Wayne State University

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2016 Top 10 from Word Warriors

The 2015 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was not a word at all.  It was an emoji – more specifically, the "face with tears of joy" emoji.

The thought of using a text-messaging symbol as a word of the year is anathema to many fans of the English language. Thankfully, to the delectation of logophiles everywhere, the Wayne State Word Warriors are back.

As part of its initiative to draw attention to some of the English language's most expressive — yet regrettably neglected — words, Wayne State University has released its annual list of the year’s top 10 words that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose.

Now beginning its eighth year, Wayne State’s Word Warriors series promotes words especially worthy of retrieval from the linguistic closet.

The Word Warriors’ extensive list is composed of submissions from both administrators of the website as well as the public; participants worldwide have seen their favorite words brought back from the brink of obsolescence at wordwarriors.wayne.edu. New entries are posted there — as well as on Twitter and Facebook — each week.

"The English language has more words in its lexicon than any other,” says Jerry Herron, dean of WSU's Irvin D. Reid Honors College and a member of the website’s editorial board. “By making use of the repertoire available to us, we expand our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more interesting place. Bringing these words back into everyday conversation is just another way of broadening our horizons."

And now, the Word Warriors' 2016 list of eminently useful words that should be brought back to enrich our language:

  • Absquatulate   
    • To discreetly leave a gathering or party without informing the host.
    • At the party, I made such a fool of myself that I felt it was best to absquatulate after a half hour.
  • Anathema
    • Something or someone that one vehemently dislikes.
    • Supporting such a vile, bigoted candidate was anathema to the young voter.
  • Delectation
    • Pleasure and delight.
    • I showed up with a box of chocolates for her delectation.
  • Epigone
    • A less distinguished follower or imitator of someone, especially an artist or philosopher.
    • Even their most loyal fans knew The Monkees were a silly, manufactured epigone of The Beatles.
  • Puerile
    • Childishly silly and trivial.
    • When his old buddies came over, Jake transformed from a respected businessman into an overgrown child, giggling at puerile jokes.
  • Rumpus
    • A noisy, confused or disruptive commotion.
    • I entered the daycare, wondering how the teachers held onto their sanity during the daily rumpus.
  • Sockdolager
    • Something that settles a matter; a decisive blow or answer.
    • On the playground, "I know you are, but what am I" is the ultimate sockdolager to many an argument.
  • Sybaritic
    • Fond of sensuous luxury or pleasure; self-indulgent.
    • As soon as the kids were out of the house, Dan cashed out his savings and had a sybaritic retirement on the Florida coast.
  • Torpid
    • Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic.
    • The torpid teen sat on the couch shoveling chips into his mouth, his eyes never breaking from Cartoon Network.
  • Turpitude
    • Depravity, wickedness.
    • The trial exposed the public to the turpitude hiding behind his pleasant demeanor.