others that take on new meanings or popularity. You may not refer to a bar-fight as a ‘brannigan,’ for example, but you might say, “‘hang out’ with a friend” …that last phrase was invented way back in the eighteen forties. Linguist and author Arika Okrent compiled a list of words that are much older than they sound for “The Week,” and she told us a little more about them.