They Live


Our world is impermanent. As the song goes, the Rockies may tumble and Gibraltar may crumble—meaning that eventually every little thing we know, from the Great Pyramids to Kanye, will fall to dust … and then that dust will be turned to atoms when our sun goes nova. Nothing will survive that event, except for maybe the documentation of your student-loan payments (couldn’t they have lost those fucking records in the fire?) and the Dead Words, a “blog of lettering” that collects archaic and obsolete pieces of our language and resurrects them in a way that’s both clever and stylish. An obvious labor of love for graphic artist Karen To, the Dead Words takes those units of our language that your dictionary may have misplaced—words such as xylogenous, pamphagous and gaudiloquent, and some even sexier than these—and fashions them into smart-looking text graphics that partially explain the meanings of these lost soldiers. For example: Tornatil, an obsolete adjective meaning “made with wheel,” is rendered as an interlocking series of shapes that look for all the world like machine parts. The Dead Words are dead! Long live the Dead Words!



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