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Experts reveal the common slang words that will make you look passe

From ‘gadzooks’ to ‘airhead’, researchers reveal the once-popular slang words that are dying out in modern language – so how many do YOU use?

  • Experts have revealed the common slang that will make you look out of fashion
  • Revealed how ‘doobie’, a word meaning marijuana, died out three years ago 
  • They also charted a few words that had been used in the time of Queen Victoria 

Experts have revealed the common slang that is no longer used – and will instantly ruin your street credentials.   

On the list compiled by digital subscription service Readly, they reveal how ‘doobie’, a word meaning marijuana, died out three years ago, while ‘gadzooks’, used to express surprise or annoyance, was last en vogue when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

Word historians created the list by searching the 4,000 magazines available on the digital service, to spot when words first started to appear and began to fall out of use. 

Among the oldest linguistic casualties are ‘beat feet’, meaning to go for a run, which vanished in 1985, and airhead, used to describe a ‘silly’ person, which was dropped in 2006.

Experts have revealed the common slang that is no longer used by analysing when the words started to appear and disappear from magazines, such as ‘doobie’ meaning marijuana (stock image) 

Elsewhere ‘knuckle sandwich’, meaning to punch someone in the face, came to the end of its time in 2001, while naval term ‘caboose’, a kitchen on a ship’s deck, set sail for the word graveyard back in 1976.

Charting the ebb and flow of words in the UK’s English, they also highlighted words from the time of Queen Victoria and William the Conqueror, that have also found their way out of modern speech.

‘Slugabed’, for example, was first recorded in 1592 and used to define someone that is ‘lazy and spends too long in bed’ – vanishing a year before the end of the First World War.

And 1099 phrase ‘loathly’, meaning something that is repulsive, didn’t get past the start of the Second World War.

GADZOOKS! WHICH ‘DEAD’ WORDS DO YOU STILL USE?

WORD AND MEANING

Doobie, a marijuana or joint

Gnarly, means good or cool

Burn rubber, driving a fast car

Airhead, a ‘stupid’ person

Knuckle Sandwich, hitting someone

Beat feet, to go for a run

Gadzooks, surprise or annoyance

Caboose, kitchen on ships deck 

Sweetmeat, item of confectionery

Caboose, a kitchen on a ship’s deck 

Rapscallion, a mischievous person

Pelf, money gained dishonestly 

Esurient, hungry 

Scapegrace, a mischievous person

 WHEN DID IT DIE OUT?

2016

2007

2007

2006

2001 

1985

1984

1976 

1974

1972 

1970

1950 

1947 

1943 

 

In carrying out the research, experts said that words like ‘gallant’ remained in frequent use (having been recorded 3239 times) since 1562, the insult ‘lurdan’, meaning an idle or incompetent person, did not appear once.

Readly’s UK MD and Chief Content Officer Ranj Begley said: ‘Language is defined by our culture and the evolution of many different influences. 

‘It’s interesting to see how some words have longevity and others have come and gone.

‘The rise of technology and social media has brought about so many new words and concepts that we are seeing used in the magazines on our platform today.’ 

The researchers also highlighted a plethora of new words that have entered the English language to champion the modern age.

These include so-called ‘fake news’, popularised by US President Donald Trump in 2016, ‘woke’, meaning a person alert to injustice, and ‘snowflake’ to describe a millennial.

Readly published a full list of the words it discovered and their timelines here. 

What ancient slang has died out? 

 WORD AND MEANING

Goodly attractive or virtuous

 Dispraise, censure or criticize

Scantling, a specimen, sample

Pelfmoney  gained dishonestly

Strumpet, a female prostitute

Periapt, a charm or amulet  

Animalcule,  a microscopic animal

Tantivy, a rapid gallop or ride

Purblind, short sighted

Slipshod, shoes worn out at the heel 

Mooncalf, a foolish person

Scaramouch, a boastful cowardly person 

Quidnunc, an inquisitive, gossipy person

 BIRTH AND DEATH 

1100 – 1628   

1400-1706

1555-1935 

1505-1950       

1578 -1646 

1584 -1892 

1662 – 1893

1641 – 1905 

1300 – 1648 

1580 -1847  

1614 – 1912 

1662 – 1898   

 

1709 -1905 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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