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Archive for February, 2019

Toss Out the Dictionary

Throw Out the Dictionary

Language is funny. And I don’t just mean those unusual words that all comedy writers know will elicit a smile or a giggle – words such as caddywumpus, pantaloons, spelunker, wenis, and zamboni. And if you imagine a spelunker in pantaloons riding a zamboni, just try not to crack up until you’re sitting caddywumpus on the floor.

Accidentally making up words is a favorite pastime of mine. For example, I once told someone their dog had the “swaggliest” tail. Clearly I meant “waggiest,” but some dogs’ tails hang in a drooping curve as they wag, so I think “swaggliest” is a fine addition to the English language. Much better than, say, “twerk,” which as far as I’m concerned means “throw you back out doing something stupid.”

I don’t consider myself a mis-speaker; I’m a language development leader.

In recent years, dictionary editors (those dusty folk with smudged John Lennon glasses and permanent scowls — or so I imagine them) have had to kowtow (another excellent and funny word) to the hoi polloi and accept such words as bling, bromance, chillax, d’oh, infomania, jeggings, and mankini. At the same time, other words that had been common have disappeared. What ever happened to malagrug (a dismal person), brabble (a noisy squabble over nothing), or supererogate (to do more than is expected or required)? I guess with the latter, there are so few people who fit the category, we substituted “slacker,” a word that means the opposite.

As a wordie myself (imagine a foodie, only with language instead of edibles), I have a list of words I’d like added to dictionaries everywhere. These include (I do have more):

  • Addendumb – Anyone who reads books from cover to cover, including the copyright registration and addendum in order to quell an abiding fear than they aren’t as smart as they let on.
  • Aprius – Any car stuck behind a Prius.
  • Bathematics – Quick calculations of how much weight wet hair adds before stepping on the bathroom scale.
  • Deppth – A thorough and complete understanding of the subtext of the movies of Johnny Depp.
  • Dispurrage — To demean and belittle all of humankind, especially those nearby, for not attending to your feline’s needs quickly enough.
  • Flingerie – Flannel lingerie; very popular in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Fobia – Phear of things that aren’t spelled like they sound.
  • Gendrification – The manner in which women will take over the world.
  • Gloatee – One who experiences euphoria upon realizing that yet another hipster trend has gone the way of the too-tight skinny jean.
  • Palindrone – A professor whose lectures sound the same forwards and backwards.
  • Schadenfriend – Someone who only likes you when your life is awful.
  • Silly string theory — The hypothesis that the universe consists of random acts of silliness connected by invisible strings that don’t stick to your clothes
  • Snee – An incomplete sneeze.
  • Zumbarrassment – The feeling that comes over anyone trying to follow Zumba moves for the first time.

Come on, dictionary peeps — let’s do this!

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