Posts Tagged Language

Words, words, words

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.  Here are some of the winners:

Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize 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.

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.

Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease.

Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer……like

Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

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.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.  Among the winners are:

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.

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.

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.

Hat tip:  Steve Glassman

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Apostrophe Catastrophe

Someone once said that if the English language is going to die, at least it will die laughing. But this kind of story makes me want to cry.

Please read it, since you may not believe me without seeing it yourself.  In fact, I still can’t really believe it.

England has decided to remove aspostraphes from its street signs.  King’s Heath will now become Kings Heath.  What’s the reason?  Apostraphes are too confusing.

According to Councilor Martin Mullaney, who heads the city’s transport scrutiny committee, “Apostrophes denote possessions that are no longer accurate, and are not needed,” he said. “More importantly, they confuse people. If I want to go to a restaurant, I don’t want to have an A-level (high school diploma) in English to find it.”

Maybe this is why Tom Daschle didn’t pay his taxes — he found them too complicated.  And perhaps that’s why Rod Blagojevich crashed and burned — he found bribery and corruption laws too confusing.  And no doubt this is why the auto industry continued manufacturing substandard gas-guzzlers, why the banking industry collapsed, and why congress is throwing a trillion dollars good dollars after a trillion bad — because responsible business practices and real solutions to difficult problems are just too hard to understand.

But don’t imagine that it can’t get any worse.  It will.  The closing of the American mind was probably never limited to North America, but it’s spreading like cancer.

It’s more important now to remember Aristophanes:  Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.

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