The Save Desuetude movement starts here.
How could the sentence “We’d be no poorer if desuetude, for one, fell into a state of itself” have been written without the word desuetude? It appears in a Straight Dope article that says possible declines in vocabulary don’t matter — “The later the vocabulary test is conducted, the lower the scores across all groups, if only slightly. Whatever it’s called, researchers variously attribute this small drop to less reading overall, the dumbing down of reading material, the demise of intelligent conversation, or the ascent of TV.”
“But even if our vocabulary is dwindling,” the author, Cecil Adams, argues, “so what? English, having by some counts the largest vocabulary of any language, surely contains more words than we really need. We’d be no poorer if desuetude, for one, fell into a state of itself.”
Sure, we can afford to see the odd word go. But how can we be certain those are the ones we’re losing?
Face it, without desuetude the article would fall into a state of statelessness. So let’s save desuetude. It’s okay to let it fall into a state of itself, like some sloth dangling from a distant branch. But let’s not forget what to call it.