“Eat your fruitals and vegetals”
Said my mother
As a Curious Word devotee, every so often I like to consult H.W. Fowler for a good hand-slapping, (as it were). Since ‘vegetal’ is considered, as a word, ‘obsolete’, an ‘archaism’, and no one can slice and dice those as effectively as Fowler does in his handbook of Modern English Usage, let’s see what he has to say on the subject.
…'[An archaism] is dangerous except in the hands of an experienced writer who can trust his sense of congruity; archaic words thrust into a commonplace context to redeem its ordinariness are an abomination.’
There you have it, folks. Vegetals are dangerous. An abomination. As a word, that is. What Fowler would have thought of today’s veg, veggie, and emojis to represent the concept of vegetable, we can only guess, but we could likely head over to his category of Incongruous Vocabulary for a good idea.
It is interesting to note the good H.W. includes words as ‘belike’…. ‘albeit’…. and ‘breakfast’, in his listing of abominative, puerilistic, and innovatively deplorable archaisms.
I love this book, and always pick up a copy when I see one. They make great gifts for word-minded friends. And need I add, my overly officious spell check has been affectionately dubbed ‘Fowler‘.