Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
The dictionary is growing larger by the second. With words like “twerk” and “selfie” now inducted into our vocabulary, it’s only a matter of time before everyone’s favorite reference book becomes heavy enough to be a weapon. Supply the world’s armies with dictionaries instead of guns and their enemies would surrender almost immediately. Despite the breadth of the English language, there are still some concepts that lack a place among Webster’s other official words. Though I have discussed the unusual specificity of the English language before, I’ve realized that there remains a collection of common ideas that still don’t have proper names to match. In an effort to eliminate this discrepancy and give these phenomena the attention they deserve, I’ve decided to spotlight a few and propose potential titles so that they may be added to the dictionary in the future. I mean, if “twerk” is sophisticated enough to earn a spot in the big book, why can’t some of these?
Proposed word: GIFticle
Definition: an online listicle made primarily out of GIFs.
Example: 10 Best Jennifer Lawrence GIFs Of 2013
Listicles are short, simple, and straight to the point. They’ve revolutionized the online writing business (though some may say in a bad way) by making “clickbait” easier than ever to produce. Recently, a new type of listicle has emerged: one composed almost entirely out of moving pictures called GIFs. (If I were to get into the thorny details of this word’s pronunciation, I would say it’s spoken with a hard G like “gift,” even though the creator of this term would apparently disagree.) Put simply, GIFs are real-life versions of the “moving newspaper images” from Harry Potter. When you put more than one in an article, you’re guaranteed to rake in the views.
Proposed word: Dance-iled
Definition: to “exile” someone from his or her room in order to have a one-person dance party.
Example: “I came home from work to find my door locked and pop music on high volume. I was definitely dance-iled.”
I’ve lived in a single for two weeks now and during that time I’ve discovered that random dance parties are one of the best things in the entire world. There’s nothing better than putting headphones in and violently jamming to Taylor Swift. Contrastingly, there’s nothing worse than having someone walk in on that embarrassment. Therefore, I find “dance-iling” to be an entirely acceptable move. No one should be denied the freedom to lip-sync to Britney Spears in their spare time. It’s a God-given right.
Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Proposed word: Toilexty
Definition: The feeling of panic you get when you notice the empty toilet paper roll after you’ve already done your business.
Example: “Then, I realized there was no toilet paper and toilexty kicked in. There wasn’t even any towels so I actually had to use the cat.”
I’ve always sympathized with Ben Stiller’s character in the dreadful Along Came Polly (2004) toilet scene because it perfectly summarizes the feeling of sheer panic you feel when you notice the empty toilet roll a little too late. They don’t teach you how to deal with these situations in school. (Lord knows Bathroom Emergencies 101 would be more helpful than Woodshop.) Toilexty, a portmanteau of “toilet” and “anxiety,” would give a name to that end-of-the-world feeling you experience.
Proposed word: Rememoroom
Definition: The act of forgetting why you entered a room as you’re entering it.
Example: I walked all the way back up to the 42nd floor only to have rememoroom kick in. I came all that way for nothing.
A mix of “remember” and “room” (I know, I know, I’m a wordsmith, hold your applause), rememoroom would finally give a name to one of the most common memory blunders, though it wouldn’t stop you from wandering around the house for hours on end wondering what you have been looking for. The worst part is I can only ever seem to remember what I wanted when I’ve gone so far that it’s not even worth it to turn back.
What other concepts out there don’t have names to match? What would you call them if you had the opportunity?