Playwriting Exercise: Dead words brought back to life

Groak: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them.

As a lover of words, nothing tickles me more than seeing words that used to have a life and do no longer. Death and Taxes has a list of 18 obsolete words – (Don’t click there just yet! Read down and do the exercise first.) The website supposes these words should never have gone out of style. I’m not sure I agree on that with all of them, (I think you’ll see why when you click over there) but I sure do agree that these words make for an awesome playwriting exercise.

Fair warning! Some of these obsolete words have a current sexual connotation. If you’re doing this exercise with students, I would present select words to them.

Playwriting Exercise: 

  • Review the following words. Decide what their definition is first without seeing what they actually mean. Resistentialism, Zafty, With Squirrel.
  • Write a scene in which you use the words based on your own definition.
  • Now click over to the site and read their definitions.
  • Write a scene in which you use the words based on the original definition.
  • Write an inner monologue from the perspective of someone who is Groaking (see above).



About the author

Lindsay Price