We give you our words: The Invitational’s neologisms


The neologism "Pectacles: gladiator movies,"  a runner-up entry by Brad Alexander for Week 907, a contest to move a word’s first letter to the end. ( Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
February 28, 2013

Among the myriad humor genres the Invitational has indulged in, it is probably best known for neologism contests, in which you make up a new term, usually by altering one or more existing words, and give it a zingy definition.

Tom Witte, 55, a civilian employee of the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ Topographic Engineering Center is the Nabob of Neologism. Since he debuted in Week 7, the aptly named Witte has amassed 1,200 blots of Invite ink.

A few neologisms from the past decade that ought to be in your vocabulary:

Change a word by one letter:

Guiltar: A musical instrument whose strings are pulled by your mother. (Frank Mullen III, Aledo, Ill., 2003)

Epigramp: A maxim that brands the speaker as an old codger. “If God had wanted women to wear pants . . .(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md., 2007)

Eruditz: A philosophy professor who can’t figure out how to work the copying machine. (John Kupiec, Fairfax, Va., 2007)

Skilljoy: The would-be friend who’s a bit better than you at everything. (Steve Fahey, Kensington, Md., 2008)

Sparadigm: A model panhandler. (Kevin Dopart, Washington, 2009)

Defrigerator: Start saving energy now with this special offer from Pepco! (Lennie Magida, Potomac, Md., 2010, in the aftermath of summer storms)

Spell a word backward:

Skrod: Fish that are always swimming upstream. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, 2004)

Nword: Something that gets you in really deep trouble. (Russell Beland, Springfield, 2004)

Onisac: A dark, often smoke-filled chamber in which elderly Homo sapiens deposit their nest eggs before dying. (Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn., 2004)

Words ending in -ion:

Errudition: Comical misuse of big words. “Madam, your dress looks positively superfluous on you tonight,” he said with amazing errudition. (Tom Witte, 2006)

Percycution: Giving your child a name he will hate for the rest of his life. (Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa., 2006)

The word must contain the letter block THES (in any order):

Transvestheight: The difference between the jockstrap and the bra. (Frank Mullen III, 2004)

With ASTR: Oughtacrats: People who have half a mind to solve all the world’s problems with their brilliant ideas, one of these days . . . (Tom Witte, 2007)

With THRE: Jethrogenous Zone: Appalachia. (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich., 2009)

With POLE: Gestapolemics: Calling your political opponents Nazis. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex., 2010)

With NOEL: Groucholenses: How to look at the world through nose-covered glasses. (Eric Fritz, Silver Spring, Md., 2011)

Words containing a block of three consecutive letters of the alphabet:

Coughin: A small enclosure designed especially for smokers. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex., 2010)

Three consecutive letters backward:

Flingpong: Having your own affair to get even with a cheating spouse. (Tom Witte, 2010)

Portmanteau (overlapping) words:

Treadmillstone: The unused home gym that keeps staring at you. (Rick Haynes, Potomac, Md., 2008)

Crapplause: A polite but unenthusiastic expression of approval. (Dion E. Black, Washington, 2009)

Palindrome terms:

AHA HAHA: When you finally get the joke. (Tom Flaherty, Culpeper, Va., 2010)

Move a word’s first letter to the end:

Carecrows: Women who are so devoted to their men that they frighten them away. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md., 2011)

Move the last letter to the beginning:

Snipple: Babies agree: the Best Stuff on Earth. (Kyle Bonney, Fairfax, Va., 2011)

13-letter words:

Typochondriac: A paranoid proofreader. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va., 2011)

Combine the beginning and end of two words from the day’s paper:

Prob-solutely: A definite maybe. (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick, Md., 2006)

Ignorial: A monument that nobody visits. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y., 2012)

Hyattsvilification: The reflexive dismissal of anything located in Prince George’s County. (David Smith, formerly of Greenbelt, Md., 2012)

Words containing W, I, T, T and E (in celebration of Tom Witte’s 1,000th ink):

Wattleship: A seniors cruise. (Tom Witte, 2009)

Be sure to check out the many other segments of this 20th-anniversary Style Invitational retrospective: classic limericks; song parodies; neologisms (new words); horse “breeding” and “joint legislation”; and dozens of other winning entries from the past decade. Plus how to enter this week’s new contest, and a look at the Losers and their remarkable subculture. And more! See the index of articles here.

Next: Hive fives — the best limericks around.

SECTION: {section=entertainment, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=entertainment, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments