from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Serving to cleanse, detergent.
- n. A substance used in cleansing; a detergent.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Having cleansing or purgative properties.
- n. Anything that aids in scouring or cleansing, as soap or fuller's earth.
- n. In medicine, a lotion or other application for cleansing a sore: in this sense nearly superseded by detergent.
The attitude that words may be discarded -- indeed, that words have caducity at all -- is not salubriously abstergent, but reflects an agrestic nisus that all cultivated English speakers must eschew.
Earthy particles, entering into the small veins of the tongue which reach to the heart, when they melt into and dry up the little veins are astringent if they are rough; or if not so rough, they are only harsh, and if excessively abstergent, like potash and soda, bitter.
Some of them are produced by rough, others by abstergent, others by inflammatory substances, — these act upon the testing instruments of the tongue, and produce a more or less disagreeable sensation, while other particles congenial to the tongue soften and harmonize them.
Those of them which are of an abstergent nature, and purge the whole surface of the tongue, if they do it in excess, and so encroach as to consume some part of the flesh itself, like potash and soda, are all termed bitter.
We prize them for their rough-plastic, abstergent force; to get people out of the quadruped state; to get them washed, clothed, and set up on end; to slough their animal husks and habits; compel them to be clean; overawe their spite and meanness, teach them to stifle the base, and choose the generous expression, and make them know how much happier the generous behaviors are.
Some of them are produced by rough, others by abstergent, others by inflammatory substances, -- these act upon the testing instruments of the tongue, and produce a more or less disagreeable sensation, while other particles congenial to the tongue soften and harmonize them.
The lexicographers behind Britain's Collins English Dictionary have decided to exuviate (shed) rarely-used and archaic words as part of an abstergent (cleansing) process to make room for up to 2,000 new entries.
Their caducity should be recognized and abstergent measures should be taken to expunge them from the lexicon.
:) BTW, to exuviate some light on the caliginosity of what is Digg, I am abstergent myself of something very olid here and taking a break.