The Style Invitational, Week 826: Words Inside Words, a Neologism Contest

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ou"thou"se: That little shed behind the Quaker meeting hall. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

S"laughter": Stop! You're killing me!

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Di"agnostic"ian: This doctor is just not sure what you've got. (Steve Fahey, Kensington)

Here's a contest we've done more than once, but not in eight years: This week: Take any word -- this may include the name of a person or place -- put a portion of it in quotation marks and redefine the word, as in the examples above from 2001, all by renowned Style Invitational Losers. Important note: Notice how hard it would be to understand those three jokes if the quotation marks weren't there. That's what makes this contest different from another one we do regularly, the one to supply a new definition for any existing word. This time, the pun shouldn't just jump out at you.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a Superfly Monkey, a stuffed animal whose arms, when you fit the tips of your fingers in its little hands, form the rubber band of a slingshot. Pull back and it sails through your yard, office, classroom, church aisle, etc., emitting a highly annoying scream. Discourtesy of newbie Loser Lois Douthitt. You can see a commercial for the thing at

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. First Offenders get a smelly tree-shaped air "freshener" (Fir Stink for their First Ink). One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, July 27. Put "Week 826" in the subject line of your e-mail or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Aug. 15. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Beverley Sharp; next week's revised title is by Kevin Dopart.

Report From Week 822

In which we asked for exhibits and events that might be part of a Festival of Real American Folklife, in tribute to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, held earlier this month:

The Winner of the Inker

Today's Still Life, Tomorrow's Abstract: Tattoos and how they change over time. 1:30 p.m.: From Cute Little Cleavage Butterfly to Giant Drooping Winged Something. (Wayne Rodgers, Satellite Beach, Fla.)

2. the winner of the Mustard Marvin gross-out squeeze bottle topper:

Old-Time Postal Methods: Dressed in 20th-century garb, reenactors affix stamps to envelopes with saliva. (Tom Lacombe, Browntown, Va.)

3. Ski Mask Knitting, with Moms of Liquor Store Robbers. (Vic Krysko, Suratthani, Thailand)

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