But several times, beginning in Week 744 in 2007, we’ve asked for some blissful ignorance of various archaic and other obscure words, and to make up definitions that are funnier than the real thing, and perhaps repurpose the word to fill a need in Real English — a word that’s used In Real Life is a perennial goal in every neologism contest. This week’s Invitational, Week 1480, is our fourth go-round.
The earlier ones each drew words from a small section of the Oxford English Dictionary (forwarded to me by others, since I lacked my own copy until the past year); this time they range the alphabet.
There are a few Style Invitational neologisms and definitions that have caught on in my own life, if not the general English vocabulary (though many would be dang useful). One is Chris Doyle’s portmanteau “gestapolemics” — name-calling people as Nazis. Another is Walt Johnson’s “branacles,” “the dried bits of cereal stuck like glue to the bowl you should have rinsed before leaving for work.” And then there’s one from an OED contest: The word was “eclegme,” and the definition by Bruce Rusk was “Decorative but flavorless sauce dribbled around an restaurant entree. ‘Carl was unimpressed by the colorful eclegme surrounding his skimpy veal cutlet.’ ” To this day, on the rare occasions when the Royal Consort and I go out to dinner and are presented with a huge square plate with a precious little mote of actual food surrounded with flourishes of some sort of calligraphy-sauce, we’ll say, “Hope the eclegme is worth scraping up.”
By the way, if you’re looking to pick up a Compact OED for yourself — and you have your own magnifying glass — here’s one for under $20, and the seller’s being wildly overgenerous in charging $2 shipping: Even with its almost microscopic type, the 4,000-page, two-volume mofo tips the scales at 17 pounds, sans slipcase.
If you must know — and it is handy in that you don’t want to accidentally give the real meaning in your entry — at the bottom of this column are the real definitions (or at least one simplified one each) of the words. I was going to wait till the results ran to reveal the real meanings, but since Ultraloser Jesse Frankovich immediately started compiling a list of definitions as soon as I published the Invite this morning, I’ll share it with y’all now. I’m not listing pronunciations — read them as you will. (Note the two intended pronunciations for “assythe” in the results of Week 744.)
Meanwhile, for guidance, inspiration and just The Laughs, here’s a sampling from our previous OED contests.
First, here are the links to the full results. Note that all three sets of results include lots of quotes to enhance the humor of the entries:
From Week 744:
DEBOISE: The male package. “Billy won’t be playing in the second half against Bensonhurst. He got smacked in deboise.” (Tom Sullivan, Highland, Mich.– a First Offender)
BIZCACHA: Motivational blather before a sales meeting. “We set our monthly goal for syrup pickles, but we first had to wade through all that bizcacha.” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)
And the Winner of the Inker: DENNAGE: The stuff that Dad is allowed to keep only in his own room. “An arcade Pong console AND a Visible V-8 Engine — whoa, that’s some serious dennage.” (Bill Spencer, Baltimore)
ADAD: A commercial for an infomercial. (Pam Sweeney, Germantown)
ADAD: A very early clue that a baby will be dyslexic. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)
ADJECT: A campaign commercial deemed too slimy to run. [Now archaic.] (Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.) [recently outed as (Milo Sauer, Fairfax)]
ASSYTHE: A heavy-duty surgical instrument: “When the scalpel is too small for the butt reduction surgery, the plastic surgeon pulls out the assythe.” (Horace LaBadie) [a fan of Gene Weingarten, Horace in recent years became a co-writer with Gene on the comic strip “Barney and Clyde”]
ASSYTHE: What toothless hockey players shout when they help a teammate to score a goal. (Peter Metrinko)
BLIN: The capital of Ireland before its expansion. (Kevin Dopart, Chris Doyle)
DENNAGE: Gross weight measurement. The Grand Slam breakfast remains one of America’s most vital sources of dennage. (Larry Yungk)
The Week 858 results, from 2010, give a hint why Mike Gips was eager to bring this contest back.
4. Exerce: Minimal activity logged as a workout: “As I sat in the tub, I got some exerce by fighting the current as the bathwater drained.” (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)
3 Exossation: Deterioration of the spine that often occurs following a wedding ceremony. (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick)
2. Effray: The invisible beam of pure malice emitted by a raised middle finger. (Andrea Kelly, Brookeville)
And the winner of the Inker: Governail (actually a rudder): Pontius Pilate. (Mike Gips, Bethesda)
Ebulum: That stuff left on the beach after the tide recedes. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)
Ebulum: Oatmeal that dribbles back out of a baby’s mouth. (Michael Anderson, Billings, Mont.)
