A few examples:
Foreploy: Misrepresenting yourself for the purposes of obtaining sex.
Intaxication: The euphoria that accompanies an income tax rebate (which lasts only until you realize that this was your money to begin with).
Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic humor and the person who doesn’t get it.
Glibido: All talk, no action.
Pretty clever, huh? The only problem with the Mensa Invitational is that it doesn’t exist. (Yet another reason to stop blindly forwarding every e-mail you get.)
There is, however, a contest called the Style Invitational that’s published every Sunday in The Washington Post’s Style (aka “features”) section and every Friday online. It features a variety of humor types, from song parodies to cartoon captions. And yes, neologisms, although these aren’t limited to adding or subtracting a letter.
Some neologisms I loathe, e.g., “guestspert.” But because language is (or should be) both fun and fluid, I do like making up words. That’s why I’m proposing the first-ever Surviving and Thriving Non-Hideous Neologism Contest.
Why not give it a try? There’s a prize in it for you.
Invent your own words
If I receive at least five entries, I’ll award a $10 Amazon gift card via the random number generator. I’ll even relax the rules, i.e., it doesn’t have to be a one-letter change. You can use more than one word at a time, add more than one letter, et al.
To prime the pump, I’ll start with a handful of my own:
Avoirdupoise: Being comfortable and confident even if the BMI says you’re overweight.
Hypervigilante: Someone who’s determined to over-organize, over-think and over-prepare every last detail of a social event shared with others. (Guilty!)
Meanderthal: Someone who’s not only stupid, but very, very slow.
Ambidextrose: Able to eat sweets with either hand.
Musturd: That little dried-up blob that blocks the squeeze function of your bottle of French’s.
Porneau riche: The obscenely wealthy.
Upon hearing about my contest, my life partner contributed this one, off the cuff:
Goater: A western about men who raise billies and nannies.
The deadline to enter is Sept. 5. If I don’t receive any entries, I’ll assume that none of you have any imagination at all. Or that you had to wash your hair.
Full disclosure: I am actually a member of Mensa, but people are much more impressed by the fact that I was once on the game show “Jeopardy!”
More light reading: