Difference Between Archaic and Obsolete

Key Difference – Archaic vs Obsolete
 

Archaic and obsolete are two terms that are often used in dictionaries to give information about the usage of a word. Interestingly, the two labels archaic and obsolete mean that the relevant word is very old or old-fashioned. To be more specific, archaic is used for words that are no longer in everyday use but sometimes used to impart an old-fashioned flavor; obsolete is used for words that are no longer in use or no longer useful. This is the key difference between archaic and obsolete.

What Does Archaic Mean?

The term archaic generally means very old or old-fashioned. In dictionaries, this term is used to refer to words that are no longer in everyday use except in special cases. Archaic words are sometimes used to impart an old-fashioned flavour. These kinds of words are specially used in poetry or prayers. Thus, archaic words may be still used and understood by readers and listeners. According to the editors of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2006), the label archaic is attached to entry words for which there is only sporadic evidence in print after 1755.

Words like thee, thou, ague, damsel, dame, hither, etc. are some examples of archaic words. Although these words are not used in everyday language, some writers may use these words to introduce an old-fashioned or formal flavor to their writings.

Key Difference - Archaic vs Obsolete

What Does Obsolete Mean?

Obsolete generally means no longer produced or used, or out of date. Thus, label obsolete is used with words that are no longer in the active usage. According to the editors of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2006), this label is given to entry words for which there is little or no printed evidence since 1755.

Words that can be labeled as obsolete can only be encountered in literature which was created centuries ago, such as the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. Modern readers often find it difficult to understand or even guess the meanings of these words. Breedbate  (mischief-maker), prickmedainty (fop),  jargogle (to confuse), kench (laugh loudly), malagrugrous (dismal), hoddypeak (fool), etc. are some examples of obsolete words.

Difference Between Archaic and Obsolete

What is the difference between Archaic and Obsolete?

Labels:

Archaic: The label archaic is given to words are that are no longer in everyday use except in special cases.

Obsolete: The label obsolete is given to words that are no longer in use.

Use:

Archaic: Archaic words are sometimes used in special contexts such as literature.

Obsolete words: Obsolete words have not been in usage for several centuries.

Meaning of Words:

Archaic: Modern readers may understand the meanings of archaic terms since they are sometimes used in special contexts.

Obsolete: Modern readers may not understand the meaning of the words since the word has been out of usage for a long time.

Examples:

Archaic: Thee, thou, prithee, damsel, fourscore, etc. are some examples of archaic words.

Obsolete: Prickmedainty, jargogle, kench, hoddypeak, malagrugrous, etc. are some examples of obsolete words.

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