Echeneis: The spray produced during a sneeze: “His gazpacho-laden echeneis left his date looking like Howdy Doody with the measles.” (Roy Ashley, Washington)
Eglatere: A restaurant’s euphemism for an omelet that falls on the floor while being flipped. “The cook wiped off the dirt and droppings and sent the eglatere out to Table 3.” (Robert Inlow, Charlottesville)
Eglatere: The French name for Easter Island. (Marie Baumann, Arlington, a First Offender)
Emunge: The stuff that collects between the keys of your computer. (Ira Allen, Bethesda)
Endship: Bogus camaraderie offered by someone who’s dumping you. “We can still have an endship.” (Russell Beland, Fairfax)
Exossation: The tedium of playing 27 games of tic-tac-toe with your first-grader. (Peter Metrinko, Gainesville; Ken Gallant, Conway, Ark; and both John O’Byrne and John Stephenson of Dublin, who called it Noughts and Crosses)
Fibutor: Someone who lies about giving at the office. (Christopher Lamora, Arlington)
Hicket: A dense growth of rural necessities: “Surrounded by Bud’s Boot & Gun Emporium, A-1 Bail Bonds and a Waffle House, Thad realized too late he had driven straight into a hicket.” (Mark Gardiner, Faulkner, Md., just near those motels on Route 301)
And from Week 1002 (2012):
The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial: Hinderyeap: To pinch a friend in the rear to keep him from saying something stupid: “Hey, Mrs. Smith, when are you due? I didn’t even know you were — yeap!” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.) [Real definition: an adjective meaning cunning or deceitful]
2. Housty: The smell of someone who doesn’t get out much. “He spent so much time working on Invite entries that he developed a housty odor.” (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.) [n., a sore throat]
3. INTI: Texting retort to “run that errand yourself” — I’m Not the Intern. (Ann Martin, Bracknell, England) [n., a former Peruvian unit of currency]
4. Hispidulous: Tending to spew saliva on others when speaking. “The hispidulous preacher’s congregation got used to being rebaptized every Sunday.” (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.) [adj., slightly bristly]
Higgle: The disconcerting motion of man-boobs. “Only the Secret Service knew that Bill Clinton jogged with a sports bra for higgle control.” (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.) [n., the adjusting of prices so that demand equals supply]
Himple, n.: The pathetic result when a boy desperately uses a smear of Mom’s makeup before a date. (Tim Beach, Edgewater, Md. a First Offender) [v., to limp or hobble]
Idiopt, n.: In a multiple-choice question, an answer that is obviously wrong and included for laughs. (Fred Dawson, Beltsville, Md.) [n., a colorblind person]
Idiopt, v.: To knowingly make a stupid choice: “I guarantee Ben will idiopt to hit on the bouncer’s girlfriend.” (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
Idiopt, v.: To sign up for “special marketing offers from our partners.” (Ben Aronin, Arlington, Va.; Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)
Ikat: Siri prototype that would not interact with the user, required attention at strange hours, and would not accept the battery charger that worked fine yesterday. (Dave Hanlon, Woodbridge, Va.; Bill Smith, Reston, Va.) [n., an Asian fabric decoration technique]
Ding! Ding! New site (near Metro!) for this Sunday’s Loser brunch!
Because of few sign-ups and a concerningly high price for a buffet, this Sunday’s Loser brunch (March 20) is being relocated from Normandie Farms in Potomac, Md., to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap near the Braddock Road Metro in Alexandria, Va. Still at noon. I unfortunately have a conflict that day (I’m at an all-day choral festival) but I’ve enjoyed lunch at Lena’s; it’s a mildly upscale, attractive pub with interesting pizza and other dishes. They have outdoor seating as well. And it’s almost across the street from the Braddock Road Metrorail station on the Blue and Yellow lines. RSVP posthaste to Elden Carnahan at elden [dot] carnahan [at] gmail [dot] com.
Har-hitters*: The Googlenopes and Googleyups of Week 1476
*Non-inking entry by Jesse Frankovich, who is all over this week’s Convo
We did our first contest for Googlenopes (no results for a particular phrase within quotes) way back in 2007, and I’m truly amazed that, umpteen gazillions of search results later, you can still type in a few words and not find a website listed that contains that phrase. But the Loser Community found plenty of surprising, ironic and just plain funny ones in the results of Week 1476, as well as some humorously notable Googleyups, often to compare with the ‘Nopes.
The entries generally checked out for me except when the Loser clearly hadn’t used quotation marks around the Googleyup phrase. And for Googlenopes, I tried not to use “discoveries” resulting from particular wording; they were kind of disingenuous. For example, someone had a Googlenope with “Hey, let’s talk about Fight Club.” I didn’t use that because there are 3,000 hits for “Let’s talk about Fight Club.” Also there was a ‘Nope for “Donald Trump’s sensitive side” but there were numerous hits for “Trump’s sensitive side,” and it wasn’t referring to a side of Ivanka. Also I tended not to use Googlenope phrases written as if they were addressed to a single person (e.g., “Please tell me your Wordle score”) because that’s not something likely to appear on a website.
