Since 2010 Word Play Masters has run a contest circulated on the Web in which readers are asked to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and then supplying a new definition.
As a writer, I have always been fascinated by words, how they are formed, and their definitions. I know, I know, an interest like that borders on abject nerdiness. But I can’t help it. For more than 30 years I have made my living by stringing words together, and these articulations grabbed my attention and refused to let go.
Take a look for yourself. And if you can think of any words to contribute, the wordsmiths at WordPlay Masters have issued the following memorandum:
“Please feel free to send us your words and definitions on the Submit Words page. We’ll post anything that’s clean (meaning your very bright seven-year-old can read it without you wincing). Once a year we’ll have a contest to determine the winners (with no scientific validity whatsoever). If you want to enter the contest, there’s nothing to do but send in a word for consideration. A panel of “experts,” made up of some clever previous winners, determines the final winners each year.”
The Brainiacs at WordPlay Masters point out that for years an email has been circulating about something called the “Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational” which includes a very clever list of “new” words. However, they have issued the following disclaimer:
“THIS SITE IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE WASHINGTON POST!”
Here are a few winners from the past few years.
- Cashtration (n.): The act of buying (or building) a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
- Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
- Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize that it was your money to start with.
- Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
- Bozone (n.): 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.
- Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
- 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 degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
- Karmageddon: It’s when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it’s a serious bummer.
- Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you
- Glibido: All talk and no action.
- Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
- Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
- Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.
Here is another list of winning submissions in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.
And the winners are:
- Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.
- Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
- Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
- Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
- Willy-Nilly, adj. Impotent.
- Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
- Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.
- Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
- Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
- Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.
- Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.
- Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
- Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.
- Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
- Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
- Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
Let me know what you think and feel free to add your very own new word!