A letter of apology to neglected words

First aired on As It Happens (06/01/2012)

Dear Erstwhile,

How are you? I know it's been, uh, a while since I've used you in conversation or writing. Well, I've been busy, and to save time, I use shorter and more common synonyms like "former" when speaking to friends or sending emails to colleagues. It's not my intention to offend. You're still a wonderful, expressive word, and aesthetically and euphoniously pleasing, at least to me.

english-language-175.jpgBut, if I'm to be completely truthful, I've been cold to you. When I saw your inclusion in Wayne State University's annual list of 10 regrettably neglected English words, I realized how I've failed to give you the props you're due.

One of my pledges this year is to dust you off and take you out more. And not only you, but the other mistreated words on that list. Instead of telling someone their sweater looks old-fashioned, I'll describe it as antediluvian. During an NBA game, I'll point out that the Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo is prone to making passes that are parlous, not just risky. And the next time someone drags me to a movie in which Adam Sandler plays a brother and his twin sister, I know I'll be in for an execrable, not merely terrible, time.

My behaviour has been unjust and my utilization of the English language has been boorish at best. It's my hope that we can move on from this and rediscover the magic in our relationship.

Sincerely,

English-speaking humanity

To see the entire list of Wayne State University's 10 Neglected Words, click here. Which underused word would you like to see make a comeback? Let us know in the comments section below!


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