fauxcabulary (fō kăb′-ū lâr-rē) noun. Made up words and terms, intended to be amusing.
Denihilism: Belief that facts and reality can be nullified if one simply ignores them. It’s a sort-of reverse telekinesis where one can effect things by not thinking about them. (Also see wishteria)
Newrosis: Obsession with getting the newest new thing. Extreme cases can be spotted standing in long lines outside unopened theaters and stores in the wee hours of the night.
Shamnesia: Condition where one cannot remember personal details or incidents on the advice of their attorney.
Wishteria: Fanatical belief in the obviously ridiculous one wishes were true. Often causing an uncontrollable desire to appear on TV shouting meaningless phrases. (Also see denihilism)
xenotopia (zē nō tō′ pē-ə) noun Something you find unbearable but, strangely, other people savor or desire.
The old “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” business. You know, like opera or communism. Or worse, a communist opera. Something along the lines of Che! the Musical. A tune-filled romp based on the wishtory of the world’s favorite revolutionary poster boy. What’s wishtory you ask? Glad you did:
wishtory (wĭsh′ tə-rē) noun History as we wish it had happened. Fake news from the past.
Why doesn’t a coaster, you know, coast? Why doesn’t a saucer hold sauce? What’s the difference between a hall and a hallway? A question which leads us to ponder…
Why did our ancestors come up with completely unique, one-off words for some types of rooms but not others? For instance there’s kitchen, closet, pantry, parlor, hall, library, den, study, and foyer. On the other hand their imaginations seem to have gone on vacation and they just tacked ‘room’ on the end of some function to name these: living room, dining room, laundry room, mudroom, bedroom, bathroom. To rectify the situation we offer the following coinages:
functionary (fŭnk′-shən ê-rē) noun. A person who has to perform official functions or duties.
perfunctory (pər fŭnk′ tə-rē) adj. Done or acting routinely and with little thought or care.
Seems to us there is a natural convergence of the two to add to our fauxcabulary. To wit…
perfunctionary (pər fŭnk′-shən ê-rē) noun. A person who performs official functions or duties routinely and with little thought or care. (Also see, bureaucrat, civil servant.)
Trompe l’oeil is French for “deceives the eye” which refers to ultra realistic still life paintings with things like a fly on them a viewer is tempted to try shooing as it looks so real. Now for the fauxcabulary part:
goofstep (gōōf′ stĕp) verb. To stumble at the top of a staircase from treading on an anticipated top step that isn’t there.
ghost step (gōst stĕp) noun. The expected but nonexistent top step of a flight of stairs that causes you to goofstep.
trompe l’oof (trömp lōōf) noun. The momentary sensation of falling one has when goofstepping on a ghost step.
futilize (fū′ tĭl īz) verb. To inadvertently do, or start to do, something with the wrong implement or item; i.e., picking up the wrong tool and starting using it before noticing it’s the wrong tool. [As per Clyde Crashcup, that’s futi as in futile plus lize as in utilize: futilize]
In the movies this would be someone trying to light something they stuck in their mouth thinking it were a cigar, but it wasn’t. (Hilarity ensues.) For Curly Howard that would be making pancakes out of plaster instead of flour then pouring glue instead of syrup over them. Though why anyone would keep plaster and glue with the foodstuffs is something of a mystery. But then, thinking and watching the Stooges don’t really go together.
A few fauxcabulary (made up) words from the world of computers:
iconundrum: A strange or confusing symbol or icon nobody but the designer of the thing knows the meaning of.
incorrection: A typo created by auto spellcheck that doesn’t understand you were using slang, jargon or coining a gag word.
qwert dirt: The filth that builds up between the keys on your computer keyboard.
tyupio: A typo resulting from your fat fingers hitting more than one key at a time.
Iconundrums often use that blocky, stick figure generic human doing something, with something, in something, or whatever. You know the dude I mean, the one identifying the men’s room. In graphic design circles its called Helvetica Man.
Click pic to play animation
gawkward (gawk′ wərd) adj. Causing when-the-stranger-you’re-looking-at-looks-back-at-you-then-you-look-away-briefly-and-look-again-and-they-notice-that-too embarrassment.
