Wayne State University

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Wayne State University

Public Relations

Media Report

January 14, 2013

Mawkish, troglodytes among words Wayne State seeks to save from extinction

While one university seeks to banish words, another wants to save some from the brink of extinction. Wayne State University unveiled Thursday its annual list of the top 10 most useful – and underused – words in the English language. The 2013 list includes such colorful gems as “buncombe,” which means rubbish or nonsense; “cerulean,” meaning the blue of the sky; and “dragoon,” to compel by coercion. “We have a wonderfully rich resource at our disposal, the English language,” said Jerry Herron, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. “The more we use that language to its full capacity, the more we are able to discriminate and describe the world around us, the more interesting the world gets to be.” The goal of the list, he said, is to “encourage people to experience the joys of the English language.” Herron also was an in-studio guest on WDET’s Craig Fahle Show, and was interviewed on campus by Fox 2’s Jason Carr.



  • Detroit Free Press, WDET-FM, WJBK Fox 2, USA Today, WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids), Pacific Standard (Santa Barbara, Calif.), 1/11; WPLG-TV (Miami, Fla.), 1/12; Inside Higher Ed, 1/14
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