February’s Non-words

Here are the non-words for February.

    febrfy v. to reduce by 2/30ths. 1 Feb.

    punxatognostication, n. (PUNK-suh-TOG-nos-TIK-a -SHUN) prediction made by a groundhog (Punxsutawney + prognostication). 2 Feb

    epic-cure, n. behavior modification for those who overuse the adjective “epic”. 3 Feb

    komenkazi, adj. crash-and-burn attack by one non-profit on another. 4 Feb

    nosticate v. to assess your recovery from a cold by the color of your mucous. 5 Feb

    nojo, n. the loss of one’s mojo or the lack of mojo altogether. 6 Feb

    meanter, v. (ME-ant-er) to unintentionally use a word with a novel meaning, in other words, to malaprop. 7 Feb

    kimpy, adj. even skimpier than skimpy, used of portions or apparel. 8 Feb

    scurl, v. to make a vulgar remark about someone to damage their reputation (backformed from scurrilous). 9 Feb

    wentness, n. condition of being present and then leaving at a break or intermission (“My wentness was unnoticed”). 10 Feb

    defixes, n. prefixes or suffixes that become words, like ex, bi, ism, and ish. 11 Feb

    cashugenah, n. (ka-SHUG-a-na) euphemism for buttocks, as in “a pain in the cashugena” (suggested by Mary Maher). 12 Feb

    polyvalentine, n. (poly VAY len tine) the same “Be mine” card sent to two or more sweethearts. 13 Feb

    valentingle, n. the pleasure you get from receiving a Valentine’s Day card or greeting. 14 Feb

    whew!able, adj. (HWUUH-able) characterizing a close call, as in a whew!able drive. 15 Feb

    soloria, n. the pleasant feeling inspired by sunshine (from “sol” plus “euphoria”), contributed by Lucia Hadella. 16 Feb

    megajoyment n. expression or feeling of great pleasure or satisfaction (contributed by Rick Hardt). 17 Feb

    venge, v. to avenge or get revenge (an ambiguous clipping), especially in a sporting contest. 18 Feb

    testosterantics, n. the ridiculous things males do to attract female attention (suggested by Charlotte Hadella). 19 Feb

    fratulence n. – A unique malodor associated with frat houses, dorm rooms, and gym bags (suggested by Leroy Fulwiler). 20 Feb

    hypirically, adv. a claim that assumes that the evidence of its validity exists (from hypothetical + empirical). 21 Feb

    velsh, n. onomatopoeic term for the sound of Velcro opening. 22 Feb

    ensliden, v. to mention or cite a colleague on a PowerPoint slide. 23 Feb

    fnast, n. the sound of nasal passages being cleared inward, an ingressive snort (from Old English fnastian). 24 Feb

    preventertainment, n. school programs featuring local celebrities warning about gangs, drug use, sex, drinking, etc. 25 Feb

    doubtcome, n. a close electoral result triggering an automatic recount or court challenge. Feb 26

    lapture, n. the pleasant feeling you sometimes get in your groin driving over rumble bars or a sudden dip in the road. Feb 27

    nomophophobia, n. (NO muh fuh FO bi uh) fear of being without a cell phone or cell phone signal. Feb 28

    leapwork, n. the extra unpaid work you do when February 29 comes on a weekday (suggested by Brian Stonelake). Feb 29

Thanks to Rick Hardt, Charlotte Hadella, Lucia Hadella, Mary Maher, Leroy Fulwiler, and Brian Stonelake. Charlotte’s testosterantics came about when she found a word to match the definition suggested by the Phoenix High School writing group. I was glad for Leroy Fulwiler’s fratulence. I had been toying with fartulence for a while but couldn’t think of an interesting definition other than “malapropism of flatulence,” but I’m not sure about using malapropisms as definitions. Polyvalentine was my fallback when I learned that ambivalentine had already by used as the title of a poem. I was hoping to play a bit more with valence and valentine, but the results seemed too heavy handed. But I was happy to introduce a word with a bang (!) as a letter and was pleasantly surprised to learn that venge was not yet a word since allows for a non-word with an ambiguous etymology. Got a favorite non-word? Let me know.

On to March.

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology was released by Oxford University Press in June of 2014.
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