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First, some words that I wished I could have used. I wanted to used haberdash as a verb meaning “to run after a hat that has blown off your head.” But haberdash is already a verb (to deal in small things, hence haberdasher) and the Urban Dictionary lists it as meaning to jump into someone else’s photograph. I’m not quite ready to just redefine existing words. Too bad. Haberdash should mean chasing your hat.
And I wanted to use ginormal to mean something that is now normally larger than it used to be—supersized. But ginormal is in the Urban Dictionary as “Ginormously normal. 2: Something that is extremely average. 3: Something that is far from being out of ordinary.” Again, I like my definition better. The Urban Dictionary’s are, well, extremely average and far from being out of ordinary. But so far I haven’t come up with another word that fits the definition I had in mind. So feel free to use ginormal my way.
I hoped to use quatement and queech to refer to statements posing as questions and (still worse) speeches posing as questions (if you’ve ever attended an academic talk you know what I mean). But the Urban Dictionary already uses quatement to describe uptalk—statements made with question intonation. And queech is in there as well, with three meanings.
I toyed with using pubbub to mean “bar fight” but pubbub seemed to be in use already in other ways, so I switched it up to snubbub.
Some acknowledgements—textumble came from a conversation with geology professor Charles Lane about a year ago and has been rattling around in my head ever since (and it presented an interesting spelling challenge—textumble, texttumble, or textstumble, with a silent s). Improvision is based on a suggestion by my colleague Margaret Perrow. Every-which-wayiness is a compound that I overheard in a talk by linguist Lucy Thomason, who used it to refer to hair. I liked the idea of extending that to tangled arguments as well.
Thanks again to Rick Bleiweiss, Leroy Fulwiler and Lucia Hadella for their suggestions: travelostity, spamplitude and jobportunity. I wanted to use Mary Maher’s suggested neuterize, a synonym for neuter (with the wonderfully ironic redundant suffix), but the Urban Dictionary already had neuterize listed with the not-bad meaning of “To make men and women, and society, devoid of gender tendencies or characteristics in the attempt to eliminate feminity [sic.] and masculinity.” Hmm, feminity … a found non-word.
Here are January’s Non-Words:
resolvevolvolution n. A new year’s resolution made many times before (from resolve +(re)volve+(resol)ution). 1 Jan
exitstentialist n. paranoid fatalist who insists on being seated facing the door in restaurants. 2 Jan
anakimbo adj. any human body position in which the hands are not on the hips with elbows pointed outward. 3 Jan
caucauphony n. quadrennial noise from the Iowa caucuses, not to be confused with cawcawphony, a symphony of crows. 4 Jan
frontlong adj. directed straight ahead, as in a frontlong glance. 5 Jan
diaperarazzi n. paparazzo who specialize in photos of celebrities’ newborns. 6 Jan
para-abnormal adj. a contranym meaning both normal and abnormally paranormal. 7 Jan
orphography, n. – font styles that no one can read (eg, Kunstler Script). 8 Jan
whych – interrogative pronoun (pronounced WHY-CH), which and why, as in “Whych do you prefer?” 9 Jan
qweach, n. a speech disguised as a question, esp. one asked after an academic talk (also spelled queech, queach). 10 Jan
textumble, v. or n. to fall up or down steps while texting, or the fall itself. 11 Jan
dawndle, v. not getting out of bed when the alarm goes off (from dawn + dawdle). 12 Jan
slurname, n. a surname which is homophonous with an ethnic, racial, sexual or other slur. 13 Jan
bainstaking, n. or adj. extracting short-term profit through layoffs, factory closings, and planned bankruptcies. 14 Jan
Jojones, n. addiction-like craving for deep-fried potato wedges. 15 Jan
throught (pronounced THRAWT) n. a thought that makes you overly excited or anxious (from thought + wrought). 16 Jan
virony, (pronounced VI-rony or VIR-ony), n. veiled irony expressed by females about or toward males. 17 Jan
ropadopamine, n. neurotransmitter which produces a calmness that allows one to outlast one’s adversaries. 18 Jan
precipapointment, n. the unfulfilled expectation of a snow day. 19 Jan
begoogled, adj. lost for long stretches of time sifting through marginally relevant search results. 20 Jan
every-which-wayiness, n. randomly tangled and protruding, used of both hair and argumentation. 21 Jan
flabricate, v. to lie about one’s waist size or weight. 22 Jan
banggage, n. political baggage resulting from past infidelities. 23 Jan
improvision, n. the act of providing by improvising (or scrounging). 24 Jan
soarical, adj. lyrical, lofty or aspirational but not to an icarian degree. 25 Jan
snubbub, n. a noisy misunderstanding arising from a perceived slight. 26 Jan
flossolalia, n. unintelligible speech that occurs when you talk to someone while flossing your teeth. 27 Jan
travelostity, n. aimless driving that occurs when males refuse to read maps or ask directions (from Rick Bleiweiss). 28 Jan
irrigorous, adj. 1. having low standards, easy, 2. extremely inaccurate. 29 Jan
jobportunity, n. the opportunity to have a job [the p is silent] (suggested by Lucia Hadella). 30 Jan
spamplitude, n. the ratio of spam to useful mail in your inbox (suggested by Leroy Fulwiler). 31 Jan
Got a favorite? Or a suggestion? Post a comment. Or email me at edbattistella followed by usual gmail stuff.