These are neologisms collected by an undergraduate linguistics class at Rice University during the fall of 2003.

S [Top]

context and source: 'I used to work in Godiva, and could always pick out the sample-slugs from a mile away.' (a friend reminiscing on her experiences 12/01/03).
apparent meaning: because Godiva is a moderately expensive chocolate store, it often gives out free samples, and of course there are those people know who know about this and watch in for the samples. This word is referring to the type of person would comes into the store thinking 'I'm gonna get the sample and leave', and does that exactly. The human mind is sitting impatiently, waiting for any occasion to categorize things and people. If there is a specific group of people who do the same thing (for example, come into a store to get a sample and leave), then it is natural for us to label them. That is what's happened here.
type of word formation: a compound analogy
dictionary entry: Sample-slug, n. One who goes into a chocolate store only to get free sample chocolate, with no intentions of making a purchase ('sample-slugs are bad for the business') [a compound analogy]

context and source: 'Well, I got a 92, but you schooled me,' conversation with D., November 2003.
apparent meaning: to outshine or 'show' someone. the word sounds ghetto and therefore hip. The meaning derives from associations with school and competing to see who can perform better. Could also refer to teaching, as in outshining.
type of word formation: zero derivation 'school' (place of learning)
dictionary entry: School, v. To do noticeably or substantially better than someone. ('I thought my article on fungi growth would make the front page, but the girl who got the scoop on the martian landing sure schooled me.') [New word from zero derivation of 'school'.]

context and source: 'A minute ago, he got schooled by the player with the blue shorts.' Conversation at the gym ? 11/06/03
apparent meaning: act of having someone make a great play against you, or consistently make better plays than you. Can be used for many sports. Probably comes from being taught or educated on how to play, as the word 'school' connotes being educated.

context and source: 'His science kept equal pace with his scoundrelism?' (chemistry lecture 6 Oct 2003)
apparent meaning: the practice of being a scoundrel, or unscrupulous person. The speaker was trying to find a noun to describe the state of being a scoundrel and so added on a common noun suffix to achieve this goal.
type of word formation: derivation of 'scoundrel' 'scoundrel' (an unscrupulous person) + '-ism' (N [practice])
dictionary entry: Scoundrelism, n. practice of being a scoundrel, or unscrupulous person ('his scoundrelism knew no bounds') [derivation of 'scoundrel']

context and source: 'I just hate screamy films. I can't stand the sharp voices' (In a conversation with a friend on 11/24/2003)
apparent meaning: full of scream
type of word formation: Derivation of an adjective from the noun 'scream' by adding adjective suffix ?y. There may also be an analogy between the new word and a similar-looking word 'creamy'.
dictionary entry: Screamy, adj. full of scream.

context and source: 'Dinner yesterday was scrumlicious?' (conversation, 9/15/03)
apparent meaning: very good food. The speaker wanted to convey that the food was significantly better than usual. Therefore, she blended scrumptious and delicious to form scrumlicious, to add emphasis to her statement for the description of the food.
type of word formation: blending 'scrumptious' ADJ. + 'delicious' ADJ. -> scrumlicious
dictionary entry: scrumlicious, adj. Used to describe very good food ('dinner was scrumlicious') [blending: 'scrumptious' ADJ. + 'delicious' ADJ. -> scrumlicious ADJ.]

context and source: 'Foraging beside me [the muskrat] walked very humped up, maybe to save heat loss through evaporation. Generally, whenever he was out of water he assumed the shape of a shmoo; his shoulders were as slender as a kitten's.' ? Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
apparent meaning: A small, tight curve or arch. I have no idea how this came about. In context, it makes a modicum of sense to presume that the shape is some kind of bunching-up or a curve, but SHMOO honestly has no precedent other than sounding really funny.
type of word formation: invention
dictionary entry: SHMOO, n. A small, tight curve or arch.

context and source: 'The north college servery is now the best on campus.' Brown Senior Aug. 2003
apparent meaning: a place where food is served but not eaten. Cafeterias usually have a place to sit and eat. Also cafeterias are cliché and generally not good.
type of word formation: affixation
dictionary entry: Servery, n. place where cafeteria style food is served but not eaten

context and source: 'He has never had a long term girlfriend, but rather 1 week sexationships.' (A friend speaking of another's habits 11/15/03)
apparent meaning: A short-term relationship based solely on sexual attraction and relations. For a lack of a more specific description, this word was used to distinguish between relationships based on genuine care and feelings and those based on sex.
type of word formation: A blend, formed from 'sex' and 'relationship'.
dictionary entry: Sexationship, n. A temporary relationship that is based solely on physical attraction and sex. ('he never took her seriously, to him it was nothing but a sexationship') [A blend, formed from 'sex' and 'relationship']

context and source: 'These potatoes are simply sexcellent tonight.' ?dinner conversation with friend, week of 11/9
apparent meaning: Amazingly, almost unbelievably good. This word appears to be an intensified version of 'excellent.' Assuming that the speaker has a favorable view of sex, which is likely, adding this element to the word seems to take 'excellent' to another level. By combining the assumed ecstasy of sex with the already strong word 'excellent,' a word of very high intensity is created. As with most blends, the last sound in 'sex' and the first sound in 'excellent' are the same, making for an easy transition to the blended word.
type of word formation: blending
dictionary entry: Sexcellent, adj. Extremely pleasing; a higher degree of excellent [new derivation, fr. 'sex' + 'excellent']

context and source: 'I got sexiled by my roommate last night because she had her boyfriend over.' I began hearing this word in the beginning of my freshman year, 2002, but I am positive that the word has been around for some years before this. So, an estimated guess is that the word came out in the later 1990's.
apparent meaning: In college dorms, where one roommate locks another out of the room for the night because they are having someone spend the night.
type of word formation: A blend of sex + exile.
dictionary entry: Sexile: (V, N) In college dorms, where one roommate locks another out of the room for the night because they are having someone spend the night.

context and source: 'My friend was sexiled for the whole night.'
apparent meaning: to banish from one's own room when his or her roommate is having sex in the room.
type of word formation: A blend between 'sex' and 'exile'
dictionary entry: Sexile, v., to banish from one's own room when his or her roommate is having sex in the room.

context and source: 'I missed the bus; oh shazbot.' (An episode of The Simpsons, week of 10/27, 2003)
apparent meaning: an exclamation of frustration in place of a dirtier word. An alien on the The Simpsons used this weird word, plus I believe it was coined on the TV show Mork and Mindy. I think sense the speaker was alien in both situations, the writers came up with a exclamation and/or curse word that is appropriate for all viewers. Not only is the alien not saying a real curse word, it comes off as funny to the audience with it is said, possibly because the word sounds awkward and funny to hear and say.  
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: shazbot, exclamation. An exclamation in place of a harsher curse word, meant to be funny ('Oh shazbot! I'm late!') [new zero derivation; arising from 'shazbot', what a weird word']

context and source: 'He is a she-male' saw word in a web conversation ? 9/18/03
apparent meaning: transsexual, a male that has undergone a gender change

context and source: 'That girl is so shibby!' (from the movie, Dude, Where's My Car?, circa, 2000)
apparent meaning: when a person wants to express something cool or awesome, he or she would exclaim, 'Shibby!' I remember this word first being used in the movie Dude, Where's My Car? (2000). In the movie, whenever the main characters thought something was cool or awesome, they would say or shout, 'Shibby!!' It can also be used in place of 'awesome' or 'cool'. I am not sure the origin of the word, but it sounds like a word that was made up on the spot and sounded cool. Also, it might be related to some drug users, specifically marijuana, which describes main characters of the movie.
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: shibby, exclamation, adj. Slang- An exclamation used in response to something awesome or cool ('Dude, that was so shibby!') new zero derivation; arising from 'shibby', some new sort of slang word']

