6 English Words That May Be Going Obsolete
Have a pair of marvelous knickers you want to show off? Then you’re probably stuck in the early 2000s, because people nowadays prefer “awesome underwear.” According to a new study by researchers at Lancaster University, many Brits are ditching their vernacular vocabulary in favor of more “American” terms. In fact, there are a handful of traditionally British terms that are verging on obsolete, according to researchers. Here are some of those dearly departed words:
1. Cheerio (exclamation): goodbye
How are we going to poorly impersonate the English elite if we can’t use the word “cheerio?” “Top of the morning, to ya” is still fair game as far as greetings go (though it still mainly belongs to the Irish) but with cheerio on its way out, we will have no other choice but to tilt our cartoonishly large top hat, adjust our monocle, and mumble “see ya later.” Soon, only the elderly will remember that “cheerio” is not just a type of cereal.
2. Marvelous (adj.): causing great wonders; extraordinary
A great man once said: “Avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys–to woo women– and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.” That man was Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, and his instructions ring true with this word. A decade ago, people were using “marvelous” regularly to describe everyday occurrences. Now, marvelous and other descriptive adjectives have been overshadowed by one catch-all term: awesome. Don’t get me wrong, awesome is an awesome word, but using it in lieu of magnificent, superb, or splendiferous makes us lazy. Marvelous is a much better alternative.
3. Marmalade (n.): a preserve made from citrus fruit
Was “marmalade” too many letters? Or did people just get tired of trying to differentiate between marmalade and jam, and decide to stick with the shorter word instead? Either way, marmalade’s departure from the English vocabulary is disappointing. I guess we’ll just have to change the lyrics of Lady Marmalade to honor the term’s memory. “Mocha chocolata ya ya, yummy jelly marmalade!” (I realize the song and the fruit preserve are not at all related, but how else was I supposed to fit that reference in there?)
4. Fortnight (n.): a period of two weeks
We’ve now come to the most depressing loss of all. Apparently, fortnight has been on the decline for the past few years. What was once a legitimate measure of time has now become the butt of every “sophisticated British person” joke.
Bill: Sounding British is easy. “Salutations, Sir Phillip. I will continue my correspondence with you in a fortnight when I am no longer on holiday.”
See? I would urge anyone who still values the creativity of the English language to slip fortnight into as many conversations as possible, even when it’s not at all relevant, fortnight.
5. Pussycat (n.): a cat
I’m actually pretty okay with eliminating this term. With all of the slang connotations surrounding the first half of the word, I’d much rather cut out two syllables by simply saying “cat” than put up with the hushed titters that inevitably erupt when you say “pussycat.” On that note, I’d also avoid saying the word “titters” too.
6. Fetch (v.): to retrieve something
Is it wrong that the first thing I think of when I see the word “fetch” is Gretchen Wieners? So much so, that I had to actually Google “fetch definition” to remind myself how it could be used in a sentence? Probably. Well, it doesn’t really matter because the English have stopped using it altogether. I guess they realized that “Could you get me a cup of tea?” is better than “Fetch me a cup of tea,” which frankly sounds more like something you would say to your dog or a freakishly obedient butler.
There you have it. Proof that Americans are changing the world, one British phrase at a time.
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