Muliebrity and other pertinent words

Some oppugnant people at Collins Dictionaries have decided to remove some little-known words from the dictionary – presumably to make more room for text speak, celebrity names and other passing fads. Now, I know that some of these words aren’t exactly in common parlance – but why not? I can think of many uses for muliebrity – the condition of being a woman (in fact, that’s going into my PhD thesis), and fubsy, griseous and olid are words that nicely describe how I feel about some people. I’m all for the development of the language – English has amazing flexibility and its ability to encompass other languages and change with the times is one of many things that makes English literature such a joy, but if we lose words, they’ll be consigned to footnotes, as obscure as some of Chaucer’s words, and that’s a pity. Perhaps I should start a campaign to revive Chaucerian English. Failing that – have a look at these words and see if you can use them! You can read more about this here.
Abstergent Cleansing or scouring
Agrestic Rural; rustic; unpolished; uncouth
Apodeictic Unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
Caducity Perishableness; senility
Caliginosity Dimness; darkness
Compossible Possible in coexistence with something else
Embrangle To confuse or entangle
Exuviate To shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
Fatidical Prophetic
Fubsy Short and stout; squat
Griseous Streaked or mixed with grey; somewhat grey
Malison A curse
Mansuetude Gentleness or mildness
Muliebrity The condition of being a woman
Niddering Cowardly
Nitid Bright; glistening
Olid Foul-smelling
Oppugnant Combative, antagonistic or contrary
Periapt A charm or amulet
Recrement Waste matter; refuse; dross
Roborant Tending to fortify or increase strength
Skirr A whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight
Vaticinate To foretell; prophesy
Vilipend To treat or regard with contempt


  1. I thnik you could be right. That’s an interesting article, thanks you. Flexibility of language is one thing, buzzwords that don’t mean anything are quite another and I dislike seeing good, useful words pushed out for the sake of including passing fads!

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