context and source: 'Don't shite up the play, man! You better make that free throw!' as heard in the Halloween Hoops Rice Men's Basketball Team game on October 31, 2003.
apparent meaning: 1) n. Something bad, unfortunate, displeasing. Ex: 'This cafeteria food is some nasty-tasting shite.' 2) v. To mess something up, ruin. Ex: 'Don't shite up the entire project with your awful handwriting! Just type it for Christ's sake.' 3) expl. Similar or equal to the meaning of 'damn,' 'damn it,' 'shit,' or 'f**k.' Ex: 'Oh shite! I forgot to turn in my Spanish paper on time! What am I going to do?' I began hearing this word in the noun and expletive forms in the mid to late 1990's, during high school and middle school. We used the word at such a young age because it was a way of using the word 'shit' without having to say a bad word in front of parents and adult figures. More recently, beginning around fall 2003, I have heard the word used as a verb.
type of word formation: The word is a blend of the word 'shit' + the compound '-e.'
dictionary entry: Shite: (N, V, expletive) 1)n. Something bad, unfortunate, displeasing. Ex: 'This cafeteria food is some nasty-tasting shite.' 2)v. To mess something up, ruin. Ex: 'Don't shite up the entire project with your awful handwriting! Just type it for Christ's sake.' 3)expl. Similar or equal to the meaning of 'damn,' 'damn it,' 'shit,' or 'f**k.' Ex: 'Oh shite! I forgot to turn in my Spanish paper on time! What am I going to do?'

context and source: 'Shnot! I forgot my keys!' (a friend walking to her car, expressing discontent 10/15/03)
apparent meaning: a mild, relatively harmless expletive used as a clever replacement for more vulgar inappropriate curse words and expressions.
type of word formation: blend of 'shit' and 'snot'
dictionary entry: Shnot, n. A mild expletive implying discontent ('Shnot! I didn't mean to offend her!') [A blend, derived from 'shit' and 'snot']

context and source: 'Come to Foley's on Friday for an all day shopathon!' (A TV advertisement for a post-thanksgiving sale 11/29-03)
apparent meaning: used in this context, shopathon implies a long, continuous day completely filled with shopping. In fact, based on the original words, it might even imply difficulty and exhaustion. However, I don't think this was a desired implication. Commercials must be exciting and catchy. Otherwise, there are so many of them, that they won't even be noticed. Making up new words is a great way of catching peoples' attention.
type of word formation: blend of 'shopping' and 'marathon'
dictionary entry: Shopathon, n. A marathon of shopping; a long continuous day or period of time filled with nothing but shopping ('I bought a lot during today's shopathon') [A blend, derived from 'shopping' and 'marathon']

context and source: 'It's a shweater!' (What Not to Wear 17 Oct 2003)
apparent meaning: sweater with attached shirt collar and cuffs. This type of garment (a sweater, usually fitted, with shirt collar and cuffs attached) has only recently come into fashion and therefore does not have a commonly accepted name yet. The television show it was discussed on advises people how to dress fashionably, so the host, upon seeing the above-mentioned garment, and perhaps not wanting to appear ignorant by not having a name for it, dubbed it a 'shweater' for its component parts.
type of word formation: blend of 'shirt' + 'sweater' 'shirt' (a garment, often with collar, cuffs, and a button front, to cover the upper half of the body) + 'sweater' (a knitted garment for the upper part of the body)
dictionary entry: Shweater, n. sweater, usu. fitted, with attached shirt collar and cuffs ('try on that shweater') [blend of 'shirt' + 'sweater']

context and source: When my computer has a virus, I describe it as sick.
apparent meaning: no longer in working order due to a virus or bug (electronics). Electronic pathogens and viruses and bugs are the technological equivalent of human disease, so I use sick to describe my computer when it is infected just like I would use the term for a person.
type of word formation: semantic change of known word
dictionary entry: sick - adj. - impaired by an electronic virus or bug. Once my computer was so sick that I had to send it back to Hewlett Packard to get the hard drive re-imaged.

context and source: 'I can have somebody look at that specific intersection to see if there are things that we can do to enhance the understanding of what the messages are being communicated by the signage.' (METRO Police Chief Thomas Lambert, quoted on, 11/20/03)
apparent meaning: signs (of a particular type or area) considered as a group. In order to regulate traffic, there must be signs on the road. Evidently, the plural form of the word 'sign' was not an adequate label for a collection of signs of a particular region or category, so someone took the morpheme '-age' (with its specific meaning of 'collection, mass, or amount') and tacked it onto 'sign' to create a new word with the desired meaning.
type of word formation: compound 'sign' (posted notice bearing a designation, direction, or command) + '-age' (N, A, collection, mass, amount, condition, state, action, result of an action)
dictionary entry: signage, n. Signs (of a particular type or area) considered as a group. ('the signage along Main Street') [new compound; formed from 'sign' + '-age']

context and source: 'Yo dude, that shirt you're wearing is skacore.' Conversation; 9/13/03.
apparent meaning: This term is a variation of hardcore, which simply means intensely cool. Skacore is basically a less intense version of this idea. The word comes from ska music, which is a kind of punk rock that involves classical instruments like the trumpet. Because of the inclusion of these other instruments, ska is less intense than punk and thus being skacore is less intense than being hardcore. This is why it was coined.
type of word formation: blend of ska and hardcore
dictionary entry: skacore [blend ska + hardcore] Adjective. Having the quality of being cool, but not in an extreme way.

context and source: 'I won't go into too much detail because I don't want to skeeze you out.' (A phone conversation with a friend 11/26/03)
apparent meaning: to freak someone out, to scare, to turn off. This strange word is becoming popular in the teenage population and often is heard in the place of 'to freak out' or 'be disgusted or scared by'. There was absolutely no ulterior motive to this word being used. It was simply what came to the mind of the speaker and seemed natural and common enough to freely use in the same conversation 3-4 times.
type of word formation: unknown
dictionary entry: Skeeze, v. The act of scaring or creating feelings of disgust through verbal communication ('stop talking about that, it's skeezing me out') [of unknown etymology]

context and source: Conversations with various friends. Since 9/03. 'I don't know about that milk in the fridge, but I wouldn't drink it. It looks a little sketch.'
apparent meaning: 'Sketch' has essentially the same meaning as 'sketchy' (incomplete, imperfect) although the meaning of sketchy has broadened somewhat to include things that are strange, off-kilter. To say that something is 'sketch' means that you are unsure of and uncomfortable with it to some degree. With preexisting words, I think there is a tendency to either simplify, like from sketchy to sketch, or make them needlessly long, like fetishization and queasishness. I don't know why, but these seem to be underlying patterns of formation.
type of word formation: This is an example of a clipping: from sketchy, the ?y is taken away and the word is shortened to a blunter, monosyllabic form: sketch.
dictionary entry: sketch, adj. Characterized by unfamiliarity, incompleteness. [sketch from Gk schedios drawing]

context and source: 'Valhalla is completely sketch.' (conversation with roommate 29 Aug 2003)
apparent meaning: questionable, unsavory. The speaker perhaps wanted a shorter, quicker, more 'modern' way to use the word 'sketchy' and so clipped the 'y' off of the original word.
type of word formation: clipping 'sketchy' (questionable, iffy)
dictionary entry: Sketch, adj. questionable, unsavory ('that neighborhood is so sketch') [clipped form of 'sketchy']

context and source: My friends and I use this term all the time, especially when we notice odd people around Rice.
apparent meaning: shady, weird. Just like a sketch is usually unclear, it is unclear as to whether you can trust a person or place that is sketch. It conveys the uncertainty and wariness that one feels when around unfamiliar things.
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: sketch - adj. - disturbingly unusual, not to be trusted. It's kind of sketch that he always wears those sunglasses, even when it's raining.

context and source: 'A bunch of sketchy townie boys showed up at the party.' Conversation; 9/29/03.
apparent meaning: The apparent meaning of 'sketchy' in this context is descriptive of people of dubious reputation. This word can also be used in other contexts to impart the same idea for things. As in, an ill-lit parking lot in a bad part of town could be described as 'sketchy.'This term was coined to better describe the reputation of a person or thing as undefined, possibly in a negative light.
type of word formation: none, new meaning for an old word
dictionary entry: sketchy [English sketch + y ADJ] Adjective. Of dubious reputation.

