EVERY year, an array of new words are added to the dictionary to describe modern-day phenomenon. But it seems many old colourful favourites are in danger of dying out.


How so?

Researchers have found that many terms older generations would consider to be relatively common parlance are not at all familiar to younger age groups and if they remain underused, could eventually become extinct.


Words such as…?

The survey found that the word most young Brits aged 18 to 30 had never heard of was ‘sozzled’, used to describe someone who is very drunk, which 40% of respondents said they were unaware of.



Of the panel of 2000 spoken to, 37% had never heard of cad - a man who is dishonest or treats others badly - while the same number had never heard of the expression ‘bonk’ in reference to sexual intercourse.


Don’t be a ‘wally’…

Another outdated word losing favour is ‘wally’, with 36% saying they didn’t know it described a silly person, while 29% hadn’t heard of being ‘betrothed’, as in to be engaged to be married; 28% had never heard of nincompoop to describe a silly person and the same amount of people didn’t know that having a ‘boogie’ means dancing to pop music.



Not so, as ‘balderdash’ - meaning senseless nonsense - is included in the top 10 list of the most unheard words, along with ‘trollop’ - an outdated term to describe a woman who has many casual sexual encounters and ‘bounder’, to reference a dishonourable man.



Padding out the top 20 words young Brits are not aware of are ‘henceforth' - from this time on; ‘yonks’, as in a long time; 'lush', as in lovely or very good; 'tosh' as in nonsense and 'swot' to refer to someone who studies hard. Other outdated words include 'brill', as in excellent; 'kerfuffle,' as in a commotion; ‘randy', to mean excited; 'disco' as in a club or party and 'minted', meaning to have a lot of money.


Not everyone is bothered by the language shift?

Researchers further learned that 40 per cent of all age groups believe it is right for some words to be consigned to the past, if they are insulting or old fashioned. More than a third agreed that many words are simply not relevant today, while more than a quarter said they feel the English language is constantly evolving and that this is a good thing.


Older groups are sad, though?

From the over-50s, 32% said they were sad some words were dying out. Evie Porter, of Perspectus Global, which commissioned the research, said: “Our research shows that many words are simply losing favour, with millennials having no idea of their meaning.”


Keeping the flag flying?

As an etymologist, Susie Dent, who sits in Dictionary Corner on the TV show Countdown, studies the origin and history of words and makes sure to tweet regularly about older words that have fallen out of use. Just yesterday, she tweeted: “It’s time for my annual mention of ‘hurkle-durkling’ - 18th-century Scottish slang for lounging about/lying in bed when it’s long past the time to get moving.”