Wayne State Word Warriors Present List of Long-Lost Words to Revive in 2021

The 12th annual collection aims to put muscle in people’s language, be they blatteroons or snollygosters.

What would you call someone who gives you their opinion on something about which they know… nothing?

While a few expletives may come to mind, you can say this about them: They are being ultracrepidarian.

That adjective — it’s also a noun — is one of ten words compiled by Wayne State University’s Word Warriors, whose mission is to revive English words that have fallen out of usage over time.

“There’s almost a like a little tingle you get, like ‘oh, yeah, that’s a good word.'” — Chris Williams on how hit feels when the Word Warriors find a word that should be revived.

Chris Williams is the assistant director of editorial services for WSU’s Office of Marketing and Communications. He’s also the chief Word Warrior. 

He says his team regularly sifts through words submitted by people around the world.

Pat Batcheller
Pat Batcheller

“People who follow us on Facebook or just know of the website can submit a word,” Williams says. “We look at that word and see if it meets our criteria.”

And what are the criteria?

“They need to be words that have fallen out of use,” he says. “If we see that trend has gone down in the last 50 to 100 years, that’s a nice note that this a word worth recognizing.”

Williams says they prefer not to highlight slang words, and they must be English. When they find one that meets the criteria, he says it’s a good feeling.

“There’s almost like a little tingle,” he says. “Like, that’s a good word, I haven’t heard it before or heard it in a long time.”

Listen: Chris Williams defines the words and use them in sentences.

Here’s this year’s list:

  • Anagapesis: That feeling when you have no feelings anymore for someone you once loved.
  • Blatteroon: Someone who brags or babbles about nonsense.
  • Brontide: A low, muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions, especially along seacoasts and over lakes, thought to be caused by weak earth tremors (see also: Windsor hum)
  • Dysania: When you really, really, really don’t want to get out of bed.
  • Footle: To engage in fruitless activity or mess around.
  • Maleolent: Foul-smelling, odorous.
  • Paralian: Someone who lives by the sea.
  • Snollygoster: A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.
  • Sophronize: To impart moral principles and discipline to someone, such as parents do with children.
  • Ultracrepidarian: When someone gives you their opinion on something they know nothing about.

Williams says anyone can submit a word for next year’s list. 

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  • Pat Batcheller

    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.