Ken Phillips has an interesting post on "Proper English" with some links to phrase finder sites. Beware. You can easily lose track of time playing around on those.
I've been reading a lot of murder mysteries lately as part of my summer pseudo-vacation. (I'm still working every day. But it's summer and feels like I should be on vacation.) Some of the modern ones are pure claptrap, not really worth the time. But when you're vacationing, time isn't a concern, so I read on.
But one thin volume that I borrowed from Ruth Tighe was a decidedly British mystery, written in the early 1970's. An Awkward Lie, by the Scottish writer Michael Innes (a/k/a J.I.M. Stewart ), had me digging deep into my memory for words I haven't heard for a while, and in some cases had me reaching for my dictionary.
Here are some of the words and phrases I found interesting, refreshing, humorous, or just puzzling.
saloon (used for a car)
distinguo (I still don't have a good definition for this. I'm guessing it's latin or latinate, and just means "as distinguished from" or something like that.)
tiro (more familiar to me as tyro)
barrows (not the wheel kind)
Bunn (I still haven't found a satisfactory definition for this word, as used in the novel.)
I'm sorry to say that, before dictionary, I only knew seven of these words. Ah, the joys of vacation reading.