I’ve recently discovered another reason to love old books!
For in using my 1932 edition New English Dictionary (affectionately acquired from a pile being sold for charity), I’d started to notice words that I hadn’t come across anywhere else. Sometimes, with more interesting descriptions and derivatives. Upon researching this peculiar phenomenon, I soon learned that newer dictionaries often omit uncommon or rare words. In fact, some sources estimate that just over half of the words we now use, or have used in the past, make the final selection of a modern dictionary. For practical reasons, this can be understood. Gone are the days when we’d have twelve volumes of a collection sitting on our shelves (do you remember those old hardcover encyclopedias?). And then, there’s the ecological factor i.e. the amount of paper we save with smaller editions, or online.
What this does mean, however, is that there’s a whole forgotten world of wondrous words out there … waiting to be rediscovered! Bookified and invisibilized are two great examples. This also means the next time you hold an old book in your hands, there’s a good chance it will contain actual treasure. For hidden within its musty, dusty pages could be that rare and prized jewel beloved by all bookish souls – a word or passage once beautifully created, sadly or simply … lost in time.