A University’s List of Words to Revive

Lake Superior State University releases a list every New Year’s Eve of words and phrases that it would like to see disappear. A fellow Michigan institution, Wayne State University, takes a different approach: as a new year starts, the university releases a list of words that have been neglected and that deserve greater use. Here’s this year’s list, released Tuesday, with the university’s definitions, and a sentence using each word.

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.

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