>A million words and counting

>The US-based Global Language Monitor reckons a new English word is coined every 98 minutes, and that we’ve just hit the “one million words in the language” mark – although there’s some debate about the validity of this claim, neatly summarised on The Guardian’s site here.

As a writer of English (that’s English English, naturally, US English being in my opinion an entirely foreign language) I say the more the merrier. However, just as we should be encouraged to renovate abandoned city slums before building in the green belt, let’s spare a thought for all those poor forgotten words that have slipped out of the vernacular.

For a delightful trip into a lost lexicographical past, you can do worse than visit The Phrontistery’s Compendium of Lost Words, with its list of words “that have been entirely absent from the Internet, including all online dictionaries, until now”. There you’ll find such gorgeous entries as bubulcitate (to act or cry like a cowherd), kexy (dry, brittle or withered) and weequashing (the spearing of fish or eels by torchlight from canoes).

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