Question of the Week: Favorite Forgotten Word or Phrase

As a more positive follow-up to a Facebook post from a couple weeks ago, what’s your favorite word or phrase that you’d like to see come back into common usage?

Many of mine come from films of the 30s and 40s, or from more recent films that try to capture that vibe. A word like “mook” is a little stronger than “twerp” but not as rough as contemporary terms that have taken its place. The phrase “What’s the rumpus?” either makes you think of a bygone era or of Miller’s Crossing.

Other words just aren’t used the same way they used to be. I’d love to see “wonderful” come back in the sense that we now use “unbelievable.” That is, “I wonder at your behavior.” Say, when the flustered object of a screwball heroine has had almost enough and says, “You’re wonderful.” It’s not a compliment but a pleasant protest. “Marvelous” can pull the same trick.

What’s one word you’d like to hear more often? How about a word whose earlier meaning has been lost? How about a phrase we could really use these days.

 

Care to comment?