context and source: 'Havin skrilla is the only way to deal with this. If it ain't green it ain't me.' Scarface, Rapper 9-5-03
apparent meaning: money. Rappers often try to use new words for money. This was a novel word at the time and became popular in hip hop communities after this.
type of word formation: entirely new.
dictionary entry: Skrilla; N. money

context and source: Conversation between friends: 'Wow, you just got made fun of?do you want me to call a slambulance?' (late Sept. 2003)
apparent meaning: a vehicle to take care of someone who has just been insulted (been slammed). The idea of an ambulance taking care of someone who is physically hurt has been put onto verbal insults in this instance.
type of word formation: blend slam + ambulance
dictionary entry: Slambulance, n. A vehicle that comes to the aid of someone who has been insulted (Man, you must be insulted. Need a slambulance?) [new blend; formed from 'slam' and 'ambulance']

context and source: 'I'm feeling very sleppy now.' Dayton University freshman Nov 2003
apparent meaning: After inquiring I found that it was a blend between sleepy and slaphappy. A blend to describe the feeling of being both tired as well as hyper.
type of word formation: blend
dictionary entry: Sleppy, adj. Being in the state where one is tired to the point of being very hyper [blend: sleepy and slap-happy]

context and source: 'Don't be such a slowbie.' (conversation with suitemate, week of 11/24, 2003)
apparent meaning: a person that isn't very fast, especially when it comes to reaction time in computer and video games. Again, my suitemate was in a technological lingo mode when I was talking to him. This time I was playing a game with him, and he was commenting on my speed and reaction time in the game and how it was slowing him down. Like the word 'newbie', 'slowbie' is a product of a technological lingo type of speech, where the suffix 'bie' can be added to any number words to form 'techie' terms. I've also heard this term used to describe procrastinators.
type of word formation: zero derivation 'slow' (not very fast) + 'bie' (N)
dictionary entry: slowbie, n. A person with slow reaction time and or procrastinator, especially in computer games ('stop being a slowbie, you newbie!') [new zero derivation; arising from 'slow' + 'bie']

context and source: 'He's nicer seeming, but he's still a slumbitch inside.' Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card; 9/22/03.
apparent meaning: Literally, this means a bitch from a slum. But taking its connotation into account, it seems to be a universal way of describing a person negatively, whether they be male or female, rich or poor. This word was probably coined as a more extreme or insulting way of describing someone as a bitch.
type of word formation: compound of slum and bitch
dictionary entry: slumbitch [compound slum + bitch] Noun. A person who behaves like a bitch in an extreme fashion.

context and source: 'Yea, Sarah joined this really wild slurority at UT.' 10-24-03
apparent meaning: a sorority notorious for its members' promiscuous behavior. the speaker wanted to emphasize that the sorority was known for the promiscuity of its members.
type of word formation: blending 'slut' + 'sorority'
dictionary entry: Slurority; n. a sorority notorious for its members' promiscuous behavior.

apparent meaning: a snack with marshmallow placed between crackers
type of word formation: The word is derived by clipping the letter 's' from 'some' and then blending it with 'more'. It is probably formed by shortening the phrase 'some more' to 's'more' in daily conversation. The snack is so delicious that everybody says 's'more!' after eating it. Gradually people take 'smore' as the name of the snack.
dictionary entry: Smore, n. a snack with marshmallow placed between crackers.

context and source: 'Today's forecast calls for a 20% chance of snizzle.' Weather Channel 11/24/03
apparent meaning: light snow. Word is a combination of the words 'snow' + 'drizzle'

context and source: Conversation with friend 9/03 (don't remember exact context)
apparent meaning: To snozzle means to caress or pet, as when cuddling a cat. Sound symbolism comes into play with 'snozzle'; the sn- in 'snuggle' evokes a cozy feel while the ?zz- in 'nuzzle' evokes a soft feel. The result is a soft, cuddly gesture, very similar to 'snuggle' but more particular to household pets than to people.
type of word formation: Snozzle is a blend of the verbs 'snuggle' and 'nuzzle'.
dictionary entry: snozzle, v. To pet or caress, as with a cat. [snuggle + nuzzle]

context and source: 'Aww, listen to Buzz [my dog] snurfling.' ?my brother, 11/26
apparent meaning: A term for the distinctive sound made by my Boston Terrier. As a Boston Terrier, my dog is apt to make very distinctive sounds for which there is no common name. The term 'snurfling' seems to accurately describe one of his more common sounds. The first part of the word is similar to 'snuffle,' which is another term that could be used to describe the sound. The word fits well together phonetically, as the 'ur' sound flows nicely into the last syllable.
type of word formation: Onomatopoeia was used to create the noun 'snurfle,' while 'snurfling' was formed through analogy to other verbs formed from nouns. Snurfle (onomatopoeia) + -ing (verb suffix)
dictionary entry: Snurfling, v. The act of making distinctive sounds using the nose and internal airways, especially in the Boston Terrier breed of canine.

context and source: 'As Christians, we are children of God, but we are daily being Sonized.' November 10, 2003.
apparent meaning: Through daily experiences, Christians are made more like Jesus, the Son of God. This word was used to describe a process of becoming like, or taking on the characteristics of the Son. Using the word 'Son' with the verbal ending 'ize' was able to accomplish this meaning in one word.
type of word formation: affixation
dictionary entry: Sonize: v. to become like, and take on the characteristics of the Son.

context and source: George isn't fluent in Spanish, he practically speaks Spainglish. ? Suitemate 10-30-03
apparent meaning: a mixture between the Spanish and English languages. The spear succinctly described George's perversion of the Spanish language that resembled the English language.
type of word formation: blending. 'Spain' + 'English'.
dictionary entry: Spainglish; N. a type of hybrid language that consists of Spanish and English.

context and source: 'Dang it, my mailbox is full of spam.' (conversation with roommate, week of 11/3, 2003)
apparent meaning: unwanted email messages, usually sent my mass email, for no apparent reason. My roommate had not checked his email mailbox for several days, and when he checked it, it was full of dozens and dozens of random emails from people he didn't even know. These messages ranged anywhere from 'buying a credit card' messages to 'Stop smoking in 5 easy steps' messages. Anything and everything you could think of to sell or solicit, you could find in 'spam' email. This word probably comes from the previously newly formed word 'spam' as in the food 'spiced ham.' Many people claim spam (the food) to be nasty or an acquired taste at best; I believe the unwanted or 'nasty' email term arose from this.
type of word formation: zero derivation 'spam' (nothing else, just spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon, sausage, and spam)
dictionary entry: spam, n. unwanted or unsolicited messages or email sent to a person over the internet ('spam slows the internet down') [new zero derivation; arising from 'spam, as in the food people love to hate']

spam rage
context and source: 'Several men have been arrested for spam rage.' (, week of 11/17, 2003)
apparent meaning: a fit of intense anger and threatenings after receiving a deluge of spam. I was looking at various sites on the internet when I came across this article about several people being arrested for making threats to companies and other people sending out spam and other unsolicited email messages. This term is very similar to the more common 'road rage,' although it pertains to a person getting steamed about receiving a lot of spam email.
type of word formation: compound 'spam' (unwanted email messages) + 'rage' (intense anger)
dictionary entry: spam rage, n. a state of extreme anger and frustration caused by getting numerous unwanted or unsolicited emails ('the torrent of spam caused numerous counts of spam rage') [compound of a zero derivation; formed from 'spam', + 'rage']

