Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Amost Halloween - Go Ahead and Spirinate!

In this post I talk about coining a word. Recently I'd been filling out one of those "Get to Know Me Questionnaires" that circulate in emails. One of the questions prompted me to remember something silly my friends and I made in high school. In fact, this recollection is what caused me to plunder the pile of paper that spawned the recent entry about my Isaac Asimov notes.

We kept a dictionary of words we had either invented ourselves or liked in particular from various sources, such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. We called it Xavier's Dictionary. By no means is it something to reckon with, but it proved fun at the time and has provided me with some memories as well as a few chuckles after all these years.

The first word in the (non-alphabetized) list of "new" words is actually the one I remembered while doing the questionnaire. Some of the better entries include:

Flune - n. a huge swarm

Tickatoid - n. the little spark and ping by shiny surfaces on cartoons

Squench - v. 1. to lessen the value of by damaging 2. to shrink

Unpidorous - adj. (OON-pih-door-us) word to say "If I tried to describe it, I woldn't do justice to it."

Spirinate - v. to make a sound like the creatures on Scooby-Doo cartoons

Puffae-a-Pae - n. 1. a pastry-type thing that is not a real pastry, if pastry is defined as a sweet, dessert-type thing covered with dough 2. the pooky face you use to call home on the Atari 2600 video game of E.T.

Unlike my recent attempt to discern the actual etymological ramifications of the word coined, these were conceived and defined on a whim. I'm bringing all this up in a "Oh what silly fun" kind of way, not to suggest that any of these are viable additions to the language. Although I am rather fond of the word that's handwritten in the scan.

I did discover that I still use one of the words from Xavier's Dictionary in my everyday life:

Chartoon - n. a cartoon of a person, a type of caricature.

My drawing of myself is an example of a chartoon. It's not specifically a caricature because it does not utlitize exaggerated features in that way. It's not exactly a cartoon for it depicts someone real. Another good example: The Beatles in Yellow Submarine.

Xavier's Dictionary is nowhere near an unpidorous, but it's at the very least "splendifferous."

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