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WSU Releases Annual List Of ‘Words Worth Reviving’

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(credit: istock)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Some great words that have been tossed aside in the English language could be making a comeback.

You won’t catch a reality TV star using the word troglodyte — but it may describe many of them, says Jerry Herron from the Irvin Reid Honors College at Wayne State University, which is out with its annual list of the year’s top 10 words that deserve to be used more often

“That literally means a cave-dweller. More frequently it’s used to talk about someone who’s, shall we say, a little bit mentally sluggish,” Herron said.

So, what color is the sky?

“Ah, that sky’s not blue, it’s cerulean. Then you find cerulean not just there in the sky, but those beautiful cerulean eyes of the beloved when you look into her face or his face,” Herron said. “And then once you find one of these great ways of describing the world, the world begins to speak back to you with more full and plentiful and rich meanings.”

“You know, it’s too bad that there are all of these great words that fall out of use, people forget about, and they just neglect,” Herron said.

The full list for 2013:

Buncombe
Rubbish; nonsense; empty or misleading talk.
What a relief to have the election over — that great festival of buncombe that so distracted the nation for months.

Cerulean
The blue of the sky.
Her eyes were a clear, deep cerulean blue, like no eyes Trevor had ever seen, and looking into them made him feel lighter than air, as though he could fly, but even if he could have flown he would have stayed where he was, content just to look.

Chelonian
Like a turtle (and who doesn’t like turtles?).
Weighed down by bickering and blather, the farm bill crept through Congress at a chelonian pace.

Dragoon
To compel by coercion; to force someone to do something they’d rather not.
After working in the yard all day, Michael was dragooned into going to the ballet instead of flopping down to watch the Red Wings on TV.

Fantods
Extreme anxiety, distress, nervousness or irritability.
Jeremy’s love of islands was tempered by the fact that driving over high bridges always gave him the raging fantods.

Mawkish
Excessively sentimental; sappy; hopelessly trite.
To her surprise, Beth found Robert’s words of love to be so mawkish that they made her feel sticky, as though she were being painted with molasses.

Natter
To talk aimlessly, often at great length; rarely, it means simply to converse.
You can tell our staff meetings are winding down when everybody starts nattering about their kids.

Persiflage
Banter; frivolous talk.
Emma hoped to get Lady Astor into a serious conversation, but as long as the King was around she could elicit only persiflage and gossip.

Troglodyte
Literally, a cave-dweller. More frequently a backward, mentally sluggish person.
Susan felt she could have saved the company if only the troglodytes in management had taken her advice.

Winkle
To pry out or extract something; from the process of removing the snail from an edible periwinkle.
Jack showed no inclination to leave his seat beside Alice, but Roger was determined to winkle him out of that chair no matter what it took.

To see the full list of weekly entries, or to submit a word for consideration, visit wordwarriors.wayne.edu.

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