It’s been a little quiet around here of late. I’m a little out of juice. A little short of words, bar the expletives, which are flowing from my brain like water. Today, the Washington Post’s round-up of winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, emailed by a friend in Dubai (Hi Tan!) has prompted me to come up with a few neologisms of my own. I figure, if I don’t have any words, why the hell not just make some up?
A neologism, in case you’re confused, is a newly coined term, word, or phrase that may be frequently used in everyday life but is not yet formally accepted as mainstream language. Neologisms represent the evolving nature of the English language. An example would be ‘to google’ as a verb, or the word ‘app’. ‘Homophobia’ is a political example, and ‘jumping the shark’ an example from pop culture.
I’ll use these new and awesome neologisms (plus my own) in a little round-up at the end to describe my last few days, because, as your english teacher always said ‘use the word in a sentence’ – it helps it stick. And, for sure, these words are destined to bust their way into the Macquarie Dictionary’s forthcoming edition. Because I said so.
The Washington Post asks readers to supply alternative meanings for common words. Here are my favourites. I suspect they’ve been recycled over the years, but I don’t care. I love it (and yes, I’m singing that song in my head right now, thank you, Icona Pop).
- Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
- Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
- Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
- Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
- Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
- Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
- Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
- Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
The Washington Post’s Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
My favourites are:
- Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
- Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of having sex.
- Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
- Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
- Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
- Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
- Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.
- Ignoranus (n): A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
I’ve added a few of my own brand-new, freshly-pressed terms here, which we will heretofore refer to as ‘Kimisms’:
- Smalingerer (n.): A small person with mysterious conditions that arise at bedtime, usually involving unquenchable thirst and an unstaunchable bladder.
- Dearlirious (adj).): Describes a condition whereby a person is so tired, old or drunk they smile and nod inanely throughout a conversation, without having any clue what is being said.
- Whine (n.): The earth-shattering wail you elicit when you discover the wine bottle is empty.
- Sexorcism (n.): A ritualistic dance performed by small people involving clinging, whinging, stamping and screeching. It renders adults unable to contemplate sex lest their personal space be further invaded, or, horrifyingly, they produce further sexorcists.
So, after numerous back-to-back days with the 4-year-old sexorcist, and single-parenting the smalingerers while That Man has been working late, I have lost all patience and the ability to manage both Ignoranuses and the sarchasm that seems to be widening in the community. The decafalon well and truly OVER, I attempt an urgent inoculatte on Saturday morning, only to discover the coffee machine has somehow melted into itself. Aaaagghhhh! Come Saturday night, I may or may not have whined numerous times in the course of the evening, imitating the children I had recently evacuated from our company. I tried to esplanade the problem, but had to settle in the end for a march to the fridge myself. I then hit a state of exhaustion so complete over the following few days I became negligent on one or two occasions, and was dearlirious in my discussions with class teachers and parents at school pickups. Thankfully, tonight, I seek sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub.
Have you got any new ones of your own for me?
photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt via Photopin