It’s the first Clowning Achievement — heck, the first “above-the-fold” ink at all, and just the fifth blot of any kind — for Richard Lorentz of the L.A. area. It was less than a year ago when I got an email from someone asking about the “Mensa Invitational”; “Do you or do you not sponsor such an event? This website seems to suggest that you don’t, but I can’t seem to find anything definitive one way or the other. Thanks!”
So I wrote back to Richard and set him straight and showed him the real thing, not that corrupted list of winners from one Invite neologism contest from 1998 that’s still in wide circulation with the misname (“Mensa Invitational” gives you 412,000 hits. SMH.). He sent in his first entry three days later, for Week 1427, and kept trying: Richard got his first ink in Week 1431, followed by three more in the next seven weeks. Then a dry spell.
But today, the persistence pays off: Richard found Googleyups with questioners wondering if Abraham Lincoln, Joe Biden and Homer Simpson were real people, then paired it with the Googlenope of “U.S. education is the finest.” And for that he earns the famed Disembodied Clown Head on a Stick. Plus he scores an honorable mention for finding the one person who said, “I learn a lot from infomercials.” So yay for the #$%#$ Mensa Invitational!
What Pleased Ponch: Ace Copy Editor Panfilo “Ponch” Garcia, filling in for the vacationing ACE Doug Norwood, singled out these as his faves:
“Your mama’s so fatuous …” (Chris Doyle) [This one was also the favorite of the Czar; it’s one of the few inking entries that were just jokes, not really expected to be on the Web, or ironic that they weren’t.]
“Not enough people post their Wordle results.” (Andy Schotz)
“How many calories in a squirrel?” (Jesse Frankovich)
“Underwear-sharing near me.” (Kevin Dopart)
Googleyup: “I found my soulmate on Tinder.” Googleyup: “I found my soulmate on Bumble.” Googlenope: “I found my soulmate with Date Lab.” (Jesse Frankovich, mocking The Post’s little weekly reality show with the terrible batting average)
Googlenope: “The Empress is a fair judge.” (Dave Prevar) Plffffftbbbbt.
What they really mean: Thumbnail definitions for the words of Week 1480
As I mentioned above, Jesse Frankovich used OneLook.com to search for listings of the words through a number of online dictionaries (and just plain Google for others); I’ve added in the OED definitions for the ones he couldn’t find, or to elaborate on his. (Note: “Cowin,” one of the words I’d originally included this morning from the list Mike Gips sent me, turned out not to be in the OED, so I replaced it with the even kookier “cowhuby”; also, the original spelling “tripudant” is now “tripudiant.”)
Once again, these are not complete definitions.
agonistarch: One who trained persons to compete in public games and contests.
agruw: To shudder in horror. (Not a typo!)
aiel: A writ by which an heir entered into his grandfather’s estate and dispossessed the third person who had attempted to gain possession/
anglewitch: Fishing bait, particularly worms.
batie-bummil: A lazy or inactive fellow, a simpleton, a fool.
battologist: One who keeps repeating oneself needlessly
bawrel: A kind of hawk.
cag-mag: Inferior meat.
cervylle: To remove or knock out the brains.
chekkelbone: The wrist. (As in “shackle bone.”)
cotty: Entangled, matted.
cowhuby: Calf, as a term of endearment or ridicule.
dartre: Any skin disease characterized by scabby or flaky skin, such as herpes or eczema.
dashee: A tip or present; also to dash
doob: A type of grass
eftersoons: Soon after, presently, again.
enaluron: A border on a heraldic shield, featuring a bird design
fankle: To tangle or entangle. You know, to get all cotty.
fistmeal: The breadth of a fist; used in archery (usually as “fistmele”) to describe the measure of a fist plus an outstretched thumb, the correct distance between a bow and its string
fladge: A broad piece of anything, including a wide-bottomed person; more recently slang for flagellation
fritinancy: The chirping of insects.
galligaskins: loose wide hose or breeches worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.
galp: to gape; yawn.
hardhaw: Black knapweed.
impanate: Contained or embodied in bread/
Iracund: Easily provoked to anger
ithand: Industrious; assiduous; continually busy; diligent.
jusson: Pertaining to commands.
knowperts: The crowberry.
krobylos: A tuft or knob of hair on one’s head or neck
Lerwa: A genus constituted by the snow partridge
limbeck: An alembic (chemical apparatus)
lurdan: A lazy, stupid person; a sluggard.
lushburg: A spurious coin of light weight imported into England from Luxembourg.
mesonoxian: Relating to midnight.
nobodaddy: William Blake’s derisive name for the anthropomorphic God of Christianity.
rantipole: A wild, reckless, sometimes quarrelsome person.
sprauchle: To move clumsily.
stoach: To trample.
sweven: Dream, vision.
tripudiant: Exultant, triumphant
truandal: A plural noun referring to beggars or camp-followers.
trypall: A slovenly tall, lanky person
wayzgoose: An annual entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen.
The obvious, one way to approach this contest is to