Side project: The Dead Words

By Sam Jones | Inspiration | Jul 23, 2013

The Dead Words is a project created and curated by graphic designer Karen To. The idea behind the project is to rediscover dead words — words which were once part of our language but have now been omitted from the English dictionary — through the art of lettering.

What’s interesting about this project is that not only do you get to see some great examples of lettering but thanks to the accompanying definitions you also get to learn about what each of the words mean. If you’re a keen letterer you can also get involved and submit your own piece by following a few simple steps.

Before you do that though, feast your eyes on some of our favourite pieces from the project:

The Dead Words

Aretaloger (ar-ta-log-er]) n.1623-1656, braggart; one who boasts about his own accomplishments


The Dead Words

Tragematopolist (jus-soo-lent) n.1656-1658, confectioner; seller of sweets


The Dead Words

Teterrimous (tey-ter-ee-muhs) n.1704-1864, most foul


The Dead Words

Sinapistic (sin-uh-piz-tik) adj.1879-1879, consisting of mustard


The Dead Words

Senticous (sen-tee-kuhz) adj.1657-1657; prickly; thorny


The Dead Words

Sagittiferous (suh-jit-uh-fer-oh) adj.1656 -1858; bearing arrows


The Dead Words

Findible (fahyn-dee-buhl) adj.1656-1790, able to be cleft or split


The Dead Words

Scandiscope (skan-dee-skohp) n.1825 -1825; machine for cleaning chimneys


Which of these is your favourite? Do you have a similar side project? Let us know in the comments.

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  • quippley

    Wow, Sinapistic does not sound like what it means. I makes me think of synapse and stuff.

    • PETROS

      Sinaptic is from the greek sinapi which is the seed to make into mustard (Sinapis arvensis).
      Synapse is from the greek synapsis = point of contact (mostly used in medicine eg the synapses in the brain).
      Yes, I understand, it’s all greek to you!