What's the word? Wayne State University has new list of obscure words worth using | Michigan Radio
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What's the word? Wayne State University has new list of obscure words worth using

Jan 6, 2021

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Do you sometimes have trouble finding just the right word?

Wayne State University is out with its annual list of long forgotten words worthy of a second chance.

So if you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, you can simply say you have Dysania [di-SANE-nee-ah]. 

Engaging in a lot of fruitless activity during the pandemic, that’s footling [FOO-tuh-ling].

And there's snollygoster [SNOL-lee-gos-tur] , a shrewd, unprincipled person, especially politician.

There are seven other words on the list that quite frankly are as hard to pronounce as their meanings are obscure. But they are worth checking out.

Wayne State researchers hope their list will encourage more people to search the linguistic cellar for more expressive language.

“Each year, I’m surprised by the variety of the submissions we receive from around the world,” says Chris Williams, assistant director of editorial services for Wayne State Marketing and Communications, and head of WSU’s Word Warriors program. “Our Word Warriors once again provided a batch of words that make our language richer.”

Wayne State University has been compiling an annual list of eminently useful words for the past 12 years.

Here’s the complete 2021 list:

  1.  Anagapesis

Loss of feelings for someone who was formerly loved.

“They sat in silence in their usual coffee shop, the anagapesis growing as their drinks cooled.”

  1.  Blatteroon

A senseless babbler or boaster.

“The bartender groaned at the string of nonsense coming from the blatteroon in the corner; he could cut off his drinks, but the man was stone-cold sober.”

  1. Brontide

A low, muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions, especially along seacoasts and over lakes and thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors.

“He sat watching the water, his dread enhanced by drone of the brontide.”

  1. Dysania

The state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

“On Mondays, my dysania can cause me to reach for the snooze alarm upward of five times.”

  1. Footle

Engage in fruitless activity; mess about.

“He footled around the house aimlessly, ignoring the checklist of chores his wife had left on the fridge.”

  1. Maleolent

Foul-smelling, odorous.

“The restaurant was set at the end of the street, likely to shield the community from the maleolent fog that wafted from its kitchen.”

  1. Paralian

Someone who lives by the sea.

“He escaped the noise of the city, bought a beach house on the Pacific coast and became a paralian.”

  1. Snollygoster

A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.

“The tone of national politics changed when humble public servants were replaced by power-hungry snollygosters.”

  1. Sophronize

To imbue with moral principles or self-control.

“Parents have an obligation to sophronize their children.”

  1. Ultracrepidarian

Expressing opinions on matters outside the scope of one’s knowledge or expertise.

“Many who haven’t had kids are too eager to give ultracrepidarian advice to parents.”