fauxcabulary (fō kăb′-ū lâr-rē) noun. Words and terms coined to be amusing or satirical and not found in a diction­ary.

The method, ram two words together creating a port­manteau word for a combined meaning plus a bit more. Let’s not belabor the point and get on with it.

Add to Your Fauxcabulary


More fauxcabulary words designed to amuse and instruct which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Which, in this case, is to the point.

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 Springtime for Stalin. Or maybe Che! the Musical. A tune-filled romp based on the wishtory of the Left’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.

Everyday Fauxcabulary


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 the ‘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:

When Less Really Can Be More


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.

In so many words, a government bureaucrat. Though we might be too generous here. Some do very little work at all, perfunctorily or otherwise. Which in some cases is a good thing. The more a perfunctionary’s work interferes with people actually trying to get something useful done, well, the less they do they better.

Esprit de L’escalier Fauxcabulaire


Esprit de l’escalier is French for “wit of the staircase.” This refers to coming up with a snappy comeback way, way, way too late. As the phrase has it, as you climb the stairs on your way to bed. 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.

In animated cartoons a character can continue walking up a flight of stairs after it ends as long as they don’t look down and see there’s no stairs there. This never happens in everyday life as reality doesn’t buy into the notion of “Ignore it it’ll go away.” That’s Looney Tunes physics, the laws of nature according to Wile E. Coyote. Which doesn’t seem to deter some philosophers proposing reality is all a state of mind and nothing is really real. Which there’s no other words for except looney tunes.

Sometimes a Cigar Is Just Not a Cigar


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 my case, futilize is like trying to draw with the X-acto knife I grabbed instead of the pencil. Or flicking my cigarette ashes in the coffee cup instead of the ashtray. 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.

Futilize is basically an un-d’oh moment. (See below) Hey, we’ve all done it. Now you have a word to describe it.

Computer Fauxcabulary That Might Be Useful


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.

That Uncomfortable Return Engagement


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.

Festoonery So Bad It’s Awful


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.”

When Better Is Worser


dimprovement (dĭm prōōv′-mənt) noun. An improvement that makes something worse.

Remember New Coke? Ever see Changing Rooms or Extreme Makover: Home Edition? New ain’t always improved, is it.

When Undo Won’t Do


Here’s how to know your mindset has been taken over by the computer age. You’re doing something away from your computer, and you make a mis­take, and the first thing that comes to mind is “hit command undo.” Need­less to say there is no command undo when you spill your drink or say some­thing really stupid. Be nice if there were. Anyway, there’s a word for that. Or at least I’m coining one right here, right now.

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.

‘Tis the Season to Get Jelly


addage (ăd′-əj) noun. The ten pounds of fat you put on at the start of winter.

Yes, another word I made up. Not to be confused with adage, an old saying, which I didn’t make up. Now, some may blame holiday feasting for the added pounds, but I suggest there’s more to the story. Call it winterizing yourself with an on-board emergency larder of lard for the cold and food scarce days of winter.

Bears and squirrels fatten up for winter, why not people? We’re mam­mals just like them. Not exactly like them, people don’t have fur. On the other hand bears don’t have grocery stores. Though grocery stores have dumpsters and bears are inveterate dumpster divers. And why not. I’ve heard about half the fresh produce offered by grocery stores doesn’t sell and gets tossed into dumpsters. I imagine for a bear a dumpster is one great big pic-a-nic basket.

Tweak It to Death


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.

Which reminds me of what my dad would say, “No matter how many times I cut it down, it’s still too short.”

Should all else fail I resort to the old standby remedy employed on all misbehaving machinery. I bang on it. Of course, like the old gag goes, you have to know where to hit it.

Howdy, Mate


blurd (blərd) noun. A word which means one thing to the English and another to Americans.

The word pissed is a blurd. To a Brit it means drunk and to a Yank it means mad. Then again, mad to an American often means angry and to the English means insane. Which is how you can be mad with rage while being angry with rage is redundant.

Then there’s jumper. Stateside that’d be some suicidal sort on a building ledge. In merry old England it’s a knitted top, called a sweater in the US. The Brit’s biscuit is the Yank’s cookie. I think what Yanks call a biscuit is called a scone on the right side of the Atlantic. Or is that more like a muffin top? I dunno. Then again, U.S. corn is maize in the UK where wheat is corn. Though if the main grain of the land were rye or millet, then they would be corn. So a corn biscuit… I give up.

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.

More Fauxcabulary Words


People generally speak differently depending who they talk to. At work you use industry jargon. At the bar with your buds you curse like a sailor. At a family gathering you don’t curse like a sailor. Unless maybe you come from a family of salty-talking sailors. The point is, our speech is flexible, we adjust for who, when and where. For this I have coined some bits of fauxcabulary…

flexicon: words one uses tailored to the audience or social setting.

Within our flexicon there are any number of subsets. Following my usual formula of combining two words into a single portmanteau word, here are a few more using synonyms for lexicon like lingo, argot, and patios. Here are but a few.

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 an Italian gangster, 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.

That’s all I got. Yar, I’m out, y’all fuggitabouddit.

Add To Your Fauxcabulary


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.