2018 Top 10 from Word Warriors

Some may think that 2017 was an insuperable year, but Wayne State University's Word Warriors are determined to end it with a eucatastrophe. This year, Wayne State's Word Warriors have plumbed their knowledge of recondite words in an attempt to make conversation a bit more couth.

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 ninth year, Wayne State's Word Warriors series promotes words especially worthy of retrieval from the linguistic cellar.

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 Facebook each week.

"The English language has perhaps 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' 2018 list of eminently useful words that should be brought back to enrich our language:

  • Insuperable
    • Impossible to overcome.
    • He never considered an obstacle insuperable; if a mountain were in his path, he'd simply learn to climb.
  • Eucatastrophe
    • A sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story; a happy ending.
    • No matter how convoluted the story gets, every romantic comedy ends in a eucatastrophe.
  • Frangible
    • Fragile; brittle.
    • He picked up the frangible remains of the stained-glass display, which promptly fell apart in his hands.
  • Couth
    • Cultured, refined and well mannered. 
    • Her couth delivery was a relief following the blithering performance of her predecessor.
  • Compunction
    • A feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad.
    • He unleashed the flurry of tweets with no compunction about the bile he spewed.
  • Recondite
    • (Of a subject or knowledge) little known; abstruse.
    • He couldn't pass a history quiz to save his life, but the voracious reader was a repository of facts and recondite information.
  • Nugatory
    • Of no value or importance.
    • He rambled on for hours, his big words masking the nugatory contribution he made to the debate.
  • Bilious
    • Spiteful; bad-tempered.
    • He was in a bilious mood, given that it was Monday morning and he hadn't yet had his coffee.
  • Littoral
    • Relating to or situated on the shore of the sea or a lake.
    • We drove along Michigan's west coast, passing a variety of littoral towns and villages.
  • Picaresque
    • Relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero.
    • "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is one of the most picaresque novels ever written.