Spank bank
context and source: 'Put her in your spank bank and forget about her.' (Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You)
apparent meaning: A memory bank of people one finds sexually attractive. This movie starred and catered to youth. By using words young people associate with, they better reach the audience. It is also an inventive way of advising someone to store up an image of an attractive person, one they might like to have sex with (presumably where 'spank' comes from).
type of word formation: compounding
dictionary entry: Spank bank n. A catalog of people one is sexually attracted to

context and source: 'We are specialer to them (grandparents) ? ' (during a conversation, 11/26/03)
apparent meaning: extremely special (note: the speaker intentionally said 'specialer'; it wasn't a mistake). The speaker wanted to convey that our grandparents consider us to be very special. The speaker intentionally said this, and it wasn't a mistake. Also, the word wasn't intended as a comparator, i.e., it needn't be followed by 'than'.
type of word formation: derivation (affixation) 'special' + -'er' (denote 'very' in this case) ADJ. ? specialer
dictionary entry: specialer, ADJ very special, more special than usual ('she is a specialer friend')

context and source: 'America Online, the largest instant-messaging provider, has a number of roadblocks in place to halt spam IM, or spim.' (Houston Chronicle, Nov. 17, 2003)
apparent meaning: large numbers of unwanted instant messages. Spam has been adopted into English as a word to describe mass, unwanted, junk e-mails. IM is becoming more and more mainstream and those who send out spam are beginning to use IM as an avenue as well. Thus, a new, more specific word has been formed to describe the new online annoyance.
type of word formation: blend spam + IM (instant message)
dictionary entry: spim, n. unwanted mass instant messages (Spim slows down my computer.) [blend, formed from 'spam' + 'IM' (instant message)

context and source: -'It's a spirit, it's a commitment?.it's a spirmitment.' -commercial for wireless phone service, week of 11/24
apparent meaning: A feeling of intense enthusiasm and commitment. This is a deliberate attempt to create a word by jamming two nouns together. In this case, the blend does not seem to flow easily from one root word to the other; the mouth must form two completely different shapes to go from 'spir-' to '-mitment.' This may have been by design, as it almost seemed as if the commercial was a spoof of other companies' attempts to win customers.
type of word formation: Blending 'spirit' + 'commitment'
dictionary entry: Spirmitment, n. An idea or strong feeling of committed enthusiasm, especially shown by a company for its customers. [from 'spirit' + 'commitment']

Spit game
context and source: 'What do you say we go down to pub and spit game.'
apparent meaning: To look for people of the opposite sex to talk to.
type of word formation: unknown
dictionary entry: Spit game, v. to look for a sexual partner [origin unknown]

context and source: 'Come see Spoco and the Philharmonics perform'. Seen on a flier this semester for a dual performance by the Philharmonics and Spontaneous Combustion.
apparent meaning: abbreviated name for, Spontaneous Combustion, the improv troupe at Rice University. Again, when things are used and said often, the tendency is to want to shorten them. Also, Spontaneous Combustion is a long name, and they may have needed to conserve space on the flier
type of word formation: blending and clipping spontaneous 'occurring randomly' + combustion 'burning'
dictionary entry: Spoco ? n. The abbreviated name for Spontaneous Combustion, the improv comedy troupe at Rice University. ('The show I saw last night by Spoco was fantastic!') [blending and clipping; formed from 'spontaneous' + 'combustion']

context and source: 'I have to sleep with my back to the wall so my roommate won't spoon with me.' Suitemate 9-10-03
apparent meaning: bother or molest. This word has become rather trendy lately and is often used as a substitute for the word 'cuddle.' The speaker probably used this word to appear hip and sound comical.
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: spoon; V. to cuddle or snuggle while both individuals face the same direction

context and source: 'We need to squarify our images' (IM conversation, 11/15/03)
apparent meaning: to make an image square. Square images are easier to conduct experiments with. The speaker wanted to convert the rectangular images obtained to square images in order to be able to conduct experiments more easily.
type of word formation: analogy 'square' (pertaining to a square) + -'ify' V. ? continuify
dictionary entry: squarify, v. Process of making something square ('squarify an image') [analogy: 'square' (pertaining to a square) + -'ify' V.]

context and source: 'Now the speedway was a stillnessway.' ? Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
apparent meaning: A path marked by quietude and lacking any disturbance (esp. manmade invasion). The following quotation illustrates the reason the coinage came about; the absence of motor vehicles from a certain area changed the atmosphere of the place, and Dillard wished to play with the morphemes of the original word in order to capture the essence of the contrast wittily.
type of word formation: compound and derivation STILL + -NESS + WAY
dictionary entry: STILLNESSWAY, n. A path marked by quietude and lacking any disturbance (esp. manmade invasion)

context and source: 'Stirrage increased.' (Conversation about lab with lab partner, 11/11/03)
apparent meaning: The act or motion of stirring. The morpheme '-age' seems to have become rather fashionable (especially among American adolescents) as a readily available noun ending for many verbs. Because of this morpheme's newfound fame, it is not surprising that a young college student would attach it to a verb (such as 'stir') that is often spoken during the laboratory period. The new word 'stirrage' has the same meaning as the noun 'stirring.'
type of word formation: compound 'stir' (to pass an implement through (a liquid) in circular motions so as to mix the contents) + '-age' (N, A, collection, mass, amount, condition, state, action, result of an action)
dictionary entry: stirrage, n. The act or motion of stirring. ('the stirrage of the reagents in a flask') [new compound; formed from 'stir' + '-age']

context and source: 'I am a str8 male' saw word in a chatroom conversation 9/18/03
apparent meaning: means 'heterosexual,' just an alphanumeric way of saying 'straight.'

context and source: Asked whether my roommate needed anything about Target and she responded negatively, stating 'I'm straight' (Nov. 12, 2003)
apparent meaning: everything is in order. Just a more modern way of saying 'ok.'
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: Straight, adj. Doing ok (No worries, I'm straight.) [zero derivation, formed from 'straight']

context and source: 'Sum up in one word why you should be elected President.' 'Strategery.' -Saturday Night Live skit, originally aired in 2000 but constantly rerun now
apparent meaning: A mangling of the word 'strategy.' This word was likely just an attempt to poke fun at George W. Bush's speaking habits, but it is representative of how some words may be formed. The correct word is 'strategy,' but 'strategery' has been used because it sounds similar to other, fancy words that might be used to impress people. This word entered the language as a joke, but it has been repeated so often since the original airing of the show that it may become a legitimate word.
type of word formation: Blending/Analogy
dictionary entry: Strategery, n. A form of the word 'strategy'; using cunning for the achievement of a goal

context and source: 'That chicken in the cafeteria at lunch was stupendulous.' Martel Sophomore 10-24-03
apparent meaning: wonderful. The speaker wanted to describe just how incredible the chicken was so she blended two words to emphasize how amazing or incredible the chicken was.
type of word formation: blending. 'Stupendous' + 'fabulous'
dictionary entry: Stupendulous; adj. describes something that is amazing or incredible.

context and source: 'I'm being stupious by doing my orgo homework.' -online conversation with friend, 10/1
apparent meaning: The condition of studying too much to do any good. 'Stupious' is a highly useful term that seems to describe quite a few students at this university. There is currently no widely accepted term describing a student who studies to the point of ludicrousness. Stupious is ideal because it combines the two ideas, stupid and studious, perfectly into one word. It is also ideal because the first syllable is the same in both words. Therefore, only the 'd' in 'studious' must change to a 'p.' This change from an alveolar sound to a bilabial sound is a relatively easy transformation.
type of word formation: Blending 'Stupid' (lacking intelligence) + 'studious' (studying often)
dictionary entry: Stupious, adj. The condition of studying too much to do any good; stupidly studious. [new derivation, fr. 'stupid' + 'studious']

context and source: Conversations with friends, since spring 2003. 'I'm going to be up half the night working on this project?it's going to be major suckage'
apparent meaning: Suckage takes it's meaning from the extremely common slang word 'suck' (v), meaning 'to be terrible, horrible, etc.' and turns it into a noun, so that everything that 'sucks' can now be deemed 'suckage'. It is to be used in the most informal setting.
type of word formation: Another example of affixation: suck + age (n-forming).
dictionary entry: suckage, n. Anything that is terrible, unpleasant. [suck + -age]