When a gawkward moment crops up invariably, one guesses, the looker imagines what the lookee supposes the looker is thinking about the lookee. Depending on the looker and lookee this could be real or imagined ogling, morbid curiosity, wonder, or, as the case seems often enough, just plain absence of mind. Whatever the case one hardly knows whether to smile meekly, nod slightly, or pretend you were actually peering at some endlessly fascinating whatever just over the lookee’s shoulder. All in all it’s a bit of an ‘oops-err-heh-heh moment’ society has neglected to provide a clear rule of etiquette for.
emblemish (əm blĕm′-ĭsh) verb. To embellish with symbols, logos, slogans or decorations making something plain, or even nice, look cheesy instead.
Half the T-shirts, baseball caps, and sweats in America have been emblemished in some way. Some folks just can’t get tacky enough and so enhance their emblemishments so they sparkle or even light up. The hardcore aren’t satisfied with merely emblemishing their clothes, hence tattoos and piercing.
One imagines these are supposed to be fashion statements. While they’re rarely very fashionable, they are statements. They mostly say, “Look at me. I have no taste or sense.”
dimprovement (dĭm prōōv′-mənt) noun. An improvement that makes something worse.
und’oh (ŭn d-ō′) noun, The impulse to hit command undo whenever you make a mistake, then realizing you’re not working on your computer and that won’t work.
addage (ăd′-əj) noun. The ten pounds of fat you put on at the start of winter. [Not to be confused with adage, an old saying.]
Bears and squirrels fatten up for winter, why not people? Call it winterizing yourself with an on-board emergency larder of lard for the cold and food scarce days to come.
duhjustment (də jŭst′ mənt) noun. The act of altering, repairing, or replacing the wrong part of a system which wasn’t the problem in an attempted repair.
Like replacing a perfectly good car battery when the alternator was the problem. Or repacking the bearings when it was the brakes that were squeaking. Or replacing the light bulb and then finding the reason there was no light was the lamp wasn’t plugged in. Or cutting down the already too short leg of a wobbly table. As the old gag goes, “No matter how many times I cut it down, it’s still too short.”
blurd (blərd) noun. A word which means one thing to the English and another to Americans.
To a Brit pissed means drunk and to a Yank it means mad. Then again, mad to an American means angry and to the English means insane. The Brit’s biscuit is the Yank’s cookie. In the U.S. maize is corn, in the UK wheat is corn. There arre others, but you get the point.
As somebody-or-other said, “England and America are two nations divided by a common language.” No more true than this story where an Englishwoman craving a cigarette shocked her American host by saying, “I could murder a fag.” If you find that amusing, you might try this quiz.
People generally speak differently depending on context. At work you use industry jargon. At the bar you curse like a sailor. At church not so much. The point is, our speech is flexible, we adjust for who, when and where.
flexicon: words one uses tailored to the audience or social setting.
Within our flexicon there are any number of subsets. To wit…
gobble-degeek: tech terms you sort-of know used to impress people who don’t know.
Texicon: words used to sound like a Texan, y’all.
ar-r-rgot: words used to sound like a pirate, ye matie.
phatois: words used to sound like a gansta, dog.
badda-balingo: words used to sound like a wise guy, capice?
libberish: politically correct terms used in politically correct society.
bluephemism: substitute term for a sexual act or naughty bit. Sometimes more polite versions, sometimes more raunchy. “Naughty bit” is an example of the former, an example of the latter I leave to your imagination.
brocabulary: words used among male friends. Often as not a lot of bluephemisms and no libberish.
hocabulary: female version of brocabulary.
zzyzzyzee (zĭz′-ə zē) noun. One of a series of letter zees indicating snoring in a cartoon.
Admittedly, you won’t find this word in a standard dictionary, or a non-standard one either. I made it up out of thin air as it were. For no good reason other than to coin the last word listed in an English language dictionary. Why not? Somebody has to do it. Not that I expect it will ever make it into standard usage. But a guy can dream. And dreaming and zzyzzyzees just rather go together.