From ‘gadzooks’ to ‘airhead’, researchers reveal the once-popular slang words that are dying out in modern language – so how many do YOU use?
- Experts have revealed the common slang that will make you look out of fashion
- Revealed how ‘doobie’, a word meaning marijuana, died out three years ago
- They also charted a few words that had been used in the time of Queen Victoria
Experts have revealed the common slang that is no longer used – and will instantly ruin your street credentials.
On the list compiled by digital subscription service Readly, they reveal how ‘doobie’, a word meaning marijuana, died out three years ago, while ‘gadzooks’, used to express surprise or annoyance, was last en vogue when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.
Word historians created the list by searching the 4,000 magazines available on the digital service, to spot when words first started to appear and began to fall out of use.
Among the oldest linguistic casualties are ‘beat feet’, meaning to go for a run, which vanished in 1985, and airhead, used to describe a ‘silly’ person, which was dropped in 2006.
Experts have revealed the common slang that is no longer used by analysing when the words started to appear and disappear from magazines, such as ‘doobie’ meaning marijuana (stock image)
Elsewhere ‘knuckle sandwich’, meaning to punch someone in the face, came to the end of its time in 2001, while naval term ‘caboose’, a kitchen on a ship’s deck, set sail for the word graveyard back in 1976.
Charting the ebb and flow of words in the UK’s English, they also highlighted words from the time of Queen Victoria and William the Conqueror, that have also found their way out of modern speech.
‘Slugabed’, for example, was first recorded in 1592 and used to define someone that is ‘lazy and spends too long in bed’ – vanishing a year before the end of the First World War.
And 1099 phrase ‘loathly’, meaning something that is repulsive, didn’t get past the start of the Second World War.
GADZOOKS! WHICH ‘DEAD’ WORDS DO YOU STILL USE?
WORD AND MEANING
Doobie, a marijuana or joint
Gnarly, means good or cool
Burn rubber, driving a fast car
Airhead, a ‘stupid’ person
Knuckle Sandwich, hitting someone
Beat feet, to go for a run
Gadzooks, surprise or annoyance
Caboose, kitchen on ships deck
Sweetmeat, item of confectionery
Caboose, a kitchen on a ship’s deck
Rapscallion, a mischievous person
Pelf, money gained dishonestly
Scapegrace, a mischievous person
WHEN DID IT DIE OUT?
In carrying out the research, experts said that words like ‘gallant’ remained in frequent use (having been recorded 3239 times) since 1562, the insult ‘lurdan’, meaning an idle or incompetent person, did not appear once.
Readly’s UK MD and Chief Content Officer Ranj Begley said: ‘Language is defined by our culture and the evolution of many different influences.
‘It’s interesting to see how some words have longevity and others have come and gone.
‘The rise of technology and social media has brought about so many new words and concepts that we are seeing used in the magazines on our platform today.’
The researchers also highlighted a plethora of new words that have entered the English language to champion the modern age.
These include so-called ‘fake news’, popularised by US President Donald Trump in 2016, ‘woke’, meaning a person alert to injustice, and ‘snowflake’ to describe a millennial.
Readly published a full list of the words it discovered and their timelines here.