context and source: 'Bio-engineered superbug stirs debate.' (, 10/31/03)
apparent meaning: A particularly drug-resistant disease-producing microorganism (especially one that has been genetically or otherwise engineered), said especially of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Because of the popularity of the Superman comic books and subsequent films and television series, the morpheme 'super' used as a prefix has acquired the connotation of describing the 'super-thing' as unusually strong and resistant. Thus, it was only natural for the new word 'superbug' to arise when our technology had advanced to a point where bacteria and viruses could be genetically engineered to be resistant to most, if not all, antibiotics and vaccines.
type of word formation: compound 'super-' (large, great, extreme) + 'bug' (disease-producing microorganism or the disease produced by this microorganism)
dictionary entry: superbug, n. A particularly drug-resistant disease-producing microorganism (especially of the genetically engineered variety), generally said of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. ('a bio-engineered superbug') [new compound; formed from 'super-' + 'bug']

context and source: 'New thinking on 'Supermax' prisons.' (, 11/05/03)
apparent meaning: Possessing technologically advanced security precautions for the containment of exceptionally violent and dangerous criminals, said of prisons. The existence of criminals warrants the existence of prisons. When there are criminals who are exceptionally dangerous, they are kept within maximum-security prisons. When the criminals in question are 'the worst of the worst,' they are contained within supermax prisons. The new adjective 'supermax' probably makes use of a peculiar connotation of the 'super-' morpheme. This meaning is associated with the Superman of graphic novels, films, and television series, and it is used to describe things as unusually strong and resistant. Therefore, adding this morpheme to a clipped version of 'maximum-security' produces an adjective that accurately describes this nation's newest high-tech prisons.
type of word formation: compound/clipping 'super-' (large, great, extreme) + 'max' (maximum, maximal) [from 'maximum-security']
dictionary entry: supermax, adj. Possessing technologically advanced security precautions for the containment of exceptionally violent and dangerous criminals, said of prisons. ('authorities were transferring the infamous serial killer to the newest supermax prison') [new compound/clipping; formed from 'super-' + 'max' (maximum-security)]

context and source: 'Lets call these new representations surflets?.' (ECE advisor, during a conversation with research group, 10/16/03)
apparent meaning: surface-lets ? little surfaces used to approximate large complex surfaces. In the ECE community, an active area of research is to represent a large complicated 'object' using smaller objects. These smaller objects usually have the suffix '?let', like wavelets (little waves), wedgelets (little wedges), etc. Our group came up with a new representation which uses little surfaces to approximate big surfaces. Hence, following the tradition, we decided to name our little surfaces surflets.
type of word formation: blending 'surface' + -'let' (little, N.) ? surflet (little surface)
dictionary entry: surflet, n. A little surface ('Surflets provide good approximation properties') [blending: 'surface' + 'let -> surflet]

context and source: 'He swished that last shot.' Conversation in gym ? 11/06/03
apparent meaning: to make a shot in basketball shot that does not hit the iron hoop, and only touches the net. From the sound produced by the aforementioned act: SWISH.

context and source: 'The swoosh sign on the shoe was black.' Conversation in shoe store ? 11/12/03
apparent meaning: name of 'check' symbol for Nike products.

T [Top]

context and source: 'I'm now TAing one class only' (In a conversation with my friend on 11/23/2003)
apparent meaning: to be the teaching assistant of a class
type of word formation: TA is originally the acronym of 'teaching assistant' and is a noun. But by zero derivation, it is now used also as a verb.
dictionary entry: TA, v. to be the teaching assistant of a class.

context and source: 'There has been a marked tabloidification of the Indian media over the last few years' (social commentator on the state of Indian society, Star TV interview, 8/18/03)
apparent meaning: media selling more 'tabloid'-type news, as opposed to 'broadsheet' news. The speaker was referring to a trend in the media towards more 'tabloid'-type news (usually sensationalistic news, often not true), than conventional 'broadsheet' news
type of word formation: derivation (affixation) 'tabloid' + -'ify' V. + -'cate' V. + -'ion' N.
dictionary entry: tabloidification, n Refers to a shift towards more tabloids, or tabloid-type news, by the media ('tabloidification of newspapers') [derivation: 'tabloid' + -'ify' V. + -'cate' V. + -'ion' N.]

context and source: 'Andrea is a self-proclaimed tag-whore. She won't buy anything that's not from Abercrombie. Sometimes, she buys outfits she doesn't even like, as long as the tag is in an obvious place." (November 17, 2003)
apparent meaning: One who actively pursues brand names. Whore has come to mean someone who shamelessly pursues another. In this application, it refers to a person who pursues glitzy name brands, i.e. tags for the sake of social status. This is an inventive way of getting across a common idea.
type of word formation: compounding
dictionary entry: Tag-whore n. A person who buys name-brand items for the sake of portraying a certain image. [a compound of tag (marked with a brand name) and whore]

context and source: '?the classic fight between new boys and the old crowd; the pragmatists against the ideologues; the technocrats against the Reagan loyalists.' (The Power game, p. 314)
apparent meaning: A group of people especially proficient in technology, who are also firm believers in it. 'Technocrats' was probably used to categorize people who are members of the technology 'in-group,' who use technology to solve most problems and who stubbornly hold to the view that it is the most efficient and modern way.
type of word formation: blend
dictionary entry: Technocrat n. A person who is knowledgeable and skilled in new technologies, who usually believe technology is the answer. [a blend between technology and crat (meaning 'member')]

context and source: 'The Canon A70 makes me crazy with technolust.' (November 18, 2003).
apparent meaning: Yearning after the newest technology. This creative word combines two distinct concepts, technology and lust, into a word that describes how we all must feel at times?the desire to have the latest.
type of word formation: Compounding
dictionary entry: Technolust n. The desire or craving for ownership of the newest, shiniest, or fastest models in technological development.

context and source: 'These days I did nothing but temporicide.' (In my friend's letter received on 11/22/2003)
apparent meaning: the killing of time
type of word formation: From the novel concatenation of the Latin morphemes 'tempor' meaning 'time' and 'cide' which means 'cut or kill'.
dictionary entry: Temporicide, n. the killing of time.

context and source: 'Click here to texify' (in WinEdt, an editor for Latex, 11/01/03)
apparent meaning: to convert a regular text document to Latex (pronounced La-tech)format. Latex is a document format used for technical documents. WinEdt is an editor which allows one to convert regular text to Latex format. 'tex' is analogized with 'Latex'.
type of word formation: analogy 'tex' (pertaining to Latex) + -'ify' V. ? texify (pronounced 'techify', with 'tech' as in technology)
dictionary entry: texify, v. Converting regular text to Latex format ('texify a document'

Text me
context and source: 'Text me later' (Conversation on a shuttle, 9/20/03)
apparent meaning: To send a written message electronically from a cellular phone. It seems to be a more modern version of 'call me later', and expresses a person's desire to be contacted in the near future. The speaker was asking for later communication, in reference to a technological function or feature.
type of word formation: Derivation
dictionary entry: to text, v. To send a written message for social communication from one cellular phone to another.

Thumpa-thumpa music
context and source: 'That club just plays thumpa-thumpa music.' Brown freshman Sept. 2003
apparent meaning: music played with a lot of base especially at a club or other place where music may be played for the sole purpose of having lots of base. The rhythm is clear and strong. Use a descriptive onomatopoeia word for the style of music played at this specific dance club.
type of word formation: onomatopoeia
dictionary entry: Thumpa-thumpa music, n Music that is played solely for the purpose of having a lot of base [onomatopoeia]

context and source: 'Don't forget to put on your tick-tock.' ?my mom, 11/28
apparent meaning: wristwatch. This word may have been formed through metonymy. The term 'tick-tock' describes the sound made by the watch, but my mom used it to refer to the watch itself. The term for one idea became a term for a different but related entity, which describes metonymy. This word was probably used just for a change of pace from 'watch.'
type of word formation: Possibly metonymy. 'Tick' and 'tock' are both examples of onomatopoeia: they are sounds a watch makes as the second hand progresses.
dictionary entry: Tick-tock, n. Another term for a wristwatch [derived from the sound made by the inner workings of some watches].

context and source: 'The graphics in that new video game are so tight.' 10-24-03
apparent meaning: very good or cool. instead of using the common descriptive words such as 'cool' or 'awesome' the speaker decided to use some more novel lingo.
type of word formation: zero derivation.
dictionary entry: tight; adj. good or awesome.

