Old-timey, archaic language makes a comeback – mayhaps hipsters are to blame?


Great piece by Chi Luu in JStor.org (via WaPo’s WonkBlog) about the increasing usage of old-timey words like bespoke, smitten, dapper, and perchance. (The article also provides some great background on trend dissemination thru the hipster sub-culture – def worth a read if that’s your thing.)

See below for charts from Google’s Ngram viewer, which charts the frequencies of words appearing in printed sources between 1800 and 2012.  It shows that lots of archaic words are resurfacing — including gems like mayhaps, parlor, amidst, whilst and unbeknownst. The upturn is even visible in some seriously Shakespearean terms, like thou, thee, ere and hath.


Smitten, Bespoke


Parlor, Perchance


Amongst, Whilst


Thou, thy, thee, hath

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