One aim, though intricate in all of its ramifications, underlies this study: it is to discover how and why words become obsolete.
That the aim, thus stated, is incapable of complete realization, is
perhaps obvious; and accordingly only two eras of English life and
literature were particularly looked at, and only certain approaches
were made. The choice of the Restoration and queen Anne Periods was
not precisely arbitrary, but was somewhat dictated by the materials
in the New English Dictionary.; and an effort has been made throughout to treat of these times not as isolated microcosms, but with
historical sympathy and propriety.