Non-words for September

Here are September’s Non-Words, with thanks to Mary Williams, Heidi Dalgarno, Robert Arellano, the late Wilkins-O’Reilly Zinn, and William della Santina. There are a couple of bonus words in the definitions too, like spoonerize and illiteral. (Illiterally should mean not literal, except of course when literally is used as a contranym.) I had a tough time choosing between hopelessless and hopelessnessless, which should mean different things. I learned a few new real words, like studentry, an old word for student body which deserves revival, finick (to be affectedly refined), and advertence (heedfulness) as well as some neologisms coined by others, like hoi olligoi (on the polloi pattern).

The words:

    gleeflect, v. to gleefully deflect other points of view with sarcasm, irony and snark to play to one’s audience. 1 Sep

    beloathed, adj. families or groups joined, Hatfield/McCoy-like, in multi-generational hatred. 2 Sep

    xeratask, v., to sit in the dry, warm, end-of-summer sunshine, doing nothing. 3 Sep

    etymologue: one who confuses etymological faithfulness with precise usage. 4 Sep

    impristine, adj. having a minute bit of dirt, error, or some other natural flaw that is noticeable but barely so. 5 Sep

    werror, n. (pronounced wee-rer) a metaphorical mirror in which we see our collective, illiteral reflection. 6 Sep

    twithear and overread, v. to overhear on Twitter (twithear) or on Facebook (overread, thanks to Mary Williams). 7 Sep

    thunklessness, n. the combination of malice and weakness that makes one a bully. 8 Sep

    gogamagog, n. any large but unidentifiable outdoor sculpture; may also refer to buildings. 9 Sep

    homescape, n. the landscape of a home and what the arrangement and display of things reveals (thx to Heidi Dalgarno). 10 Sep

    factuum, n. (pr. “fact-yoom”) a fact-free zone in politics characterized by misrepresentation, not facts. 11 Sep

    psoeuvre, n. (pronounced “psoover”) the pseudonymous works of a writer. 12 Sep

    detreat, v. to recover one’s equilibrium and catch up on work after a week of strategic planning retreats. 13 Sep

    gwid, n. (pronounced “gweed”) someone who is malleable but also quick to understand what is going on. 14 Sep

    anticdote, n. a story of personal hijinks told as an ice-breaker in a public speaking situation (tks Robert Arellano). 15 Sep

    humbiliate, v. to humiliate oneself by being excessively humble. 16 Sep

    debitnaire, adj. an image of class or breeding established on borrowed money. 17 Sep

    falquism, n. to overly value autonomy versus interdependence; to work in silos (from the Latin “fala,” a siege tower). 18 Sep

    nilieu [pr. nil-you] an environment or setting in which nothing much is happening. 19 Sep

    herdonism, to be pleasure-seeking in a totally conformist fashion; to follow the hedonistic herd. 20 Sep

    convocative, adj. oratory which simultaneously reassures, exhorts and provokes. 21 Sep

    blandemonium, n. irrational enthusiasm for something exceedingly ordinary—food, entertainment, books, etc. 22 Sep

    collectory, n. autoethnographic research by purposefully repurposing found objects (from Wilkins-O’Reilly Zinn). 23 Sep

    triple-dog, adj. anything daring or edgy but apt to pull in many directions (idea from William della Santina). 24 Sep

    liviousness, sensitivity to the feelings, needs and desires of others (backformed from obliviousness). 25 Sep

    hopelessless, adj. not exactly hopeful, but lacking hopelessness; having an average amount of hope. 26 Sep

    perfexhibitionist, n. one who flaunts his or her perfectionism as an excuse to procrastinate. 27 Sep

    assessin, n. one who removes the joy from something by measuring it. 28 Sep

    indubiate, v. to cause to doubt (when used as a noun, a group whose legitimacy is called into doubt). 29 Sep

    tumbletongued, adj. prone to misspeak, malaprop, or spoonerize. 30 Sep

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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