In 2008, the Oxford English Dictionary launched a site called SavetheWords.org in an attempt to put the “lure” back into literature (which is, in fact, in there somewhere if you scramble the letters around). The site listed hundreds of “lost” or “dying” words that users could “adopt” for themselves and popularize, words that either fell out of use years ago or possessed a level of awesome that intimidated English speakers. Because I love words like I love my non-existent children, I was not able to choose just one to “save” from a horrific dictionary death. Some of them are just too great. For example:
What you may think it means: one who impregnates others
What it actually means: female power that generates or gives birth to something, or someone who gives birth to new ideas, thoughts and projects
As much as I hate the use of “pregnant” as a verb (no, Professor, the book was not “pregnant” with emotion, no matter how fat it looked), this noun is pretty spiffy. Pregnatress refers to the level of influence a woman (or man) has over others. What makes Michelle Obama so incredibly alluring? Pregnatress. (Also, her bangs.) Why do I dream of becoming Kate Middleton at night? Pregnatress. (Also, HER bangs.) Why do people find it hard to dislike Zooey Deschanel? Pregnatress. (Or the bangs…) Pregnatress can also refer to a person that wields such influence. If you’re looking to become a pregnatress, simply develop an opinion worthy of respect. Or get bangs. Whichever is easiest.
What you may think it means: a poison used to kill magistrates
What it actually means: the killing of one’s master or teacher
Derived from the latin words “magister” (meaning “teacher”) and “caedere” (meaning “to kill”), magistricide literally means the act of killing your instructor. While it may not be a very nice term, it is a practical one, as you can finally put a word to the anger you feel every time your teacher hands back an essay with a poor grade.
What you may think it means: to transform into Barack Obama
What it actually means: to arm against
I don’t know the origin of this one, nor do I care because now instead of saying “We must arm ourselves against the enemy” I can say “We must obarmate ourselves against the enemy” which definitely spices up my battle call. However, for those of you who don’t appreciate the real definition nor the made up definition of this word, I will propose a third definition: to mate with Obama. There. I said it. Sue me.
What you may think it means: one’s attitude towards pigs
What it actually means: slothfulness
Surprisingly, pigritude has nothing to do with sassy pigs or your attitude towards them. Instead, pigritude is a synonym for “laziness,” as in, “Your pig’s pigritude is really getting on my nerves” or something of the like.
What you may think it means: a lard baby (like a piglet but made of lard)
What it actually means: a small piece of bacon that one puts in a recipe
Are you picturing a blob of lard with little legs and bulging eyeballs? A hamster lard, if you will? Well you shouldn’t be because lardlet actually means a sprinkle of bacon used to enrich the flavor of a dish. A lardlet is not a pet. It will not follow you around and bite your ankles. It will not kiss your face in the morning to wake you up. It will not eat your favorite stuffed animal and poop it back up on your pillow a few hours later. It will sit in a pan and sizzle harmlessly. Nothing to fear here.
What you may think it means: to turn something into pudding
What it actually means: to cause to be ashamed
Contrary to what you may believe, this is not a long lost spell from Harry Potter that automatically turns your enemy into a towering pudding statue. Pudify means “to bring shame upon” as in “Your comments about my Pajama Jeans do not pudify me! I love them just the same!” (Provided example is based on a true story.)
Though the site has since been discontinued, its message still stands: the English language needs saving. So get some bangs, find some followers and give these words a voice. The world could use another pregnatress.