Has anyone else gotten one of those e-mails, probably dating back to 2004 or earlier, talking about the Annual Neologism Contest held by the Washington Post? I suspect the same e-mail or one just like it has circled the globe several times. The last one I got read like this:
Once again, the Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. The winners are:
- Coffee: The person upon whom one coughs.
- Flabbergasted: Appalled over how much weight you have gained.
- Abdicate: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
- Esplanade: To attempt an explanation while drunk.
- Willy-nilly: Impotent.
- Negligent: A condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your night-gown.
- Lymph: To walk with a lisp.
- Gargoyle: Olive-flavored mouthwash.
- Flatulence: Emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
- Balderdash: A rapidly receding hairline.
- Testicle: A humorous question on an exam.
- Rectitude: The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
- Pokemon: A Rastafarian proctologist.
- Oyster: A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
- Frisbeetarianism: The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
- Circumvent: An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
And, the Washington Post’s “Style Invitational” asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some of the classic winners:
- Bozone: 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."
- Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
- Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
- Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
- Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
- Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
- Osteopornosis: A degenerates disease.
- Karmageddon: It’s, like, when everybody is giving off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the earth explodes and it’s, like, a serious bummer.
- Decafalon: The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
- Glibido: All talk and no action.
- Dopeler effect (n.): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
- Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
- Beelzebug: Satan, in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3:00 in the morning and cannot be cast out.
- Caterpallor: The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.
- Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an ar**hole.
A Libertarian Version
Those are pretty good aren't they? (But who knows what year they actually came from?) We can do better. I got to thinking about a similar category of words, only focused specifically on the topics of interest to people like those who frequent LRC. I came up with a few for both lists that I present (mixed together) below, but this is only a start.
- Neocon: A newly-created way to screw those you ostensibly serve out of money, freedom, or hopefully, both, e.g., "Any legitimate contender for the office of president must implement a few fruitful neocons during the First 100 Days."
- Idiocracy©: Rule by idiots who mistakenly think they are gifted or chosen or elite. (Courtesy Karen Kwiatkowski.)
- Apalogetic: The act of being such a great friend as to be sorry for something someone else did to you, e.g., "Harry Whittington was apalogetic after being shot by the Vice President."
- Dooferment: Avoiding military service because you're stupid or for unimaginably transparent reasons, e.g., "You mean you got five dooferments by entering a different college every time you could have been drafted? Nice!" (Okay, so I changed two letters instead of only one. Sue me.)
- Unhaling: Smoking something without actually, you know, smoking it, e.g., "Clinton is famous for unhaling during his supposed only attempts to spark up the chronic."
- Greenback emissions: Slang for the smell rising off the cash people make from the anthropogenic global warming scam, e.g., "As chairman of Generation Investment Management, Al Gore's financial holdings are starting to give off some substantial greenback emissions!"
- Fundamentalist: Someone who believes that the quest for profit is literally inherent, e.g., "As an anarcho-capitalist, I might also be considered fundamentalist, but not if state-sponsored coercion is used in concert."
- Terraphobiosity: The practice of using the threat of terrorist attacks to keep the sheeple in line, e.g., "Politicians have long been practitioners of terraphobiosity, but this President takes it to high art."
- Overbyte: A condition caused when a person gets too much "news" from simplistic sound bytes on network television, e.g., "Stan used to be conversant in world affairs, but now he seems to be stricken with overbyte; he only cares about Paris Hilton."
- Smirkism: One of the banal justifications President Bush gives either before or after one of his (patented) smirks, e.g., <smirk> "We have to fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them here." <smirk> (The smirkism is the sentence in-between!)
So this is our challenge. Can y'all come up with more (and frankly, better ones) than I? If you think of some good ones — or even some that aren't so good — send them to me. I'll compile and appropriately group the list(s) and report back here at some point in the near future.
Who's with me?
Wilt Alston [send him mail] lives in Rochester, NY, with his wife and three children. When he's not training for a marathon or furthering his part-time study of libertarian philosophy, he works as a principal research scientist in transportation safety, focusing primarily on the safety of subway and freight train control systems.