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Let’s play word games. February 27, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: , , , ,

Our friend Ben is sick of watching the snow come down and being trapped in the house. So I’d like to suggest that you join me in a fun word game. This game was originally started by The Washington Post, which publishes the top contenders every year in its Neologism Contest. It involves making up a new definition for an existing word. (They also have a contest, the Style Invitational, that involves adding, subtracting, or changing one letter of an existing word and then providing a new definition, but let’s save that one for another day.)

Examples of 2009’s top entries in the Neologism Contest include: flabbergasted, appalled over how much weight you have gained; gargoyle, olive-oil-flavored mouthwash; willy-nilly, impotent (my favorite); and pokemon, a Rastafarian proctologist (close second).

So this morning, our friend Ben was thinking about how appallingly deficient my knowledge of geometry is. I could remember the name “isosceles triangle,” but couldn’t recall to save my life what the triangle looked like. And what was the hypotenuse?! (For those who simply must know, it’s the longest side of a right triangle.)

Hypotenuse, however, struck our friend Ben as a wonderfully humorous word that was begging for a new definition. So here it is: “A species of hippopotamus whose diet consists chiefly of cannabis.”

Your turn! Please share your new definitions of old words here. We’re eager to enjoy them! And who knows, perhaps you can submit them to The Washington Post and gain world renown, or something…



1. The Empress of The Style Invitational - February 27, 2010

From the Empress of The Style Invitational, The Washington Post:

Hi — I’m glad to see that you like making up neologisms, and I’d like to clarify the above a little bit, and tell you where to find some more of the same:

The neologism contests you probably saw is just one of many, many such contests that run every week in The Style Invitational, The Post’s weekly humor/wordplay contest.

You can see the real thing — and enter the contest — at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational. The Style Invitational features edgily clever humor contributed by thousands of readers. It’s published every Saturday in The Post’s Style (features) section, and every Friday afternoon at about 3:30 Eastern time. There are neologism contests regularly, but also lots of other sources of humor as well.

Here are the top winners of the most recent neologism contest, which was to make up a word that has three consecutive letters in alphabetical order (results printed Feb. 20):

Coughin: A small enclosure designed especially for smokers. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

Mno: The kind of response that makes you want to ask her again. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh)

Noplow: Washington, D.C.’s, snow emergency plan. (Jack Clark, Westfield, N.J.)

. Geode-face: Someone whose beauty is “sparkling inside.” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville)

In other forms of humor, the most recent results (Feb. 27, 2010) are to add novel similes to the “men are like ….,” “women are like…” genre.

The top winners:

Women are like flashlights: Ones with two D’s aren’t always the brightest, but they’ll do when the lights go out. (Russ Taylor, Vienna)

Men are like Swiss army knives: No matter how useful they appear, they mostly just pick teeth and open beer bottles. (Russell Beland, Fairfax)

Teenagers are like a freshly bottled wine: They might be palatable seven years from now. (David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

Men are like the TV yule log: They’re easy to turn on, but you’re not going to get much warmth out of them. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

See the rest of the winners and learn how to enter the new contest — one for making up definitions for very obscure words (click on Week 858) at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational. Or you can become a fan of “Washington Post Style” on Facebook (go to facebook.com/wapostyle ) and you’ll get a link to the Invitational when it’s posted. I hope you become a regular reader and maybe even a regular entrant.

The Empress of The Style Invitational
The Washington Post

Thanks, Empress! This is all great info for anyone who loves word games!

2. Lzyjo - February 27, 2010

LOL! About Hypotenuses! I like making up Neologism. Here’s mine for today. Dionysus, a nice way to die by excessive wine drinking, partying, and general consumpation of intoxicating substances.

My brain won’t get any smaller if I keep making these up, right?

Ha!!! Hi, Lzyjo! I was just starting to get worried about you after seeing no new posts since “Quiltfingah!” Dionysus certainly sounds like the way to go!

3. sjones71 - February 28, 2010

I’ll play! I won’t play well, but I’ll play.

Two pork-themed ideas:

Ointment: A breath mint that tastes like bacon.
Hyperlink: A sausage that just won’t sit still.

Ha!!! Good ones, SJ!!! Now I’ll drive myself crazy trying to think of more porcine definitions (pigment?!!)…

4. Lzyjo - March 1, 2010

HAHA! Pigment!

No need to worry about me. (I should really get around to posting something. No?) I have been following along, but haven’t had a lot of spare time to comment. Luckily custom orders have been doing good. I’m still here although my presence is more discreet.

Thank God, Lzyjo! It’s great to see the happy dog face again! Wish I could figure out how to get Shiloh’s very happy face uploaded on Blotanical. I think everyone would be delighted to see her!

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