Fancy an inkle anyone?


In continuation of my very loose 'word of the day' series (see The joy of words - an 'anodyne kitten'), I was found the recent interview with the outgoing Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary intriguing. It demonstrated so clearly how dynamic the English language is - not only is it constantly welcoming new words such as 'emoticon' and 'post-truth' into the lexicon, some words are being lost from use altogether.

John Simpson shared some of these examples with Kathryn Ryan, but my favourite has to be the verb form of the noun 'inkling' - 'to inkle'. This came into the English language in Medieval times - its first use is recorded as around 1150, with the meaning 'to utter or communicate in an undertone, or to whisper or hint'. While today we have kept the noun in operation, we no longer use the verb form. It is what is known in the trade as a 'lost verb'.

It seems a shame. Perhaps we could find space for this charming word in everyday language again, by swapping out a useless word or phrase, such as the much over-used and usually utterly redundant 'going forward'?

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