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Forget new words, you rapscallions should start using these 10 old words

Jan 6, 2015

Certainly the reading clerk and deputy clerk of the Crown would approve of us bringing these words back.
Credit UK Parliament / Flickr

Every year, the Word Warriors of Wayne State University come out with a list of the top 10 words that deserve to be spoken and written more often.

Chris Williams is with Wayne State University in Detroit and he joined us today.

You can listen to our conversation with him below.

We tend to overuse new words like “hashtag” and “selfie,” but the list they're talking about consists of old words that have fallen by the wayside.

Here’s their list, along with definitions and how they’re used in a sentence. Good luck incorporating them!

1. Caterwaul

A shrill howling or wailing noise.             

As the storm raged on, the caterwaul from the wind as it whipped through the trees kept me from getting any sleep.

2. Concinnity

The skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something.

As the choir sang in the vast cathedral, I couldn't help but marvel at the concinnity of Handel's "Messiah."

​3. Flapdoodle

Nonsense.

His talk show was a collection of flapdoodle about politics and conspiracies.

4. Knavery

A roguish or mischievous act.

His presidency was founded on malice, lies and knavery.

5. Melange

A mixture of different things.

Her painting was a melange of colors and shapes that dazzled the eyes.

6. Obambulate

To walk about.

During our vacation, my wife and I would wake up early and obambulate around the empty beach.

7. Opsimath

A person who begins to learn or study only late in life.

Uninterested in anything intellectual for most of his life, my father turned into an opsimath after retirement, attending lectures and always carrying a book.

8. Philistine

A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.

Ever the philistine, my dad never understood the joy I found in foreign films and classical music.

9. Rapscallion

A mischievous person.

April Fools' Day was better than Christmas for the young rapscallion.

10. Subtopia

Monotonous urban sprawl of standardized buildings.

As the city grew outward, our charming small town became a subtopia overrun with franchise pharmacies and strip malls.