University aims to save 'good words'

Jan. 5, 2009 at 6:01 PM
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DETROIT, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A Detroit university has created a Web site aimed at keeping "good" but rarely used words in the public lexicon, officials said.

Wayne State University's "Word Warriors" Web site, which can be seen at, states its goal as to "bring good words back from oblivion," The Detroit News reported Monday.

The Web site lists "mercurial," a synonym of fickle; "sycophant," another word for a suck-up; and "charlatan," a term for an imposter, among its initial group of words that need saving.

"The English language has more words in its lexicon than any other," said Jerry Herron, dean of the university's Irvin D. Reid Honors College and a co-founder of the site. "By making use of the repertoire available to us, we expand our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more interesting place. It's one way of broadening our horizons."

"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," the Web site states. "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."

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