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Discover this week’s WOW

Posted in: Blog, Words, WOW by Sally Evans-Darby on 18 April 2012

Word of the Week

This week’s WOW is swasivious (adj.): agreeably persuasive.

I found this in a book I came across in the library today on obsolete words. It’s a great word, describing a very precise degree of persuasiveness – not just persuasive, or disagreeably persuasive (an advert with an exasperatingly catchy jingle comes to mind), but ‘agreeably’ persuasive. Plus, it rhymes with ‘lascivious’, and I’m not sure many other words do.

So why is it obsolete? It seems a shame to let such a useful word drop into oblivion. I couldn’t even find it in my hefty hardback OED. Perhaps there just aren’t very many situations when you need to describe someone/something that persuades, but in a nice way.

As an editor, would you suggest an alternative to the author if you came across an ‘obsolete’ word such as this in a manuscript? Or would you favour ‘stetting’ such words in the interests of keeping the language alive with as many different descriptive words as possible?

Send me your thoughts below.