Language has been the primary method of human communication throughout history. And as societies evolve and customs change, languages have been ever evolving and changing.
Many of today's languages originate from common roots, including Latin and Greek, but the words sometimes lose their meaning as they travel from language to language. Have you ever heard of the expression “lost in translation”? It’s accurate. Just consider John F. Kennedy, who once mistakenly proclaimed in a speech that he was a jelly donut. Many words that originated in one language come to mean something completely different once they’ve gathered nuances from people, regions and such.
The English language is complicated, but it’s also funny. There are some great words that, for whatever reason, are no longer used today (but totally should be). Imagine how astute you would seem if you referred to jewelry as “bijoux”? Or if you referred to a fashionable and daring young man as a “buck”? Wouldn’t that be swell?
And perhaps you do use these words! If you are a fan of the English language who claims to know the dandiest ol’ English words, test your knowledge of old-timey vocabulary with this quiz! Prove that you are the cat's pajamas.