Do You Know the Meaning of These Antiquated Words?

By: Teresa McGlothlin
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Do You Know the Meaning of These Antiquated Words?
Image: Luis Alvarez/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

It really is a shame that some words have been left for the historians to document! Because you're here, we're going to make the presumption that you are a word aficionado, and we know that you know some fun words, too. But - do you know the antiquated words that we've dug all the way back to Napoleon to find? 

There's nary an obscure word we're failed to locate for this quiz, and we've tried our best to challenge your brain. While some of our antiquated words might be beyond comprehension, others will simply take a little thought to figure out. You won't need a doctorate degree, but we do suspect that you'll need to take advantage of the hints we have provided for you when you finally say "iwis!" 

The words we use now have deep origins, and we want to introduce you to a few them. If you already know the word, you already have a leg up. If not, you'll have to take your best guess. No matter how you choose to answer, we think you'll do well with the antiquated words we've given you. Prepare to be fascinated, and prepare to be challenged! How many of these words do you know? 

Debbie was often called the office quidnunc. What does quidnunc mean?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you wanted to keep a secret from your coworkers, Debbie is the last person you would tell. Quidnunc is a word used to describe a gossipy person that dates all the way back to the 18th century. Quidnunc is taken from the Latin phrase that translates to "what now?"

Everyone in the village knew that Paul was a great husbandwife. What was Paul good at?
Raising children
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Instead of saying a farmer, people were fond of the word husbandwife. Taken from the Old English word "husbonda" which means keeper of the house, husbandwife later came to be known as the keeper of the farm.

Do you know what does it mean when a dog is groaking you?
It means the dog is sniffing you.
It means the dog is biting you.
It means the dog is staring at you while you eat.
It means the dog likes your leg.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

During 1910, Author P.W. Joyce gave a definition to the word "groak" that has remained in play since then. When your dog is groaking you, they are staring at you while you eat while hoping that you drop a crumb. Dogs are simply natural at groaking.


It's always nice to take in a little apricity during February. Do you know what apricity means?
It's the love felt on Valentine's Day.
It's the warm sun felt during winter.
It's a word used for ice skating.
It's a brisk walk.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There's nothing better than feeling the sun's warm rays on a cold winter's day. Although now considered obsolete, apricity was once a fitting way to describe the warmth felt from the winter sun.

Maria was absolutely gorgonized by the laser light show. How was Maria feeling?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you are left feeling gorganized by something, you are feeling mesmerized or stupefied. Taken directly from the Greek word gorgos, which means terrifying, it was used in Greek mythology to describe the Gorgons.

The entire classroom heard Mark's curmuring from across the room. What is curmuring?
It's a sigh of disappointment.
it's a complaint.
It's a stomach rumble.
It's an argument.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sometimes, there's no hiding the fact that you are hungry. In this case, Mark's curmuring was a sure indication that it was going to be time for lunch soon. Curmuring is a word used to describe the sound of a stomach rumble.


If you are lethophobic, what is your worst fear?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Those who suffer from lethophobia are constantly concerned with forgetting. A true lethophobic is someone who is terrified to forget a birthday, an event or even their own names. Although not commonly used these days, many disorders have roots in lethophobia.

How does your hair look when you have "elflock?"
Sleek and smooth
Slick and neat
Short and spikey
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The next time your boss asks you why your hair looks like you just got out of bed, the them that it's the newest style called "elflock." Elflock is an archaic way of describing the tangled, messy hair you might have when you wake up.

If you are having a brabble over dinner, what are you doing?
Saying grace
Passing a bowl
Sharing good news
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Should you need a more sophisticated word for the argument that breaks out over family dinner, the word brabble is always there for you. Brabble is a noun used in place of tiff or argument. It also means that the argument is of a petty nature.


When someone won't stop twattling, what are they incessantly doing?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Some of us are born quiet and like to get the point, and others are born to twattle and be heard. If someone is twattling, it means that they are idly talking about things that are not all that important.

Ara's friends think she is the snoutfair of the group. What do they mean by snoutfair?
Parental figure
Most attractive
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you hear the word snoutfair, you might automatically assume that we are talking about a carnival for farm animals. However, being called a snoutfair in the 1500s was anything but animalistic. Back then, it meant that you are pleasant on the eyes.

The teacher told Dale's parents that he is a monsterful student. What kind of student is Dale?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Dale's parents might have been shocked to hear the word monsterful used to describe their child, but it was a big compliment. Dating all the way back to a 1785 slang dictionary, monsterful means wonderful or exceptional.


The game's results left Jason feeling grumpish. What was his demeanor like?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Once the game was over, Jason was sulky, grumpish and ill-tempered. Grumpish might not mean angry, but it does mean that someone is being testy and and letting their displeasure be known.

When you're feeling "doggo," what are you like?
I'm feeling frisky.
I'm feeling adventurous.
I'm feeling excited.
I want to be left alone.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Short for the phrase "lying doggo," you might say that you are feeling "doggo" when you want to be left alone. Wise advice says to let sleeping dogs lie, and the term "doggo" is a pointed way of rephrasing it.

Georgie was trying to excogitate her yearly vacation. What was she trying to do?
Save for
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Excogitating is the act of planning, thinking or learning something new. As Georgie thought about her yearly vacation, she knew that she had a lot of little details to plan, so she got to work!


What is the weather like if it's "lumming" outside?
It's sunny and warm.
It's snowy and cold.
It's pouring rain.
It damp and dark.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Springtime "lumming" is the beautiful flowers we see outside every year. When it is lumming outside, it is pouring down with rain. Some might say that it's pouring cats and dogs, but we think that "lumming with rain" is a much nicer phrase.

