Introductions: Abandoned Words

This week, like last week, is brought to you courtesy of my old writing journals. A little back story may be necessary so let me start by telling you about one of my all-time favorite short story writers, William Sydney Porter, otherwise known as O. Henry. I haven’t read a single story I didn’t love! Henry has a way of fleshing out characters in just a few short sentences that makes them almost immediately relatable. He is a master of wit and wordplay, and he almost always surprises you with a twist, just at the end of the story. Basically, he’s everything I want to be when I grow up! And he actually used words that I’d never heard of in his stories. I would sit on the couch (next to my goldfish, Norman) and read collections of O. Henry’s short stories with a dictionary close at hand.

It was during one of these reading times that I decided to try to revive some of these old words, to give them life again. I began collecting them and attempting to use them in my daily conversations or papers for school. A few months after I began my collection, a website popped up where you could actually adopt a word and I really enjoyed browsing there (until it closed down). It’s been a while since I made a list of abandoned words but here are a few of my favorites from O. Henry’s collected works:

Prospicient – having foresight

Chapfallen (or chopfallen) – dejected or dispirited

Recusant – refusing to submit to authority; dissenting

Insouciant – happily unconcerned; carefree; nonchalant

Inveterate – firmly established; habitual

Do you look up words while reading? What are a few of your favorite words people seem to have forgotten?


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