Skip to main content

Wayne State’s 2020 word list (#980)

Topics/tags: language

Wayne State recently released its annual list of words it would like to see revived, words that were once popular, but have fallen into disuse. Here’s the list.

Cachinnate, Coruscate, Gewgaw, Luculent, Mullock, Perendinate, Redolent, Seriatim, Somnambulant, Velleity

You can refer to the article I linked for definitions.

I already knew three of the words: Gewgaw [1], Redolent, and Somnambulant. I hadn’t realized that any were in such disfavor. I feel like I see things like The wine is redolent of berries and spice fairly regularly. But maybe it’s that I read pretentious things. I spend enough of my time somnambulant that it seems I hear it regularly [2]. For some reason, I associate gewgaw with stories about the U.S. South.

But the rest? I suppose I’d heard some of them before [3]. Nonetheless, they do seem like words that are used infrequently at best.

I’m happy to learn Perendinate, a type of procrastination, particularly since I procrastinate a lot. However, I’m not sure that I completely understand the definition or example they’ve used. Here’s what appears.

Perendinate - To procrastinate a long time, especially two days.

He received the order a month ago but perendinated on the work until 48 hours before the deadline.

First of all, two days is not a long time. I’ve procrastinated on some things for a full semester, if not more. I’m pretty sure that some musing topics have stayed in the queue for three years. Turning to the example, there’s also a big difference between procrastinating for two days and procrastinating until two days before something is due. It sounds like the person in the example perendinated for twenty-eight or twenty-nine days [4].

Perhaps I should find another definition. Here’s a good candidate, taken from A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg.





  • verb tr. : To put off until the day after tomorrow.
  • verb intr.: To stay at a college for an extended time.


From Latin perendinare (to defer until the day after tomorrow), from perendie (on the day after tomorrow), from dies (day).


The word procrastinate is from Latin cras (tomorrow). So when you procrastinate, literally speaking, you are putting something off till tomorrow. Mark Twain once said, Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. In other words, why procrastinate when you can perendinate?


In Peterhouse the Master and Fellows might not allow a stranger to perendinate for more than a fortnight unless they were certified of his moral character and of his ability and willingness to do the College some notable service. Thomas Alfred Walker; Peterhouse; Hutchinson & Co.; 1906.

Yes, that’s much better. I drafted this musing on Tuesday. If I were to perendinate posting, I would not post until Thursday. But I think I’ll just procrastinate since I have another musing planned for Thursday.

What about that other meaning? If I started at Grinnell in 1997, can I say that I’ve perendinated at Grinnell? And, come to think of it, where does that meaning come from?

Postscript: Given that it’s Wayne State, you would have thought that one of their words would have to deal with dysfunctional Boards of Governors or overly intrusive trustees. But what do I know?

[1] Which I dislike.

[2] Surprisingly, aspell does not know somnambulant but knew somnambulist, which it suggested as a replacement.

[3] It helps to work with John Stone.

[4] Or, if it’s February, twenty-six or twenty-seven days.

Version 1.0 of 2020-01-07 .