9 Interesting Old English Words

English is one of the ever-evolving languages. It is amazing how new words keep popping up, but it is also sad how some words have become forgotten, although they could still be used nowadays in my opinion.

The thing with old English words is that once forgotten, they can never be remembered: even if sometimes you find yourself at a loss for words and you cannot exactly describe the given situation with any of the modern-day terms that you’re familiar with, you still don’t use old and boring words that you have once read. Why you ask? They are simply not used enough to remain remembered.

I came across a couple of old English words that one of my friends posted on their Facebook timeline. These words really intrigued me and I decided to do a little research just for laughs. I found quite a few very interesting words, some of which I think could still be used, while the others were clearly forgotten for an obvious reason. Check them out!

1-     To egrote: to fake sickness to avoid work. (I have a modern reaction to this verb: seems legit :D)

2-     To fudgel: to pretend to work when you’re not actually doing anything at all. (Word used in the eighteenth century. Too bad it’s no longer used, because it is really useful!)

3-     Banshee: a female spirit who wails to warn of impending death. (an Irish term)

4-     To groke: to look at somebody while they’re eating, hoping that they’ll give you some of their food. (This is originally a Scots term applied only to dogs, as they give their owners a plaintive look whenever the latter are eating. However, groking can be applied to us humans, too. How many times have you gazed with sad, soulful eyes at your colleague while they open their box of chocolates and dig in?)

5-     A pedeconference: to hold a meeting while walking. (I can definitely see myself using this term!)

6-     To brabble: to argue loudly about something that doesn’t actually matter. (This word could actually come in handy)

7-     To uhtceare:  to wake up before dawn and be unable to go back to sleep because you’re worried about something. (Uht – pronounced oot – meant the hour before sunrise while ceare is the old term for the modern English “care”)

8-     To freck: to move swiftly. (I love the sound of this verb and I can think of many ways to put it in a sentence! It’s sad that it is no longer used.)

9-     Twitter-light: twilight. (This term was used in the early seventeenth century, although it seems quite modern. It actually has nothing to do with social media and is a really romantic word that refers to the hours as the sun setting)


Do you know any other interesting old English words? Please share them in the comments!



  • Gabriela

    I can’t think of any more English words, but I can surely take a look at Spanish old words and post about them.
    That fudgel word, we really should start a campaign to revive that so usefull word!
    My best from Lima, Peru.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm Reply
    • admin

      Dear Gabriela,

      I’d love to publish your contribution as a guest post! Please consider the idea of writing about old Spanish words 🙂

      Cheers from Beirut, Lebanon.


      November 10, 2013 at 5:49 am Reply
      • Gabriela

        I will! And I will let you know!

        November 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm Reply
        • admin

          Awesome then! 😀

          Let’s keep in touch 🙂


          November 17, 2013 at 4:50 am Reply
  • Gabriela

    Hi there:
    I was finally able to collect nine old Spanish words and put them together on my blog.
    Best regards!

    December 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm Reply
    • admin

      Hi, Gabriela!

      Thanks a lot! I clicked on the link and although I’m sure your blog post is very enriching, I do not speak Spanish, unfortunately 🙂

      I know a couple of colleagues who do, however, and I’ll ask for their help as I’m sure I will enjoy your post!

      December 8, 2013 at 10:06 pm Reply
      • Gabriela

        Please, feel free to ask me for any help. I think you can find my e-mail on the fields I’ve filled down.

        December 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm Reply

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