91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Wayne State Word Warriors have some new (old) words for you

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

For Michiganders hoping to expand their vocabularies in 2020, Wayne State University has some suggestions.

The Oxford English Dictionary estimates there are about 170 thousand words in current use in the English language. But there are more than a million words in the language overall. 

Wayne State’s Word Warriors have come up with a list of 10 words to reclaim from the linguistic cellar.  The list is composed of submissions from both WSU administrators and from people around the world.  

Though you may wish they left the cellar door closed. 

For example, you may struggle to add to the word cachinnate to a casual conversation. Cachinnate means to ‘to laugh loudly.’ Somnambulant describes a person who resembles a sleepwalker, which is a common sight on a Monday morning in any office.

You might consider this list to be rubbish (or mullock) but understand, the reason behind the list is simply to show the versatility of the English language.

To see all the words WSU administrators hope to bring back from the brink of obsolescence in years past, go to wordwarriors.wayne.edu.

Here’s the complete 2020 list:

  1. Cachinnate - To laugh loudly.

The kids were supposed to be in bed, but I could hear them cachinnating down the hall well past midnight.

  1.  Coruscate - (Of light) to flash or sparkle.

The water was still that afternoon, the sunlight coruscating off what little waves existed.

  1. Gewgaw -  A worthless, showy bauble.

Don’t waste your money on such gaudy gewgaws.

  1. Luculent - Clear in thought or expression.

The interviewee was luculent and personable.

  1. Mullock - Rubbish, refuse, dirt.

As he dug through the pile of mullock, Todd cursed himself for once again throwing his keys away.

  1. Perendinate - To procrastinate a long time, especially two days.

He received the order a month ago but perendinated on the work until 48 hours before the deadline.

  1.  Redolent -  Reminiscent or suggestive of, like a scent.

The distillery was filled with a sweet, almost cloying scent, redolent of the farm silos of my youth.

  1.  Seriatim - Taking one subject after another in regular order; point by point.

I will address the issues you raised seriatim.

  1. Somnambulant - Resembling or characteristic of a sleepwalker; sluggish.

The Monday after daylight saving time began, the office parking lot was filled with somnambulant employees doing their best to lurch to work.

  1. Velleity - A wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

Greg imagined getting off the couch and running a marathon, but his desire for exercise remained a velleity.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
Related Content