You can take this one or leave it, as it would take quite some verifying but it’s interesting, all the same. Here’s a small selection:
Used to mean: To utter suddenly and passionately, to exclaim
The unintended double entendres in this sentence of Jane Eyre could make anyone snicker: “The sleepers were all aroused: ejaculations, terrified murmurs sounded in every room; door after door unclosed; one looked out and another looked out; the gallery filled.” Still, the old-school and modern definitions are pretty synonymous.
Used to mean: 10,000
Before people were debating whether “myriad” is a noun or adjective (it’s both), Greek mathematicians gave it the numeral M and were extremely specific about what it meant. Think a myriad is a lot to count? Try the myriad myriad (MM) or 100 million, the largest number in ancient Greece.
Used to mean: Meek, obedient
Hmmm… Not how we’d describe Beyoncé.
Used to mean: A low-life
In Middle English, “brothel” described the kind of person who’d cheat, steal, and … possibly frequent a bordello.
Used to mean: A divinely conferred gift or power
In the past, people with charisma could really work a room, restoring sight to the blind and other such miracles. Today, believers in Charismatic Christianity still believe in signs, prophecy, and divine healing. The root of it all: the Greek word kharis, for “god-given favor.”
Used to mean: Superb, wonderful
When Theodore Roosevelt referred to the presidency as a bully pulpit, he wasn’t talking about name-calling, harassment, or beating anyone with a big stick. He was praising the social change he might shape in office. Bully for him!