I learnt a clutch of new words yesterday in an article in The Age about a collection of words that are verging on extinction due to lack of use. The people in charge of Collins Dictionary have placed them on a list of words that could be cut from the next edition unless they can find evidence of them being bandied about (outside articles about their endangerment).
My favourite is fubsy, which means short and stout ("I'm a little teapot fubsy....."?), and I like niddering (cowardly) and exuviate (to shed) and abstergent (cleansing or scouring).
And made up words!
Regular reader Victoria thoughtfully sent me a link to the latest contributions to the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational, which ask readers to take a real word, and alter it slightly to create a new word.
Here is my selection of the winners -
1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
3. 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.
4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
5. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
6. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
7. Glibido: All talk and no action.
8. Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
9. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
10. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
(Hmmm...wondering if I should start a blog devoted to words...)
EDIT: Reader Julian, with his "Urban Legends Debunker" hat on, informs me that there is no such thing as the Mensa Invitational. The above list of words is from a weekly competition in Washington Post about 10 years ago called Style Invitational. No matter - it's new to me and they are still great words.
I am going a little silly at http://www.listography.com/frisky. It's kinda pointless, but I like it. I like looking at other people's lists too.
Silly bike update
First pennyfarthings and unicycles, now tall bikes. Walking home beside the river tonight a man zipped past me on a bike that must have been more than two metres tall. Two metres! The wheels were standard size, but the seat was atop a tall frame way above. People are odd, aren't they? And luckily the bridges along the river aren't low (although I'm sure I would laugh my head off if he smacked into one a la Wile E Coyote).