to flip a lid
context and source: 'When I saw the grade I got on that test, I flipped a lid!' (a college student describing her reaction 11/30)
apparent meaning: to panic, to freak out, carries specifically negative connotations. The test score was not so pleasing, thus the reaction was that of becoming irritated and upset. in order to correctly express the level of upsetness, a humorous interesting expression is used.
type of word formation: analogy
dictionary entry: Flip a lid,v. To react negatively to a stressor, to get upset and irritated, to freak out ('he flipped a lid when he saw her standing there') [An analogy]

context and source: 'Calling us for no reason, what a tonk!' (An HCESD (Harris county east side district) paramedic, frustrated at a man calling 911 for no good reason 11/29)
apparent meaning: when asked, the paramedic said that all the poor population of that part of Houston are tonks. No linguistic or logical explanation was given. this seems to be an arbitrary name assigned to a specific population of the city of Houston. There is no reason for this word to be used, other than that it has been designated to represent the people of the low socioeconomic layers.
type of word formation: unknown
dictionary entry: Tonk, n. A poor or homeless person belonging to or living in the East Side District of Harris County, TX ('go back to your area, tonk') [of unknown etymology]

context and source: Online conversation with friend, 11/03. '?.he cheated on his girlfriend, what a tool?'
apparent meaning: A tool is someone who is a real loser- mean and nasty. I honestly have no idea where 'tool' is from, I suspect it is some sort of Pacific NW slang, as it is another word from my friend who goes to Whitman College.
type of word formation: What to call people you don't like: another popular category to create neologisms in. These words seem to move in fads though, the words that are not ingrained expletives don't seem to stick around for very long.
dictionary entry: tool, n. A despicable, nasty person.

context and source: A friend of mine could not think of the adjective form of the word tool, so he decided to make one up. Of the several options he provided, this one is my favorite.
apparent meaning: as a tool, like a tool. In the absence of an obvious adjective form of a common word, the speaker made several, such as toolic, toolesque, and toolish. Toolish seems the most appropriate because of its phonetic similarities to foolish (another adjective to be used in an insulting manner).
type of word formation: known stem with alternate ending
dictionary entry: toolish - adj. - similar to a someone who is used by someone or something for the user's purposes, usually derogatory. Formed from tool and -ish (an adjective forming suffix). Some politicians may describe Colin Powell's actions for the President as toolish while others see them as signs of loyalty and patriotism.

context and source: 'Are you tracking?' (conversation with University of Pennsylvania sophomore 7 Sep 2003)
apparent meaning: understanding the speaker's line of thought, argument, or directions. The speaker was trying to ensure understanding and so posed his question. The common form of the word 'to track' means to follow the trail of something. From there, it's just a metaphorical jump from physically following something to keeping up with a conversation or argument.
type of word formation: metaphorical extension ('tracking', v. in a physical sense to 'tracking', v. in a mental sense] 'track' (to follow the trail of) + '-ing'
dictionary entry: Tracking, v. understanding the speaker's line of thought, argument, or directions ('are you tracking') [zero derivation of 'track', v.]

context and source: 'I have always thought the ending of Romeo and Juliet to be quite tragical.' Classmate, Poli 210 October 15, 2003.
apparent meaning: Used to describe a situation in which a tragedy occurs. the speaker was trying to explain the situation as a tragedy, changed the form of the word (n) to make it into a descriptor (adj). It may also have been a blend between tragedy and debacle.
type of word formation: blend, derivation
dictionary entry: Tragical adj. A word used to describe situations that are an extreme misfortune, a terrible tragedy.

context and source: '?and the coach employs a bit of trickeration?' -announcer on football broadcast, 11/27
apparent meaning: Trickery or deceptiveness. Trickeration seems to be a word that one who is uncomfortable speaking to an audience might use when trying to come up with a word like 'trickery.' It is formed by taking the last letter off of 'trickery' and adding the noun suffix '-tion.' The linker 'a' is included so the speaker can more easily progress from the long a sound to the 'sh' sound in the word. This is analogous to words such as concentration or affixation (of which this word is an example).
type of word formation: Blending or Analogy/affixation 'trickery' + 'a' (linker) + '-tion' (noun suffix)
dictionary entry: Trickeration, n. A synonym for trickery; deceptive behavior in an attempt to gain an advantage

context and source: Why you trippin today? Server at Martel cafeteria 10-30-03
apparent meaning: literally stumbling. (this is deceiving because of the short sentence in which the word is used.) Instead of telling the woman that she was acting foolish, 'trippin' is much more efficient because it is so concise.
type of word formation: zero derivation and ananolgy 'trip' + '-ing' (v. 'the act of')
dictionary entry: Trippin; v. acting foolish.

context and source: 'That is so trippy, he should go smoke something.' (comment by friend while watching Meet the Parents 11/29/03)
apparent meaning: in a drug context, trip means bad hallucinations, so trippy is having the property of having a bad hallucination; like a bad hallucination. The speaker was trying to describe a scene in Meet the Parents where the father was trying to get the daughter's boyfriend to admit that he does drugs. The way he did that is to describe the scene as having the quality of a bad 'trip' or hallucination.
type of word formation: derivation 'trip' (to stumble) + '-y' (n)
dictionary entry: trippy adj. having the qualities of a bad hallucination ('that is so trippy') [new derivation; formed from 'trip' + '-y']

context and source: "Drop trow for Brown" Brown College cheer.
apparent meaning: based on the actions of the people chanting trow is short for trousers. clipping of the word trousers for poetic reasons.
type of word formation: clipping
dictionary entry: Trow n. a garment worn to cover ones legs [clipping: trousers pants]

context and source: 'I love that new P. Diddy song, it is so true.' - Suitemate 10-17-03
apparent meaning: good, cool. the word 'true' is often used in the African American and hip-hop communities. Because the speaker was describing a hip-hop song, he probably felt that 'true' would be an appropriate word choice.
type of word formation: zero derivation.
dictionary entry: True, adj. a word used to describe someone or something that cool or good.

TWENTY-FOUR-SEVEN, also in print: 24/7
context and source: 'I feel like I study twenty-four-seven.' Conversation; 9/10/03.
apparent meaning: This phrase literally means twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It has a connotation that imparts the idea of all the time or constantly. This word was probably coined to shorten the long phrase 'twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.'
type of word formation: compound of twenty-four and seven; clippingof 'hours a day' and 'days a week' out of longer phrase
dictionary entry: twenty-four-seven (alternate spelling 24/7) [compound twenty-four + seven] Noun. 1. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 2. All the time or constantly.

context and source: In an article about obesity in USA Today on 10/13/2003
apparent meaning: a person in his or her twenties
type of word formation: Compounding of the word 'twenty' and 'something'. By extension, people who are in their thirties can be called 'thirtysomethings' and so on.
dictionary entry: Twentysomething, n. a person in his or her twenties.

context and source: 'She's pulling a twofer.' (9/22/03)
apparent meaning: something that yields a dual return for a single expense. There has long been a saying, 'two for the price of one,' meaning that the consumer would receive two of the item he wanted by paying only the price of one of the items. This DJ probably began using this word recently after hearing it from another source. The original person who coined the word probably did so because he or she wanted a noun to convey the sense of 'two for the price of one.' However, the entire phrase was apparently too long, so it was shortened to the first two words, and the spelling of the second changed to closer represent the actual sound pronounced.
type of word formation: compound/clipping 'two' (cardinal number equal to 1 + 1) + 'fer' (altered spelling of 'for,' clipping of phrase '[two] for (the price of) one,' dual return for a single expense)
dictionary entry: twofer, n. An offer or arrangement in which one expense yields two returns. ('to pull a twofer') [new compound/clipping; formed from alteration of 'two (for the price of) one']

