Much like fashion, language has a way of evolving over the years. Some words and phrases have remained in use for centuries, while some have fallen out of favor. Others are still in use but have evolved considerably. Here, for instance, are 36 old words we use today but with completely new meanings.
Of all the archaic turns of phrase out there, old insults are some of the most amusing. Nowadays we might call someone a showoff, but in the early 18th century one might have used the word cockalorum, which draws to mind a strutting rooster.
These days we may refer to someone as unambitious or lazy, but a few hundred years ago the same person may have been called a scobberlotcher, a word that first appeared in print in 1697, and was used to describe idle students who count the trees to pass the time.
Whether they’re describing someone cowardly, dishonest, pessimistic, or vulgar, these disparaging words and phrases are bound to amuse those who use them, if not the people they are directed at. Some date as far back as the 15th century, while others were commonly in use in the 20th century but have since gone out of style. (Here are popular slang words no one uses anymore.)
To find colorful forgotten insults that ought to be revived, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several sources, including Merriam Webster dictionary and Reader’s Digest.
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