Dept. of Word Lists

Wayne State Word Warriors to the Rescue!

Six years running, the logophiles at Wayne State University, a.k.a. the Wayne State Word Warriors, have curated a crowd-sourced list of rare words that "deserve a bit more love." These are words that used to be commonly known and are still useful, but have started to drop out of the English lexicon.

Wayne State Warriors' mission? To bring great words like rapscallion, caterwaul, and melange back to life.

They set out to make this happen by publishing a top ten version of the previous year's list every January, targeting the words most in need of rescue. Think of it like as a catalog of puppies up for adoption. Minus the need for housebreaking and obedience school.

At the release of the words for 2015, the Warriors wrote: 

In May, the words "hashtag," "selfie" and "tweep" were among 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, proof of how our culture continues to expand our communication.…Still, we think some old words deserve a bit more love.…

"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."

Want to be part of the effort to keep these words alive and well in our lexicon? Check out:

"Word Warriors: Four Years of Words Worth Reviving, 2009-2013" or

"Wayne State Word Warriors Words to Rescue, 2014-2015 Edition"

…and adopt one or two of these highly deserving words by learning them on

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Comments from our users:

Tuesday January 20th 2015, 11:38 PM
Comment by: The Poet (Kellogg, IA)
I have a farrago of words that I would bring back as well.
Power to the word my friends. I am so tired of people who read my poetry and tell me to use common words that they understand.
An Etching

When you think of a poem,
Consider it as an etching,
A thing to be inked, then printed onto a substrate
As is this medium which we call the mind.

An indelible presence carried with the reader
For the rest of his/her time to be in existence
On this incredibly remote and isolated bastion
A microscopic scintilla in God’s infinite creation.

A stimulation that has harmony or discordance alike
That adds to or subtracts from the cognitive perception
Of some unknown one’s cerebral egoistic existence
In her/his space-time continuum far from this reality.

A simulation of what is for the creator,
At just that wondrous moment of parturition
The most elucidative statement with which to express
What is the most paramount concern to him/her

Which or what illative mix is not important
Just that in some way the terminal result
Is to change the reader in whatever way
It happens to…or not.

So putting connotative symbols
On precious velum or in ordered pixel data
We pile them in obscure files, dusty tomes
To be flung across the ages for others to peruse.

Hoping then to etch ideas onto
Empty soul canvases and so to ease
The emptiness found in our soul’s residence…
To ease that feeling of limitless separation.

David L. Faircloth

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