Style Invitational Week 1002: Ring out the OED by repurposing an obscure word


(For the winning entry in Week 998 (see below); illustration by Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
December 20, 2012

In the wake of some news recently that a number of words had been deleted by a former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, we figured that it was time for another go at messing with the OED ourselves. It’s Installment 3 of a contest we started in 2007: Here’s a list of words that OED-subscribing Losers Ann Martin and Mike Gips found in two slivers of the vast tome of current and archaic terms. If you know what any of them mean — for example, that a kebbie is a stick with a hooked head – that’s all well and good, but it’s of no use this week, because we want you to make up a false definition for any of the words listed here. As usual with Invite word contests, you may use the word in a funny sentence but not in an unfunny sentence.

The words: hiddy-giddy; higgle; hilus; himple; hinderyeap; hirrie-harrie; hispidulous; hornito; hounce; housty; huddon; huff-duff; huffkin; humdudgeon; humstrum; idiopt; ikat; impone; inti; izzard; jaffle; jank; jargogle; jaunder; jeg; jeistiecor; jemmy; jeofail; jerkinet; jerque; jobble; jub; juffle; jugum; karabe; karzy; kasturi; kausia; kebbie; keek; kelch; kerygma; kest; khor; kikar; kimkam; kiver; knosp; kombers; kreep; kuki; kumiss; kurvey. To see them in list form, click here or see the print version of the Invitational in The Post’s Sunday Style section.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a tin of peppermint-flavored “Potenz Pillen,” or potency pills, whose gag-giftiness is indicated by a cartoon of a hairy, um, men’s potency center, and a rhyme roughly translated from the German as “If you swallow these pills down/ You’ll be the finest lover aroun’.” Donated by Loser Roy Ashley, who doesn’t need no stinkin’ pillen.

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 31; results published Jan. 20 (online Jan. 17). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1002” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “Next week” line is by Kathy El-Assal. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.


Report from Week 998

in which we asked for bogus “still on the books” laws: Perhaps before long they’ll be appended to the almost just as bogus lists of such laws circulating everywhere online.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

In Bethlehem, Pa., an innkeeper MUST provide a room for a hugely pregnant woman (because you just never know. . .). (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

2. Winner of the dismembered-teddy-bear Christmas basket: At Baltimore baseball games, it’s illegal to sing more than one word of the national anthem. (Ed Molnar, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

3. In Arizona, there is a 14-day waiting period for purchasing a gun lock. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

4. In New York City, it is unlawful to initiate negotiations with a tabloid before Lindsay Lohan actually finishes assaulting you. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

Half-writs: honorable mentions

In California it is not illegal to feed animals in the park, but you are required to report the caloric content of everything you give them. (Josh Feldblyum, Philadelphia)

In Italy, sex with underage prostitutes is mandatory for all men who wish to become politicians. Female politicians just need to look hot. (Andy Bassett, New Plymouth, New Zealand)

It is illegal to spit on a functioning Metro elevator in the District of Columbia. No violations have yet been reported. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

In Colorado, it is unlawful to look wimpy. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

In the Florida Everglades, it is illegal to catch and gut an alligator out of season, unless you are attempting to retrieve your severed arm. (Beverley Sharp)

In Arizona, it’s illegal to pronounce “Jesus” with an h-sound. (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)

In Texas, it is unlawful to refer to Barack Obama without making air quotes around “president.” (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

New Jersey statute: All doors in the governor’s offices and residences shall be at least as wide as they are high, with a five-foot minimum for both. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

In Hawaii, it is illegal to drive your car to another state. (Gregory Koch, Storrs, Conn.)

In Roswell, N.M., it is illegal to hold three-headed races. (Roger Hammons, Ashburn, Va.)

It is illegal in Ireland to possess a long temper. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

On cars purchased in Massachusetts, directional signals are optional equipment. Nevah use ’em. Why pay for ’em? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

In Alabama, all state laws must fit onto two equal-size stone tablets. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Wisconsin now permits public employee unions to bargain only over how many “Dilbert” cartoons may be displayed on cubicle walls. (David Genser)

In Topeka, Kan., mammogram results may be shown only between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Kevin Dopart)

High school biology textbooks in Kansas must explain that parts of “Jurassic Park” were meant to be merely allegorical. (David Genser)

In Saudi Arabia, it is currently illegal for women to have an opinion. As punishment, the opinion of the offending woman is taken away from her and given to the next in a line of male applicants. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

The town of Blue Mounds, Wis., prohibits women from going topless in winter. (Jerry Birchmore, Springfield, Va.)

In Virginia, the “No Person Left Inside” law requires that the census include a transvaginal ultrasound of every female of childbearing age. (Roger Hammons)

To counter charges that it is weak on ethics, The D.C. Council has enacted a “three strikes” law: Any council member convicted of three felonies will be barred from receiving free tickets to Nationals games. (Gerry Ives, Washington, a First Offender)

In New York it is illegal to do the “Shave and a Haircut” knock on the front door of a home unless you are a member of a recognized crime family. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

The Eureka, Ill., law that states a man with a mustache may not kiss a woman in public areas has been misstated due to a typographical error. (Bird Waring)

Still running — deadline Monday night — is our acronym contest. See bit.ly/invite1001.

Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, in which the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at losers@washpost.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.

Next week’s results: A Drectrospective, or Redux ad Absurdum, our Week 999 contest, in which you could enter any of the previous year’s worth of contests.

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