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Wayne State Word Warriors releases 2017 list

January 3, 2017


If 2016 was enough to stultify you into a state of acedia and make you long for the bucolic days of youth, have no fear — the Wayne State University Word Warriors are here to lift your spirits.

As part of its initiative to draw attention to some of the English language's most expressive — yet regrettably neglected — words, Wayne State University has released its annual list of the year’s top 10 words that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose.

Now beginning its ninth year, Wayne State’s Word Warriors series promotes words especially worthy of retrieval from the linguistic cellar.

The Word Warriors’ extensive list is composed of submissions from both administrators of the website as well as the public; participants worldwide have seen their favorite words brought back from the brink of obsolescence at wordwarriors.wayne.edu. New entries are posted there — as well as on Facebook — each week.

“The English language has perhaps more words in its lexicon than any other,” says Jerry Herron, dean of WSU's Irvin D. Reid Honors College and a member of the website’s editorial board. “By making use of the repertoire available to us, we expand our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more interesting place. Bringing these words back into everyday conversation is just another way of broadening our horizons.”

And now, the Word Warriors' 2017 list of eminently useful words that should be brought back to enrich our language:

  • Acedia
    • Spiritual or mental sloth; apathy.
    • When she broke up with him, he fell into a state of acedia and didn't leave the apartment for two months.
  • Anfractuous
    • Indirect and containing bends, turns or winds; circuitous.
    • The road used to reach the castle was anfractuous.
  • Blithering
    • Senselessly talkative, babbling; used chiefly as an intensive to express annoyance or contempt.
    • His Facebook posts were the confused ramblings of a blithering fool.
  • Bombinate
    • Buzz; hum.
    • A fly bombinated in the corner of the sun porch, making it hard for Tom to relax.
  • Bucolic
    • Of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.
    • Sitting on the subway, surrounded by angry city folk, Jack felt a twinge of longing for his bucolic childhood on the farm.
  • Effulgent
    • 1. Shining brightly; radiant. 2. (Of a person or their expression) emanating joy or goodness.
    • Her beauty was enhanced by her effulgent personality.
  • Gauche
    • Lacking ease or grace; unsophisticated and socially awkward.
    • His gauche demeanor made Tom stand out like a sore thumb in the crowd of New York socialites.
  • Guttle
    • To eat or drink greedily and noisily.
    • As the man across from her guttled his meal, Sabrina knew the blind date had been a mistake.
  • Mugwump
    • A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics.
    • Ever the mugwump, John refused to take a side in the partisan bickering that divided his office.
  • Stultify
    • Cause to lose enthusiasm and initiative, especially as a result of a tedious or restrictive routine.
    • The stultifying file work robbed the young intern of the joy she'd shown on the first day.