Do You Know the Meaning of These Antiquated Words?



By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Luis Alvarez/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

It really is a shame that some words have been left for the historians to document! Because you're here, we're going to make the presumption that you are a word aficionado, and we know that you know some fun words, too. But - do you know the antiquated words that we've dug all the way back to Napoleon to find? 

There's nary an obscure word we're failed to locate for this quiz, and we've tried our best to challenge your brain. While some of our antiquated words might be beyond comprehension, others will simply take a little thought to figure out. You won't need a doctorate degree, but we do suspect that you'll need to take advantage of the hints we have provided for you when you finally say "iwis!" 

The words we use now have deep origins, and we want to introduce you to a few them. If you already know the word, you already have a leg up. If not, you'll have to take your best guess. No matter how you choose to answer, we think you'll do well with the antiquated words we've given you. Prepare to be fascinated, and prepare to be challenged! How many of these words do you know? 

Debbie was often called the office quidnunc. What does quidnunc mean?

If you wanted to keep a secret from your coworkers, Debbie is the last person you would tell. Quidnunc is a word used to describe a gossipy person that dates all the way back to the 18th century. Quidnunc is taken from the Latin phrase that translates to "what now?"


Everyone in the village knew that Paul was a great husbandwife. What was Paul good at?

Instead of saying a farmer, people were fond of the word husbandwife. Taken from the Old English word "husbonda" which means keeper of the house, husbandwife later came to be known as the keeper of the farm.


Do you know what does it mean when a dog is groaking you?

During 1910, Author P.W. Joyce gave a definition to the word "groak" that has remained in play since then. When your dog is groaking you, they are staring at you while you eat while hoping that you drop a crumb. Dogs are simply natural at groaking.


It's always nice to take in a little apricity during February. Do you know what apricity means?

There's nothing better than feeling the sun's warm rays on a cold winter's day. Although now considered obsolete, apricity was once a fitting way to describe the warmth felt from the winter sun.


Maria was absolutely gorgonized by the laser light show. How was Maria feeling?

When you are left feeling gorganized by something, you are feeling mesmerized or stupefied. Taken directly from the Greek word gorgos, which means terrifying, it was used in Greek mythology to describe the Gorgons.


The entire classroom heard Mark's curmuring from across the room. What is curmuring?

Sometimes, there's no hiding the fact that you are hungry. In this case, Mark's curmuring was a sure indication that it was going to be time for lunch soon. Curmuring is a word used to describe the sound of a stomach rumble.


If you are lethophobic, what is your worst fear?

Those who suffer from lethophobia are constantly concerned with forgetting. A true lethophobic is someone who is terrified to forget a birthday, an event or even their own names. Although not commonly used these days, many disorders have roots in lethophobia.


How does your hair look when you have "elflock?"

The next time your boss asks you why your hair looks like you just got out of bed, the them that it's the newest style called "elflock." Elflock is an archaic way of describing the tangled, messy hair you might have when you wake up.


If you are having a brabble over dinner, what are you doing?

Should you need a more sophisticated word for the argument that breaks out over family dinner, the word brabble is always there for you. Brabble is a noun used in place of tiff or argument. It also means that the argument is of a petty nature.


When someone won't stop twattling, what are they incessantly doing?

Some of us are born quiet and like to get the point, and others are born to twattle and be heard. If someone is twattling, it means that they are idly talking about things that are not all that important.


Ara's friends think she is the snoutfair of the group. What do they mean by snoutfair?

When you hear the word snoutfair, you might automatically assume that we are talking about a carnival for farm animals. However, being called a snoutfair in the 1500s was anything but animalistic. Back then, it meant that you are pleasant on the eyes.


The teacher told Dale's parents that he is a monsterful student. What kind of student is Dale?

Dale's parents might have been shocked to hear the word monsterful used to describe their child, but it was a big compliment. Dating all the way back to a 1785 slang dictionary, monsterful means wonderful or exceptional.


The game's results left Jason feeling grumpish. What was his demeanor like?

Once the game was over, Jason was sulky, grumpish and ill-tempered. Grumpish might not mean angry, but it does mean that someone is being testy and and letting their displeasure be known.


When you're feeling "doggo," what are you like?

Short for the phrase "lying doggo," you might say that you are feeling "doggo" when you want to be left alone. Wise advice says to let sleeping dogs lie, and the term "doggo" is a pointed way of rephrasing it.


Georgie was trying to excogitate her yearly vacation. What was she trying to do?

Excogitating is the act of planning, thinking or learning something new. As Georgie thought about her yearly vacation, she knew that she had a lot of little details to plan, so she got to work!


What is the weather like if it's "lumming" outside?

Springtime "lumming" is the beautiful flowers we see outside every year. When it is lumming outside, it is pouring down with rain. Some might say that it's pouring cats and dogs, but we think that "lumming with rain" is a much nicer phrase.


