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College looks to revive forgotten words in 2018. Do you remember them?

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Samples from the list include the words "compunction," "nugatory," and "littoral." (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

For the past 40 years, Lake Superior State University has released a controversial list of words and phrases to banish in the New Year. Another linguistic tradition, in its ninth year, is Wayne State University’s annual list of neglected words which should see greater use.

Samples from the list include the words “compunction,” “nugatory,” and “littoral.”

It’s almost shocking to see a college bring back the days of old. After all, how many “dead, white men” who possibly even owned slaves uttered such words in the past? If social justice warriors have their way, Wayne State’s list may not make it to its 10th year in 2019.

Related: College banishes 14 words and phrases to start the New Year, including 'nothingburger' and 'covfefe'

Here's the full list, released Tuesday, with the university's definitions and a sentence using each word:


  • Impossible to overcome.
  • He never considered an obstacle insuperable; if a mountain were in his path, he'd simply learn to climb.


  • 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.


  • Fragile; brittle.
  • He picked up the frangible remains of the stained-glass display, which promptly fell apart in his hands.


  • Cultured, refined and well mannered.
  • Her couth delivery was a relief following the blithering performance of her predecessor.


  • 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.


  • (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.


  • Of no value or importance.
  • He rambled on for hours, his big words masking the nugatory contribution he made to the debate.


  • Spiteful; bad-tempered.
  • He was in a bilious mood, given that it was Monday morning and he hadn't yet had his coffee.


  • 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.


  • 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.

“Some may think that 2017 was an insuperable year, but Wayne State University’s Word Warriors are determined to end it with a eucatastrophe," a press release stated. "This year, Wayne State’s Word Warriors have plumbed their knowledge of recondite words in an attempt to make conversation a bit more couth."