I love when people ask me to coin a word for them because I love to make up words. The satisfaction of fashioning something that aptly fills a gaping hole in the language is akin, I imagine, to what a sculptor feels creating harmonious form out of earth or stone. And, unlike nearly all nonverbal artistic creations, a well-made word can elicit a chuckle or even, if it's especially clever, a guffaw.
Here are some of my neologisms (nee-AHL-uh-jiz-umz) — words I've minted over the years. I hope you enjoy them, and I invite you to share with me your own creations.
someone who is always trying to make up clever words; also, someone who continually makes up silly nicknames for people [from the Greek onoma, word, name, the source of the combining form -(o)nym, as in synonym].
given to pronouncing words as they are spelled, by guesswork, without bothering to check the pronunciation in a dictionary. For example, saying "chick" for chic or pronouncing extraordinary in six syllables instead of five. An orthoepist (pronunciation expert) might say that a person afflicted with this malady is in diacritical condition.
an eyeliterate person. The word may also denote an obtuse, pedantic writer or critic.
your grownup child or grownup children. (I won top honors in Barbara Wallraff's "Word Fugitives" column in The Atlantic Monthly for coining this one.)
a grownup child who remains at home, refusing to leave the nest. The word may also be a collective noun denoting grownup children who live with their parents.
as far away from one’s parents as possible [a play on matrilocal and patrilocal]: Most college graduates want to live superextraparentalocally, but many can't afford to.
hatred of, or aversion to, those members of society who are parents, especially parents of young children; hence, hatred of families. breederphobe, noun; breederphobic, adjective.
a compulsion to look at something repugnant [from the Greek kakos, bad, Latin spectare, to look at, and -mania, compulsion].
wearing a happy face to mask the gloom within.
the sound of a car running over a pothole.
the sound of someone trying to start a recacitrant engine.
slimelight (rhymes with limelight)
a sluggish, stuporous condition brought on by listening to talk radio, in which one is unable to think clearly, make reasonable judgments, or safely drive a car.
the vague, speechless awe one experiences upon gazing up into the cosmos and contemplating the pathetic minuteness of one's being [from cosmos and the rare word nonplussation, the state of being nonplussed].
quonk (rhymes with honk)
as a spectator of an event: to make a noise that interrupts a participant’s concentration [back formation from quonking, noise from the sidelines that interrupts an athlete's or performer's concentration]: They quonked opposing batters mercilessly with catcalls and Bronx cheers.
fear of political correctness [from Greek ortho-, right, correct, political, and phobia].
someone with whom you have a short-term or an on-and-off love affair; a person you get involved with “on the rebound” or with whom you have casual, uncommitted, or indifferent sexual relations.
a person you “milk” for the transitory relief of intimate companionship, but with whom you are not interested in having a serious relationship.
a mother’s incestuous desire for her son. (There are words for incestuous interest in a mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, niece, and nephew, but not for a son.)
an assembly of hooligans, ne’er-do-wells, and other unsavory characters [infix blend of congregation and hooligan].
mass anxiety or hysteria [blend of Greek pan, all, panic, and anxiety].
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