U [Top]

context and source: 'We took our project to Kinko's so now it looks übernice.' -overheard at lunch table, 11/26
apparent meaning: Extremely good or pleasing. This is a very interesting formation, and the exact reasons for its usage are unclear. The speaker could easily have used another English suffix, such as 'super,' in place of the noticeably foreign '¸ber.' A likely explanation is that '¸bernice' is just fun to say. However, this may be a sign that the prefix '¸ber' is slowly making its way into mainstream English and will eventually become an everyday borrowed prefix, just as 'super' is today. Another interesting feature of this word is the apparent difference in tone between the prefix and root. 'Nice' has evolved to become a relatively bland adjective, usually used to describe something that does not evoke much excitement. Adding an intensifying prefix like '¸ber' is seemingly contradictory; it would probably make more sense to use an already intense root, like 'amazing.' It will be interesting to see if '¸bernice' manages to work its way into everyday use.
type of word formation: Compounding Composed of '¸ber' (German 'super') + nice (native)
dictionary entry: 9bernice, adj. Extremely pleasing or good; good-looking; very nice [new derivation, fr. Ger. '¸ber' (super-) + nat. 'nice' (pleasant)

context and source: ''This is an ultratribal area,' Mirabile explained to Newsweek. 'We understand that there's no winning this battle without winning the hearts and minds of the people, and you don't do that without winning the sheiks.'' ñ Newsweek, 10 Nov 2003.
apparent meaning: Having extremely strong tribal affiliation; characterized by a great emphasis on the importance of the tribe. This word was no challenge to create; ULTRA- denotes extremity or a going-beyond, modifying the stem TRIBAL.
type of word formation: derivation ULTRA- + TRIBAL
dictionary entry: ULTRATRIBAL, adj. Having extremely strong tribal affiliation; characterized by a great emphasis on the importance of the tribe.

context and source: 'stories unabout college' (on graph of stories about college and stories not, created for the 100th college story of a friends blog 10/13/03)
apparent meaning: not relating to stories about college. On the graph, the writer was showing the number of stories on his webpage that aren't about college. Using the morpheme 'un-' flows better than saying not.
type of word formation: derivation 'un-' (not) + 'about' (relating to)
dictionary entry: unabout prep. not relating to. ('stories unabout college') [new derivation; formed from 'un-' + 'about']

context and source: 'It was certainly unAustralian in its forms.' (Searching for Aboriginal Languages, Robert Dixon, p. 107.)
apparent meaning: erring from the majority of Australia's aboriginal tongues. Dixon wanted to denote the language in question as substantially different from those addresses thus far in his narrative, so he affixed the ubiquitous 'un-' prefix to the adjective Australian. The new word is particularly striking because of the capital 'A' at the boundary between morphemes, which visually symbolizes the contrast between languages that follow the usual Australian language pattern and those that don't.
type of word formation: derivation 'un-' (not) + 'Australia' (continent southeast of Asia and west of the Americas) + '-an' (adj. suffix)
dictionary entry: unAustralian, adj. Not following the usual Australian norms, especially relating to the indigenous languages of the continent. ('Mbabaram's lexicon was distinctly unAustralian in its makeup.') [New derivation from 'un-' + 'Australia' + '-an'.]

context and source: 'To celebrate the uncelebratory event of telling one-hundred stories, I have composed these charts and graphs for all the critics of the site.' (read from online blog of friend 10/13/03)
apparent meaning: something that is not, cannot, or should not be celebrated. The writer was talking about how 100 stories about college isn't really anything to celebrate about. So he used celebratory and the morpheme 'un-' in order to convey not celebratory.
type of word formation: derivation 'un-' (not) + 'celebrate' (to observe an event with ceremony or festivity) + '-ary/-ory' (adj/noun)
dictionary entry: uncelebratory adj. something that cannot or is not celebrated ('uncelebratory event') [new derivation; formed from 'un-' + 'celebrate' + '-ary/-ory']

context and source: On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two couples physically separated (uncoupled) when approaching a girl who had just been through a devastating breakup.
apparent meaning: to move apart from your loved one. The two couples were caught by surprise by the appearance of their friend, and they needed a quick signal to stop holding each other's hands and acting as a couple. Uncouple was a short and easily understood term, and they avoided appearing insensitive to Buffy's recent struggles with love.
type of word formation: affixation
dictionary entry: uncouple - v. - to physically separate oneself from his/her significant other, to cease the habits of a typical couple. Could you guys uncouple for just a little bit? It's not like you're eating alone!

context and source: 'My physics professor is unbearably unitonal.' (November 29, 2003)
apparent meaning: monotone and extremely boring. This word is a variation of monotone. However, adding a prefix and suffix gives it a more 'intelligent' sound. This may have been the feel Chrissy was trying to get across, intelligent but boring. 'Unitonal' might also be a way to create a new word in expressing her frustration.
type of word formation: blend
dictionary entry: Unitonal adj. Words delivered orally in one tone, which begins to grate on the listener, quickly becoming boring. [A combination of prefix uni- + monotone + al]

context and source: 'It would be unpossible for us to spell it wrong.' (read on online forum for the MOB on 11/6/03)
apparent meaning: something that is not possible; not capable of happening. The speaker was trying to anger a person on the online forum. He wanted to use a word that is not standard English, but still made sense. So the morpheme 'un-' was substituted for 'in-/im-'. His process created a new word.
type of word formation: derivation 'un-' (not) + 'possible' (capable of happening, existing)
dictionary entry: unpossible adj. not capable of happening or existing ('it would be unpossible') [new derivation; formed from 'un-' + 'possible']

context and source: 'But trying to sell sex as 'classy' or upper-middlebrow can backfire.' (In The Dallas Morning News on 11/23/2003)
apparent meaning: belonging to the upper and/or middle class
type of word formation: Formed by the concatenating the words 'upper', 'middle' and 'brow', which means 'the projecting upper part of a steep road'.
dictionary entry: Upper-middlebrow, adj. belonging to the upper and/or middle class.

V [Top]

context and source: Fashion and Style advice on 11/26/03. 'Entrenched in the routine of office wear, respectable Mom attire and good old sweats, a woman may not know where to begin the 'vampification.''
apparent meaning: 'Vampification' means the act of vamping- to vamp (or vamp up) is to give something a new appearance using a patch, or to concoct or invent. A second definition for 'vamp' stems from the word vampire: a seductive woman who uses her sensuality to exploit men. Vampification suggests something sexy, desirable, seductive, and maybe a little more appealing than the traditional makeover to the older women at which the column was directed.
type of word formation: Vampification, like fetishization, requires the nonexistent verb 'vampify'. It is an affixation, with the noun-forming suffix ñion on the end.
dictionary entry: Vampification, n. The act of inventing a seductive style/manner. [vamp + -ify (v) + -ion(n)]

Velcro language
context and source: 'English is a velcro language.' (linguistics lecture 2 Sep 2003)
apparent meaning: language that picks up words from other languages. The speaker was trying to convey some idea of English as a language that readily picks up words from other languages. Velcro is often thought of as something 'sticky' that picks up bits and pieces from everywhere, much like the English language.
type of word formation: compound of 'velcro' + 'language' 'velcro' (name brand of hood-and-loop fastener) + 'language' (words, their meanings, and the ways of putting them together that are used and understood by a specific community)
dictionary entry: Velcro language, n. language that readily incorporates words from other languages ('English is a velcro language') [compound of 'velcro' + 'language']

context and source: ' Wow your fighting style is like poetry in motion; it is so viewtiful.' (overheard from a TV program conversation, week of 10/6, 2003)
apparent meaning: Greater meaning than beautiful, highly stylized; awesome. The speaker was trying to convey how great his opponent's techniques and fighting moves were, and 'beautiful' would sound too soft or weak. So, he blended the words 'view' and 'beautiful' to add strength and meaning to what he was saying. His opponent had just beaten him, so he wanted to show his appreciation in a manner that was both masculine and reverent of the highly stylized and awesome techniques (like they were truly a sight to see)
type of word formation: blend 'view' (meaning to watch or look at) X 'beautiful' (meaning good-looking or pleasing to the sight)
dictionary entry: viewtiful, adj. highly stylized and/or awesome; 'poetry in motion'. ('viewtiful fighting techniques') [new blend; formed from 'view' X 'beautiful']

