Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav

What words are dying in the English language?

1 Comment

Fun question. Off the top of my head (I might add to these later):

In the UK:

  • gaol (in favour of jail, or prison)
  • hiccough (in favour of hiccup)
  • society (since Margaret Thatcher)
  • hospital (in favour of trust)

In North America:

  • alternate (in its original, true sense of ‘occur-in-turn’, or ‘every-other’, rather than ‘alternative’)
  • reach out (in its original, true sense of offering succour or a gesture of reconciliation, rather than merely ‘contact’)
  • awesome (in its original sense of something that inspires awe)
  • liberal (in the sense of championing the values of the U.S. Constitution)
  • The entire present perfect tense—e.g.:
    ‘The goldfish just died’ (instead of ‘The goldfish has just died’)
    or
    Did you purchase a ticket?’ (instead of ‘Have you purchased a ticket?’)

In both countries:

  • citizen (in favour of taxpayer)

*

(Originally written in reply to a question at Quora.com)

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Author: יונתן אור-סתיו | Jonathan Orr-Stav

מתרגם עברית–אנגלית, עורך באנגלית, וסופר. כל הזכויות שמורות © 2016

One thought on “What words are dying in the English language?

  1. Too true. And don’t forget the past perfect. “If I went to the party I woulda seen him.” And the misuse of the apostrophe: as seen on a store sign:”Book’s for sale.” And, and….

    Liked by 1 person

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