Column: Let’s give these words another try


Do you ever hear yourself use a word or phrase that makes you say, “I am becoming my parents?” It happens to me all the time. The biggest example is when something surprising happens and I blurt out, “Golly!” It sounds like I’m from the black-and-white “Leave It to Beaver” days.

While “golly” is still hanging in there like a loose tooth, I’ve been collecting a list of words that no one uses anymore — but I think they should. Here are some defunct words I think we should make re-funct.

This first word is one that holds a special place in my heart, seeing as I do this action all the time. The word is “latibulate,” which means to hide in a warm corner to escape the harsh conditions of the outside world. I feel like I’ve been latibulating since March 2020.

How about “uglyography”? It’s a 19th-century word that means “poor, illegible handwriting, and bad spelling and grammar.” Doctors are notorious for illegible handwriting, but I feel sorry for people who suffer from all the symptoms of uglyography — in a “bless your heart” kind of way.

We should definitely bring back “snollygoster,” as it has plenty of modern applications. The word means “a shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.” A snollygoster has an unquenchable thirst for power, but lacks the competence to fill the shoes of the office he desires Do you have a snollygoster representing your district?

The word “tarrydiddle” means “pretentious nonsense.” Have you heard a load of tarrydiddle come out of a D.C., snollygoster’s mouth? I’m sure you have. Synonyms for tarrydiddle include flim-flam, poppycock, bunk and balderdash.

Have you ever suffered from “apanthropy”? I certainly have. After all, apanthropy is the aversion to human company. It’s the desire to be by yourself. Since I have three kids and a dog, my apanthropy will never be satisfied.

I love this next one: hufty-tufty. I’m not sure if it ever took off in popular usage, but this late 16th-century word means “swaggering or bragging.” Hufty-tufty can be used as a noun or an adjective. If you’re ever playing a pick-up game of basketball at your local YMCA and you want to talk trash to your opponent, you can say something like, “Look at you over there feeling all hufty-tufty; you don’t have the skills to back it up.”

Are there any words you want to bring back from dictionaries past, or do you think this is all a bunch of tarrydiddle?