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16 OED Words That Became Obscure (Including Bransle, the Twerk of 1662)

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In a moment of cultural serendipity (or, depending on how you look at it, calamity), Oxford Dictionaries Online just announced that “twerk” made the list of new entries to its quarterly dictionary update. While the release of the update list reliably incites horror at the debasement of the venerable Oxford Dictionary institution, not to mention the English language in general, it is important to realize the difference between Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO)—a flexible, web-only collection focused on current English usage—and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a historical record of the core of English, printed and bound on high-quality paper, from which words are never removed.

However, while most people respect the OED for enshrining the respectable, time-tested, stable fundament of English, they enjoy it for preserving the odd, rare, and obsolete, exactly the category of entry for which “twerk” is likely headed. Here are 16 words from the latest ODO update, matched up with 16 words from the OED that had short, obscure lives.

1. Twerk, Bransle

ODO - twerk, v.: “dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”

OED - bransle, n.: “a kind of dance”
1662 (Samuel Pepys’ Diary) “They danced the Bransle.”

2. Omnishambles, Acang

ODO - omnishambles, n.: “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”

OED - acang, v.: "to act foolishly, lose self-control"
1200 (St. Katherine manuscript) “Hu nu, dame, dotestu? Cwen, acangestu nu mid alle þes oðre?”

3. Selfie, Dap

ODO - selfie, n.: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

OED - dap, n.: "likeness, image"
1746 (Exmoor Scolding) “Tha hast tha very Daps o' thy old muxy Ont Sybyl.”

4. Food Baby, Gutling

ODO - food baby, n.: “a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy.”

OED - gutling, n.: “a great eater, a glutton”
1632 (Robert Sanderson sermon) “The Poets..made themselues bitterly merry with descanting vpon..the fatte paunches of these lasie gutlings.”

5. A/W, M.B.

ODO - A/W, abbrev.: “autumn/winter (denoting or relating to fashion designed for the autumn and winter seasons of a particular year).”

OED - M.B., n.: Initialism for “Mark of the Beast,” used in “M.B. waistcoat”
1874 (W.E. Gladstone) “[The undivided clerical waistcoat] was deemed so distinctly Popish, that it acquired the nickname of ‘The Mark of the Beast’; and..among the tailors..was familiarly known as ‘the M.B. waistcoat’.”

6. Fauxhawk, Bullhead

ODO - fauxhawk, n.: “a hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to the back of the head stands erect, intended to resemble a Mohican haircut (in which the sides of the head are shaved).”

OED - bullhead, n.: “a mass of curled or frizzled hair worn over the forehead”
1672 (Andrew Marvell) “To trick up the good old Bishop in a yellow Coif and a Bulls-head, that he may..appear in Fashion.”

7. Grats, Sdeign

ODO - grats, pl. n.: “congratulations”

OED - sdeign, v.: "Shortening of disdain"
1590 (Faerie Queene) “They sdeigned such lasciuious disport.”

8. Hackerspace, Anythingarian

ODO - hackerspace, n.: “a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.”

OED - anythingarian, n.: “One who professes no creed in particular; an indifferentist.”
1704 (Thomas Brown) “Such bifarious anythingarians, that always make their interest the standard of their religion.”

9. Geek Chic, Sheepsy-Wolvesy

ODO - geek chic, n.: “the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable.”

OED - sheepsy-wolvesy, adj.: “wolves in sheep’s clothing”
1657 (Jeffry Watts) “Linsie woolsie, sheepsie woolvsie prophets.”

10. Cake Pop, Flip-Flap

ODO - cake pop, n.: “a small round piece of cake coated with icing or chocolate and fixed on the end of a stick so as to resemble a lollipop.”

OED - flip-flap, n.: “a kind of tea cake.”
1876 (The Golden Butterfly) “As we sat over her dough-nuts and flipflaps.”

11. Squee, 'catso

ODO - squee, exclam. & v. & n.: “(used to express) great delight or excitement.”

OED - ‘catso, int.: an interjection akin to “what! Gods me!” from Italian cazzo the “membrum virile.”
1708 (Motteux’s translation of Rabelais) “Cat-so! let us..drink.”

12. Srsly, 'Cavy

ODO - srsly, adv.: “short for ‘seriously’.”

OED - ‘cavy, n. & adj.: short for “cavalier.”
1650 (Mutatus Polemo) “The Cavies being at that time ready to turn anything, except Roundhead, for some money to be chirpingly drunk.”

13. Babymoon, Chop-loge

ODO - babymoon, n.: “a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born; a period of time following the birth of a baby during which the new parents can focus on establishing a bond with their child.”

OED - chop-loge, n.: short for chop-logic, one who chops logic, “a contentious, sophistical arguer”
1542 (Udall’s translation of Erasmus) “He..with lacke of vitailles brought those chop-logues or greate pratlers as lowe as dogge to the bow.”

14. Balayage, Frizilation

ODO - balayage, n.: “a technique for highlighting hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect.”

OED - frizilation, n.: the act of frizzling the hair
1567 “Her chief and comon exercise..was, to force a frizilacion of her haire.”

15. Buzzworthy, Coleworts

ODO - buzzworthy, adj.: “likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.”

OED - coleworts, n.: old news. Literally, a cabbage-like plant. From the proverb for “old news,” “coleworts twice sodden.”
1644 (Chirologia) “It being better sometimes to use a licentious and unwarrantable motion, then alwayes to obtrude the same Coleworts.”

16. Unlike, Unlike

ODO - unlike, v.: “withdraw one’s liking or approval of (a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked).”

OED - unlike, v.: “to give up liking; to cease to like”
1761 (Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph) “My heart is not in a disposition to love... I cannot compel it to like, and unlike, and like anew at pleasure.”

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.


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