Many people like taking the polar plunge for the curglaff. What is a curglaff?

Just when you think there isn't a word for everything, you meet the word curglaff. A curglaff is a noun that means the feeling of shock you feel when you jump into a body of cold water. The polar plunge is a great change to acquaint yourself with a curglaff.


If you are standing betwixt strangers, where are you standing?

We're sure you probably got it right, but standing betwixt strangers means that you are standing between them. Evolved from the Old English word "betweox," betwixt is a very British way of saying you're in the middle.


Leslie felt that her life was rather wanion lately. Which word also means wanion?

Earlier cultures believed that the waning state of the moon was the most unlucky time in the cycle. As a result, the word "wanion" evolved from the word "waning," and it came to be a Middle English way of saying "going through an unlucky period in time."


Every judge should have soothfast state of mind. What does soothfast mean?

In Middle English, the word "sooth" means truth. Throughout history, you will find mentions of soothsayers and those who are soothfast. In our scenario, all judges should approach their work with a truthful, just and soothfast mindset.


Martha got up early because it was time to swink. What was it time for Martha do to?

Life takes a lot of hard swink! Even in the days of Middle English, working was considered a part of everyday life. Maria heard the alarm and she got up because it was time to go to work and to toil away for the day.


Your boss tells you that your work is enow. What does your boss mean?

Still sometimes used in the United Kingdom, enow is another way of saying enough. It might sound like a form of modern media, but the use of enow can be found earlier than any mention of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.


You're feeling "chuffy" about the work you've done. What does chuffy mean?

You can't get past a British person without hearing the word "chuffed." Chuffed means that you are happy and proud of something, and that you have no regrets. At some point during the early 20th century, chuffed became "chuffy," but both mean the same.


When Sarah heard the news, she responded with, "Alack!" What does alack mean?

An archaic expression to say that you are dismayed or have a feeling of regret is to say, "Alack!" Alack might sound like something is missing, but it's an Old World way of expressing something that you are unhappy about.


If you hear someone exclaiming gardyloo, what do they want you to do?

Although it was used into the 1940s, gardyloo is a word that dates all the way back to Scotland. In loose terms, it means watch out. Back then, it meant to watch out for the contents of a chamber pot being chucked out the window. Gardyloo, indeed!


The sun iwis will be seen tomorrow. Can you figure out what iwis means?

Of course! Certainly! Without a doubt! All of these expressions mean the same thing as the word iwis. Iwis might not be used much these days, but it was a frequently used word before the 1800s.


The cabin was located in a nigh place. Where was the cabin?

Now that we've mentioned the word "nigh," we're sure that you remember hearing the phrase "the end is nigh." Meaning nearby, the cabin is close and the end isn't too far away either. When you hear the word, remember that it means close.


There was nary a doughnut left after the meeting. How many doughnuts were left?

Who leaves doughnuts at a meeting? Apparently, no one. Nary a soul leaves a doughnut on the table after a meeting. Nary is another way of saying zilch, nada, zero, and absolutely none. There's nary a day that goes by that we don't cheer for this word to make a big comeback.


Peradventure, you already know what "peradventure" means. Do you?

Peradventure, you've already figured out that "peradventure" means perhaps. A British adaptation of the French phrase "per auenture," which means by chance, peradventure has come to simply mean maybe.


You can see a camelopard at the zoo. What is a camelopard?

A derivative of the Greek word "kaemelos" and the British word "pard," the giraffe was once called the camelopard. The next time you visit the zoo, drag your crew to see the camelopards. Challenge them to guess what you're talking about?


You were a real sluberdegullion over the weekend. What were you like?

Whether we admit it or not, some of us are real sluberdegullions on the weekend. As far as we are concerned, weekends are for relaxing, staying in your pajamas and being as slovenly as you like. There's nothing wrong with being a sluberdegullion once in a while!


How is your best friend acting when they are being "beef-witted?"

Steers can be aggressive, but the term "beef-witted" actually means to behave in a stupid manner. If your best friend is being beef-witted, they are not making the best choices. We do not recommend using the word "beef-witted" to tell them, though.


Some might say that Napolean is a cockalorum. What does cockalorum mean?

Napoleon might have been a powerful person at one point, but he was considered quite the cockalorum to his enemies. The first instances of the word go all the way back to 1710. We're sure that Napoleon heard how much small man syndrome showed the world more than once.


When you step outside and you feel "shinnicked," how are you feeling?

We also like the word "benumbed," but nothing could compete with the word "shinnicked." Stepping outside in the middle of January can leave you feeling paralyzed with cold. Or, as they say in Old English, "shinnicked!"


If you've had a "bouffage," what have you had?

The next time you really want to impress your friends at a dinner party, thank them for a lovely "bouffage." A French word that describes a satisfying meal, "bouffage" made its way across the Channel and was used by the British elite for decades.


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