context and source: Something similar to 'the Raptors unleashed the Vinsanity in their game last night, as Vince Carter scored 30 Ö' ñ heard on Sportscenter in November several times
apparent meaning: the spectacular and high-flying play of NBA-star Vince Carter and the excitement it generates. It's a catch combination of his name and the common slang description of 'insane' for some of his dunks and highlight reel plays. Some of them truly are incredible feats of athleticism. Also, when he makes these plays the whole crowd becomes excited.
type of word formation: blending and clipping Vince 'Vince Carter' + insanity 'madness'
dictionary entry: Vinsanity ñ n. the spectacular play of Vince Carter and the excitement it generates. ('The Vinsanity was on full display as Vince Carter put on a dunking clinic to easily win the Slam-Dunk contest.') [blending and clipping; formed from 'Vince' + 'insanity']

context and source: 'My mom made me a turkey-and-stuffing shake for Thanksgiving, which was the day after I got my braces. It was vomitous.' (conversation with Lovett freshman 1 Oct 2003)
apparent meaning: something that is vomit inducing. The speaker was trying to describe the meal her mother had prepared for her the day after she'd gotten her braces (and couldn't eat solid food). She was trying to convey that not only was it disgusting, but it had made her want to vomit. She therefore derived the noun 'vomit' into an adjective.
type of word formation: derivation 'vomit' (stomach contents ejected during the act of vomiting) and '-ous' (A)
dictionary entry: Vomitous, adj. something that is vomit-inducing ('the turkey-and-stuffing shake was vomitous') [derivation: 'vomit' + '-ous']

context and source: 'The color of that car is vomitrocious!' heard in conversation ñ 9/30/03
apparent meaning: repugnant. Vomit + -rocious.

W [Top]

context and source: 'We were not only hallmates. We were wallmates.' (In a conversation with a friend on 11/4/2003)
apparent meaning: a person that lives next door or literally shares the same wall with you
type of word formation: Compounding of the word 'wall' and 'mate', which means 'companion, friend'
dictionary entry: Wall-mate, n. a person that lives next door or literally shares the same wall with you.

context and source: 'There was only one explanation: I'd been warchalked.' (Time 29 Oct 2003)
apparent meaning: to indicate where a wireless internet network exists and how it can be accessed. Often, wireless internet networks are not protected with a password, and are therefore open to anyone with a computer and wireless card within a certain radius of the wireless hub. With an ever-increasing number of non-password-protected wireless internet networks, it is becoming possible for people to roam streets trying to detect an open network to which they can then connect to for free. Once this spot is found, the user may make a mark outside of the building with chalk to indicate to future passers-by where and how to connect to the network. This is referred to as 'warchalking.' The origin of the second half of the compoundó'chalk'óis obviousóthat is what is used to make the mark. The reason for using the first part is a little more uncertain. Perhaps 'war' refers to the continuing struggle between those who own and pay for the wireless hub and service and those who access the network for free.
type of word formation: compound of 'war' + 'chalk' 'war' (to be in active and vigorous conflict) + 'chalk' (to mark something with chalk (a soft powdery stick used esp. to write on chalkboards))

context and source: Webinar was overheard in a conversation in the RMC to describe a seminar that someone was taking online. (late Sept. 2003)
apparent meaning: a course composed of a small number of people who are taking it online. the word flows quite well and as the two words of the blend can be distinctly heard in the new word, the meaning is easily conveyed.
type of word formation: blend Web (Internet) + seminar (type of class situation)
dictionary entry: Webinar, n. A seminar taken online (I've got to do the homework for my webinar.) [new blend; formed from 'web' and 'seminar']

context and source: 'That is whack.' Not Another Teen Movie; 9/30/03.
apparent meaning: Whatever is being described is somehow wrong or bad, in the speaker's opinion, in that it is incomprehensible, unbelievable, or outrageous. This word was probably shortened from 'whacked' which means crazy or high on drugs. 'Whack' was probably coined to give a slightly different or more general meaning to the word 'whacked.'
type of word formation: clipping, as 'whack' is probably a shortened form of 'whacked'
dictionary entry: whack [clipping of whacked] Adjective. Being incomprehensible, unbelievable, or outrageous in a negative way.

context and source: television sitcom Clueless. Lead character discourages complaining by telling her friend, 'Cut the whinage!'
apparent meaning: whining, sound of whining. On this show, students of certain cliques use a slang comprised of made up words, so someone's social status can be determined by the creativity and uniqueness of his idiolect. Cher, the lead character, uses this word among other made-up words to show her coolness.
type of word formation: known stem with alternate ending
dictionary entry: whinage - n. - act of whining or the sound of whining. Formed from whine (a sound of pain or distress) and - age (a conceptual noun forming suffix). Military officials have a low tolerance for whinage.

white bread
context and source: In my high school, the majority of people were plain and average and predictable. Those who did not fall into that category described them as white bread, and the term is becoming popular again. It is a bit derogatory among some groups, but my friends and I never use it in reference to race.
apparent meaning: ordinary and bland. People usually think of white bread as nothing spectacular, and each slice of white bread is very similar to the other. That is exactly how each of these people were.
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: white bread - adj. - not very different from the ordinary and average, uninteresting. The kids on Dawson's Creek were so white bread sometimes.

context and source: 'Are you going to white-hat this game?' Asked this question at the Regional NIRSA Flag Football tournament ñ 11/03
apparent meaning: n. head referee, v. to be the head referee. Usually, with a crew of officials, only the head referee wears a white hat.

context and source: 'He's a wingaling dragon' (heard off of online flash cartoon 9/30/03)
apparent meaning: a creature with wings. The character in the cartoon was drawing wings. He wanted to describe the dragon now that it had wings, but wanted it to sound cool. Thus he used rhyming to come up with a new word that describes the dragon.
type of word formation: rhyming formation 'wing' (a structure used for flying) + 'aling' (a rhyming of wing)
dictionary entry: wingaling adj. a creature with wings ('he's a wingaling dragon) [new rhyming formation; 'wing' + 'aling']

context and source: 'Is the wrangler around?' (Question asked to me by a friend on the phone, 2003)
apparent meaning: It is a reference to a person or living being. It is most likely a person who is tough and scrappy because of the meaning of 'to wrangle', to wrestle or quarrel with someone or something. The components are the verb 'to wrangle' and the addition of an 'r' to change the word to a noun standing for a person or thing. To nickname a pal in an endearing manner by describing his appearance and demeanor.
type of word formation: Derivation
dictionary entry: wrangler, n. A of nickname for someone, usu. a male, who has a reputation of being rowdy, tough, and loud.

context and source: 'So then I was like WTF? How could he give us that much homework?' Sid Rich Freshman
apparent meaning: What the fuck? Seems to be used in an indirect question form. It is part way between an interjection and an interrogative. Its increased use in internet chat rooms and instant messages has spread from typed English to spoken English.
type of word formation: Abbreviation
dictionary entry: WTF, indirect question showing general displeasure for something; why. [Abbr. of 'what the fuck']

Y [Top]

context and source: 'yada-yada, yada-yada, Ö' (Seinfeld episode, 1999)
apparent meaning: It appears to be a saying that is used as a sort of filler in discourse. The repetitions indicate the size of the gap in the conversation. The word 'yada', which has no standard meaning reveals that whatever is being relayed lacks importance or value. The phrase is spoken by a person who is relaying a story to a third party and gives him or her a way of skipping over unimportant or boring information.
type of word formation: Compound
dictionary entry: yada-yada, n. Expression for lengthy and/or unimportant information in a conversation.

context and source: 'I miss you. We'll yarn soon, hopefully.' (November 9, 2003)
apparent meaning: To talk, to have an informal and social conversation. 'Yarn' may have been used because women in knitting circles engage in informal conversation. It takes connections the action of talking to the yarn used during their conversation.
type of word formation: zero derivation
dictionary entry: Yarn v. to engage in informal conversation with a friend or close acquaintance. [formed by altering part of speech from a noun to a verb]

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