Don’t Perendinate Over Wayne State’s Forgotten Words List, It’s No Gewgaw

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Image credit: Pat Batcheller

Wayne State’s Word Warriors solicited global input on forgotten terms that should be revived.

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Do “dad jokes” make you laugh loudly? Are your thoughts clear? Have you ever put something off for two days or more?

There are words for all of these situations, but you might not have heard of them. Wayne State University’s Word Warriors can help.

I love the beauty of some of these old words, the way they sound, and they way they describe what they mean.” - Chris Williams, Wayne State University

Chris WilliamsPat Batcheller
Pat Batcheller

Chris Williams

The school has published its annual list of words that have all but disappeared from the English language. Unlike Lake Superior State University’s “banished words” list, The Word Warriors list seeks to revive words that have fallen out of use over the years. 

Chris Williams works in Wayne State’s marketing and communications department. He says nominations for the list come from all over the world.

We had people from as far away as New Zealand submitting words,” Williams says.

Now in its 11th year, the Word Warriors list aims to enrich people’s vocabulary and understanding of the language.

One of his favorite words on the 2020 list is cachinate, which means “to laugh loudly.”

I love it because it sounds like cackling,” Williams says. “They have different origins, but they’re both modeled after the sound of laughter.”

So if “dad jokes” amuse you, don’t by shy, go ahead and cachinate.

Click on the player above to hear Chris Williams conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.


Not all submissions make the list. Williams says someone from New Zealand offered “floccinaucinihilipilification,” which describes the action of habit of describing something that’s worthless.

I couldn’t put it on the list because I had to save print space,” Williams says.

Here are the rest of this year’s entries, listed alphabetically, and their definitions:

  • Coruscate — (Of light) to flash or sparkle.
  • Gewgaw — A worthless, showy bauble.
  • Luculent — Clear in thought or expression.
  • Mullock — Rubbish, refuse, dirt.
  • Perendinate — to procrastinate a long time, especially two or more days.
  • Redolent — Reminiscent or suggestive of, like a scent.
  • Seriatim — Taking one subject after another in regular order; point by point.
  • Somnambulant — Resembling or characteristic of a sleepwalker; sluggish.
  • Velleity — A wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

Click here to nominate a word you’d like to revive.


More from WDET

OK, Boomer,” Here’s Lake Superior State University’s 2020 Banished Words List

Hungry For a Bigger Vocabulary? Slonk These Words in 2019


Pat Batcheller, Senior News Editor

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.

pbatcheller@wdet.org Follow @patbwdet

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