[Lexicog] archaic entries

Amsler, Robert robert.amsler at HQ.DOE.GOV
Mon Feb 13 14:12:19 UTC 2006

>From Merriam-Webster's Third New International (1961, 1993):

"The temporal label "obs" for "obsolete" means that no evidence of
standard use since 1755 has been found or is likely to be found:
abastardize vt . . . obs, abhorrency n . . . obs, absume vt . . . obs.

obs is a comment on the word being defined, not on the thing defined by
the word. When obsoleteness of the thing is in question, it is implied
in the definition (as by onetime, formerly, or historical reference):
longbow . . . n . . . : the great bow of medieval England, man.tel.et .
. . n . . .: a movable shelter formerly used by besiegers as a
protection when attacking.

The temporal label "archaic" means standard after 1755 but surviving in
the present only sporadically or in special contexts: be.like . . . adv
. . . archaic, oak.en . . . adj . . . archaic, spir.i.tu.ous . . . adj .
. . archaic."

>From Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2004):

Old Informal, Old Slang: The word or meaning was informal or slang when
actively used in the not-so-distant past and is no longer used much

Obs: The word or meaning is no longer used at all, although it may be
found in very old writings.

Archaic: The word or meaning is not used in ordinary speech or writing
today, but may still be found in certain special situations such as some
religious readings, in highly formal writings, and in older books.

Old-fashioned: The word or meaning is not yet archaic, but does have an
old-fashioned flavor and is most often used by older people for
something that younger people may have another term for.

Rare: The word or meaning has never been used much.

Now rare: The word or meaning is not used much today, but was common

Historical: The word or meaning refers to something, such as an object
or institution, that no longer exists and for which there is not a more
modern equivalent term.

Old Poet.: The word or meaning was often used in the past, especially in
poetry, but today is used only in certain kinds of traditional or
somewhat old-fashioned poetry.

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