Words come and go in the English language, but there are definitely a few archaic ones that are worth sprinkling into today’s conversations. Whether you want to use a word with a ridiculously specific definition or a word that’s just fun to say, here are some old-timey words we need to bring back from the past:
1. Bijoux (noun)
Originating from the French language, bijoux is the plural noun version of jewelry or trinkets. Let’s be honest: do you really need the singular version if you’re going to use this word while rocking all your bling (but if you’re really curious, “bijou” is the singular version)?
“Check out the bijoux I ordered online. They’re so sparkly and beautiful!”
2. Bruit (noun)
A Middle English word, it means “report” or “rumor.” It can also be used as a verb if you so desire.
“Did you hear about the bruit that’s spreading across campus?”
3. Caviler (noun)
Not to be confused with “cavalier,” this word refers to a person who raises trivial objections. You know exactly who this person is.
“Ugh Mark is such a caviler; every time we say an idea, he always has some sort of ridiculous issue with it.”
4. Crinkum-crankum (noun)
First documented in 1670, this word refers to an elaborate decoration or detail, perhaps one that skews on the more excessive side. It’s one of the best words to say aloud.
“The crinkum-crankum on this shirt collar might be a bit much, but it does make it memorable.”
5. Egad (interjection)
This expression is most likely an old-timey version of “oh God.” You can use it to express a range of emotions, from surprise to anger.
“Egad I can’t believe that Matt and Jackie just broke up!”
6. Fainéant (noun)
This is another word with French origin. You can use it to describe an idle or ineffective person.
“He just sat on the couch and played video games all day; he’s such a fainéant!”
7. Fan-tods (noun)
If you’ve read Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, you might recognize this word. When you’re in a state of apprehension or restlessness, this is the word to use.
“The time between taking a test and getting my grade always gives me the fan-tods.”
8. Gadzooks (interjection)
This word’s first known use occurred in 1694. The second interjection on this list, use this word to express your surprise or annoyance.
“Gadzooks! I can’t believe I forgot to lock my car again!”
If you’re looking for additional emotive words, check out this list of interjections.
9. Otiose (adjective)
In the late 18th century, this word was used as a description for when something didn’t produce a result or serve a purpose. It’s also an old-fashioned way to say “lazy.” Both are valid meanings.
“If you’re going to eat cereal, using a fork would be otiose.”
10. Peregrinate (verb)
With its first known use recorded in 1593, this is the oldest word on this list. When you want to use another word for “travel,” or when you want to communicate the idea of wandering from place to place, this is your word.
“While at the mall, I peregrinated from store to store, shopping with no clear purpose.”
11. Picaroon (noun)
This word comes from the Spanish word “picarón.” Use it to identify the scoundrel in your life.
“This picaroon thought he could just take my money and get away with it.”
12. Quaggy (adjective)
Fun to say aloud, this word first appeared in 1610. Its highly specific definition of describing an area as marshy or boggy may not permit you to use it often, but it’s worth saying when in the right situation.
“This quaggy area is home to all sorts of diverse plants and animals.”
13. Rapscallion (noun)
This old-timey word originates from a word we currently use: rascal. If you don’t want to use “picaroon” from earlier on this list, you can also use this word to describe a scoundrel.
“A rapscallion at heart, Chris was always looking for ways to be mischievous.”
14. Scruple (noun)
Though nowadays this word is used to describe a feeling of hesitation, it’s worth bringing back for its old-timey definition. If you want to describe a very small amount of something, this is your word.
“I hate carrots, so I only eat a scruple of them at dinner.”
15. Zounds (interjection)
This expression can trace its roots back to 1592. If you want to exclaim your surprise or indignation, try out this exclamation.
“Zounds! That creepy Halloween decoration that popped up from nowhere scared me!”
Not sure if you’re using those old-time words right? Run your essay through our grammar and plagiarism checker for a quick proofread. You can even create an APA citation or MLA citation for this article (or any source you use) with our tools.