Many people like taking the polar plunge for the curglaff. What is a curglaff?
A curglaff is the feeling of shock when diving into cold water.
A curglaff is the friendship it takes to do the polar plunge.
A curglaff is a scenic winter view.
A curglaff is the feeling of tighter skin.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Just when you think there isn't a word for everything, you meet the word curglaff. A curglaff is a noun that means the feeling of shock you feel when you jump into a body of cold water. The polar plunge is a great change to acquaint yourself with a curglaff.

If you are standing betwixt strangers, where are you standing?
I'm in front of them.
I'm behind them.
I am between them.
I am across the street.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

We're sure you probably got it right, but standing betwixt strangers means that you are standing between them. Evolved from the Old English word "betweox," betwixt is a very British way of saying you're in the middle.


Leslie felt that her life was rather wanion lately. Which word also means wanion?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Earlier cultures believed that the waning state of the moon was the most unlucky time in the cycle. As a result, the word "wanion" evolved from the word "waning," and it came to be a Middle English way of saying "going through an unlucky period in time."

Every judge should have soothfast state of mind. What does soothfast mean?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In Middle English, the word "sooth" means truth. Throughout history, you will find mentions of soothsayers and those who are soothfast. In our scenario, all judges should approach their work with a truthful, just and soothfast mindset.

Martha got up early because it was time to swink. What was it time for Martha do to?
Work out
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Life takes a lot of hard swink! Even in the days of Middle English, working was considered a part of everyday life. Maria heard the alarm and she got up because it was time to go to work and to toil away for the day.


Your boss tells you that your work is enow. What does your boss mean?
It's enough.
It's late.
It's modern.
It's a disaster.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Still sometimes used in the United Kingdom, enow is another way of saying enough. It might sound like a form of modern media, but the use of enow can be found earlier than any mention of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

You're feeling "chuffy" about the work you've done. What does chuffy mean?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You can't get past a British person without hearing the word "chuffed." Chuffed means that you are happy and proud of something, and that you have no regrets. At some point during the early 20th century, chuffed became "chuffy," but both mean the same.

When Sarah heard the news, she responded with, "Alack!" What does alack mean?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An archaic expression to say that you are dismayed or have a feeling of regret is to say, "Alack!" Alack might sound like something is missing, but it's an Old World way of expressing something that you are unhappy about.


If you hear someone exclaiming gardyloo, what do they want you to do?
Give them money
Watch out
Bring them food
Catch a pickpocket
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Although it was used into the 1940s, gardyloo is a word that dates all the way back to Scotland. In loose terms, it means watch out. Back then, it meant to watch out for the contents of a chamber pot being chucked out the window. Gardyloo, indeed!

The sun iwis will be seen tomorrow. Can you figure out what iwis means?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Of course! Certainly! Without a doubt! All of these expressions mean the same thing as the word iwis. Iwis might not be used much these days, but it was a frequently used word before the 1800s.

The cabin was located in a nigh place. Where was the cabin?
Across the ocean
A celestial place
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Now that we've mentioned the word "nigh," we're sure that you remember hearing the phrase "the end is nigh." Meaning nearby, the cabin is close and the end isn't too far away either. When you hear the word, remember that it means close.


There was nary a doughnut left after the meeting. How many doughnuts were left?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Who leaves doughnuts at a meeting? Apparently, no one. Nary a soul leaves a doughnut on the table after a meeting. Nary is another way of saying zilch, nada, zero, and absolutely none. There's nary a day that goes by that we don't cheer for this word to make a big comeback.

Peradventure, you already know what "peradventure" means. Do you?
Of course
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Peradventure, you've already figured out that "peradventure" means perhaps. A British adaptation of the French phrase "per auenture," which means by chance, peradventure has come to simply mean maybe.

You can see a camelopard at the zoo. What is a camelopard?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A derivative of the Greek word "kaemelos" and the British word "pard," the giraffe was once called the camelopard. The next time you visit the zoo, drag your crew to see the camelopards. Challenge them to guess what you're talking about?


You were a real sluberdegullion over the weekend. What were you like?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Whether we admit it or not, some of us are real sluberdegullions on the weekend. As far as we are concerned, weekends are for relaxing, staying in your pajamas and being as slovenly as you like. There's nothing wrong with being a sluberdegullion once in a while!

How is your best friend acting when they are being "beef-witted?"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Steers can be aggressive, but the term "beef-witted" actually means to behave in a stupid manner. If your best friend is being beef-witted, they are not making the best choices. We do not recommend using the word "beef-witted" to tell them, though.

Some might say that Napolean is a cockalorum. What does cockalorum mean?
It means an overly ambitious person.
It means a horrible leader.
It means a historical figure.
It means a small guy with a big attitude.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Napoleon might have been a powerful person at one point, but he was considered quite the cockalorum to his enemies. The first instances of the word go all the way back to 1710. We're sure that Napoleon heard how much small man syndrome showed the world more than once.


When you step outside and you feel "shinnicked," how are you feeling?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

We also like the word "benumbed," but nothing could compete with the word "shinnicked." Stepping outside in the middle of January can leave you feeling paralyzed with cold. Or, as they say in Old English, "shinnicked!"

If you've had a "bouffage," what have you had?
A bath
A delicious meal
A nap
A cup of coffee
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The next time you really want to impress your friends at a dinner party, thank them for a lovely "bouffage." A French word that describes a satisfying meal, "bouffage" made its way across the Channel and was used by the British elite for decades.

You Got:
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