Forgotten English

Overview

Have you ever sent a message via scandaroon, needed a nimgimmer, or fallen victim to bowelhive? Never heard of these terms? That's because they are a thing of the past. These words are alive and well, however, in Forgotten English, a charming collection of hundreds of archaic words, their definitions, and old-fashioned line drawings.

For readers of Bill Bryson, Henry Beard, and Richard Lederer, Forgotten English is an eye-opening trip down a delightful etymological path. Readers...

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Overview

Have you ever sent a message via scandaroon, needed a nimgimmer, or fallen victim to bowelhive? Never heard of these terms? That's because they are a thing of the past. These words are alive and well, however, in Forgotten English, a charming collection of hundreds of archaic words, their definitions, and old-fashioned line drawings.

For readers of Bill Bryson, Henry Beard, and Richard Lederer, Forgotten English is an eye-opening trip down a delightful etymological path. Readers learn that an ale connor sat in a puddle of ale to judge its quality, that a beemaster informed bees of any important household events, and that our ancestors had a saint for hangover sufferers, St. Bibiana, a fact pertinent to the word bibulous. Each selection is accompanied by literary excerpts demonstrating the word's usage, from sources such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Chaucer, and Benjamin Franklin. Entertaining as well as educational, Forgotten English is a fascinating addition to word lovers' books.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688166366
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 797,661
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Kacirk is a research aficionado with a special love for antique dictionaries. He lives in Marin County, California.
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Read an Excerpt

Crapandina
Early sixteenth-century name for a mineral, also known as a toad-stone or bufonite, to which extraordinary, if perhaps ironic, healing properties were attributed. The stone was supposed to be a "natural concretion" found in thehead of the common toad that acted as an antidote to poison. Thomas Lupton, in his 1579 A Thousand Notable Things, described how A toad-stone called crapandina, touching any part envenomed, hurt or stung, with rat, spider, waspe or any other venomous beast, ceases the paine or swelling thereof. He kindly informed his readers how to acquire this valuable stone:

Put a great or overgrowne tode into an earthen potte,
and put the same into an antes hyllocke, & cover the
same with earth, which tode at length antes wyll eate,
so that the bones of the toad and stone wyll be left in
the potte.

Dried toads were once found in home medicine cabinets in Devonshire, to be used for such purposes as making the following dropsy recipe from Elizabeth Wright's 1914 Rustic Speech and Folk-Lore: Take several large, fully-grown toads, place them ina vessel in which they can be burned without their ashes becoming mixed with any foreign matter. The odd belief in the efficacy of the crapandina is evident in the famous lines from Shakespeare's As You Like It:

Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

Copyright ) 1997 by Jeffrey Kacirk

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