Archaic Words That Totally Describe Modern Dating

Words are absolutely beautiful, and when you find a word that really resonates with you, you will want to share it with the world. One thing I’ve noticed is that there used to be a lot of words that can easily be used to describe the modern dating scene. Here are some that we definitely need to bring back.

  1. Habiliments. It’s a word that means special outfits that are associated with special occasions, such as a wedding or a sexy date night. Example: The only dating habiliments I have in my closet are my Little Black Dress, and that push up bra. 
  2. Twattling. This is a synonym for gossiping, often in the sense of fussing over a person. In fact, it used to be used to describe the typical nosiness of an overbearing, gossipy mother-in-law. Example: My mother-in-law won’t stop twattling about us, and it’s getting me annoyed. 
  3. Contumelious. This is an adjective that typically describes an arrogant man. It’s such a harsh word, it even sounds mean! Example: Your ex is one hell of a contumelious bastard.
  4. Yen. Its literal meaning, aside from a form of currency, is a deep longing or desire. It can be used as a verb or as a noun. Example: She yenned for him. 
  5. Philophobia. It’s the literal name for the fear of being in love, or the fear of falling in love. This sounds so much smarter than commitment-phobic, doesn’t it? Example: He has the worst case of philophobia I’ve ever seen…
  6. Pulchritudinous. This is an adjective that is synonymous with being physically beautiful, and is used to describe women almost exclusively. Example: Her pulchritudinous body glistened underneath the club’s disco ball. 
  7. Mizpah. This noun describes that deep, loving bond that one experiences with another person despite being separated by long distance, or even death. Example: I have a lot of mizpah for her. 
  8. Cavoli riscaldati. This is an Italian phrase that literally means “reheated cabbage,” but alludes to the practice of trying to restart a romantic relationship that has run its course. Much like reheated cabbage, romantic cavoli riscaldati is rarely ever satisfying. Example: Milo and Samantha are going out again?! That’s cavoli riscaldati if I’ve ever seen it.
  9. Fard. This is a verb that means to apply makeup. It also sounds hilariously similar to “fart.” Example: I’m farding…gotta look good for my date. 
  10. Apodyopsis. This is a Greek word that means “the act of undressing someone with one’s eyes.” I think we’ve all done this at one point or another, especially if it has something to do with Ryan Gosling. Example: She’s kinda entranced in a moment of apodyopsis. 
  11. La douleur exquise. It’s a French term that occasionally found itself being used in English. Its actual literal translation means “the exquisite sadness,” and it describes the agony of being in love with someone that you can never have. Example: She’s filled with the feeling of douleur exquise; her ex won’t even talk to her and she loves him so much. 
  12. Anaxiphilia. This word is the literal term for the tendency of falling for guys who are bad for you. In other words, if you tend to like guys who are totally incompatible with you, or if you tend to have crappy boyfriend after crappy boyfriend, you have anaxiphilia. Example: I have anaxiphilia. 
  13. Tacenda. This is a plural noun that describes all the words that are best left unspoken. Example: There’s a lot of tacenda between the two of them; I don’t think anyone will understand the relationship they had except for the two of them. 
  14. Cicisbeo. This is an old English noun that means “a married woman’s lover.” So, in other words, it’s a woman’s side piece. Example: Yeah, the naked guy being chased down the street by Mr. Robinson is Mrs. Robinson’s cicisbeo.
  15. Doxy. This is an old English word that is defined as “the other woman.” Example: Yeah, Keith’s girl just found out she was the doxy and not the main chick.
  16. Gorgonize. This literally means “to mesmerize or petrify a person with a captivating gaze.” You know how Elijah Wood has those piercing blue eyes? A person with striking eyes is said to do this to people who meet their gaze. Example: He totally gorgonized me with those deep cocoa brown eyes. 
  17. Lechercraft. This is an old nickname for a one-night stand. Example: He’s a master at lechercrafts.
  18. Bull session. This term, popular in the 1920s, describes what we now call a “guy’s night out.” It’s that guy bonding time which involves them drinking, sharing stories of sexual exploits, and being guys. Example: If you don’t let your guy have the occasional bull session at home, he’ll be upset. 
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.