Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forgotten Words

Yesterday's post was pictures, not words, so today's post is all about words. Forgotten words. Enjoy!

uzzle-pye: More spectacle than food, this must have been a medieval crowd-pleaser. The crust was temporarily filled with such contents as dried beans, to support the lid while it baked, and later emptied. Small live birds, such as blackbirds - which in larger feasts may have numbered 'four and twenty' - were then tethered inside the dish without being harmed. At the appropriate moment, the birds were released, prompting the famous line, "When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing."

blash: 300 year old onomatopoeia created from blow and one of several water-related terms such as dash in order to mimic the sound of a downpour with gusting winds.

gardyloo: Spirited warning cry that once preceded the emptying of slops or a bucketful of wastewater from an upstairs window into the street below. A corruption of the French expression gard de l'eau, which translates roughly into 'look out for the water,' this expression would have been frequently heard in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. "Loo" is still used in Great Britain to refer to a toilet.

bladderskate: An indiscreet talker, derived partially from blaedre, the Anglo-Saxon term for the human bladder. This word is the origin for the modern terms of 'blabbermouth' and 'blithering idiot'.

sillyebubbe: This was a popular English beverage from the 1500s to the 1800s. Originally, it was made by milking a cow directly into spiced cider or wine, which curdled the milk and created a frothy concoction. It was thought to be very effective at warding off colds, and drunk by bridegrooms for its calming effects. By the 1700s this word had come to be used as a term to describe a conversation or writing that lacked substance.

All these wonderful words and meanings were found in Jeffrey Kacirk's "Forgotten English".


  1. Cool words! The only one I've heard before is gardyloo, and luckily not in person. lol

  2. All new to me. I love words with a lot of syllables that are fun to say. Like snickerdoodles :)

  3. Elspeth - I love this post! It's so nice to learn new words, especially these archaic ones. I like addlepated, too : ). Except not if someone uses it to describe me ; ).

  4. Karen; Isn't it fun?

    Deb; I don't want to know how you've learned it. Really.

    Carol; Snickerdoodles is great.

    Margot; Addlepated is wonderful; and it's a word that could never be used to describe you!

  5. Gardyloo is much prettier in French! And I can't say the sillyebubbe sounds very soothing. Thanks for the education!


  6. I love to say those words. Sometimes the word verifications we have to type to comment remind me of your words.

  7. love it! New old words - I knew two - gardeloo and sylabub (as I know it) which can be a delightful party offering - predating egg nog...but the others were totally new! How about 'miching' to skulk, dodge or sneak. from the old french to hide. And of course, lovely Newfoundland is full of great descriptive ancient sayings - 'gowdy'- awkward or 'huffed' - to be vexed.

  8. Michele; Mayhap it would go nicely when nibbling snickerdoodles.

    JW; I've often thought the same thing.

    Jan; Ah, bless Newfoundlanders and their glorious words. I knew sylabub too, but I didn't know its origin.

  9. Elizabeth; It could be a new sport at the Winter Olympics!

  10. "bladderskate" scares me alittle...

  11. Elisa; Perhaps because both you and I had a recent encounter with one...


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