On the Internet

Save the Words

Won’t you adopt a word?

You don’t normally think of the Oxford English Dictionary people as silly, but they’ve developed a project that’s pretty goofy, and it’s something you can do with your kid to get her thinking about language.

They’ve rounded up hundreds of words that don’t get used much any more. Words like gumfiate (to swell), lambition (licking) and vellicle (something that pinches or holds fast).

They’ve taken all of these nearly extinct words and knitted them into a virtual quilt, which you’ll find here.

When you move your mouse over the words, they’ll call out to you: “Pick me! Pick me!” They want you to adopt them.

You can find a word or two that you like and click on them. That will bring up its definition, and a form that allows you to “adopt” it. (Like all adoptions, you first have to register. Unlike human adoptions, it’s free.)

Adopting a word means pledging that you’ll try to bring it back into the mainstream. You’ll use it in conversation and in writing, and you’ll explain it to people.

Save a Word is meant to be a fun concept to get people thinking about words. It’s a great resource to use to talk to your child about the fact that words evolve and how our language has changed.

One Comment

  1. Oh, this is so fabulous! I'm definitely adopting a word and I'm sure that the kids will be keen to as well.

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