Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

Obambulate your way out of this linguistic subtopia


New words get added to the English language all the time: we're bombarded, inundated, overwhelmed by press releases from dictionary publishers in which such excrescences as listicle, clickbait and neckbeard are added to the collective vocab.

But who ever spares a thought for the various excellent old words being pushed onto the sidelines by the rabble of newcomers? Who makes an effort to preserve the glories of the past?

Well the good people at the Wayne State University Word Warriors project do, for example. As they point out:

English includes more words than any other language, and this glorious variety gives speakers of English an unparalleled capacity for nuance and precise expression. But sometimes this gift can be difficult to discern.

Too often we limit ourselves to words that are momentarily popular or broadly applicable, and so rob ourselves of English’s inherent beauty and agility. Alarmed by this tendency, the Word Warriors of Wayne State University propose to help rejuvenate the language we love by advocating for words of style and substance that see far too little use.

Each year the Word Warriors compile a top-ten listicle of seldom used favourites which they'd like to see restored to common utterance. The 2015 list, just released, includes caterwaul, concinnity ("the skilful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something") and flapdoodle - as well as our personal favourite, obambulate ("to walk about", apparently).

Those finding themselves dumfounded at the failure of the project to include a favourite word on its master list - as we were, it does not include dumfounded for instance - should nominate their favourites toute de suite. ®


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