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Making Up Words With Random Letters

Updated on October 18, 2014
Making up words can be a lot of fun
Making up words can be a lot of fun | Source

Playing With Words

It all began when my mother and I discovered "Sniglets." a term coined on a TV show we never actually saw, a 1980's-era HBO offering called "Not Necessarily the News," featuring comedian Rich Hall.

This was some years ago--over 20, actually, that mom and I first heard about this. The show apparently had a segment dealing with silly made-up words, and it seems it was so popular that it spawned a couple of books of these "Singlets."

"What in the world are "Sniglets?" you might well ask. Well, according to the definition given in the books, they are "words that are not in the dictionary, but should be." That's all the "invitation" mom and I needed, and we were off and running with the concept.

Creating these gems is easy. All you need is a flexible mind that loves messing about with the English language, a sense of humor about all things "life," and some odd moments of time. Sometimes, they even occur to you spontaneously, of their own volition.

Many are blended combinations of other words, while others are totally made-up new words, sometimes containing a fragment of a real word.

Are you ready? Jump on board, and throw your spell-checker out the window: I'm about to drive mine crazy.

(I suggest you have a box of tissues handy, because this activity can have you laughing so hard your eyes water and you can't see straight.)

Have you ever heard of Sniglets before?

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Making It Up as You Go Along

I'll share with you some of the gems mother and I came up with those 20-odd years ago. In no particular order, and certainly not alphabetical, here they are:

  • Plust: A substance well-known to jigsaw puzzle aficionados, it's that collection of fine sloughed-off bits of the puzzle pieces that is found in the bottom of the box. It's "Puzzle dust."
  • Drint: Another combination of two words, dryer lint. If you don't clean out the drint regularly, it can cause a fire.
  • Dunch: We're all familiar with brunch, that meal halfway between breakfast and lunch, and in place of either. This one is a cross between dinner and lunch; too late for one, too early for the other.
  • Snoozilosus: The act of repeatedly hitting the snooze button when you don't want to get up yet, until the timer cycles off, and you really oversleep.

Do you play with making up words?

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Some New Ones

Just this week, I've come up with a couple of others. They include,

  • Photosneezethis: What happens when the sun gets in your eyes, or you try to bring on a 'stuck' sneeze by looking at a bright light source.
  • Squirmiralysis: When you can't get comfortable in bed, and squirm around so much that you end up paralyzed by a straight-jacket of the bed covers wrapped around you like something out of the "Mummy" movies..
  • Fuzzlipped: When you kiss your pet, forgetting you have on lip balm, you are going to end up fuzzlipped.

From the Original Creator of Sniglets

Your Turn!

Okay, off you go, now! See what you can come up with on your own! Perhaps you've already had an inkling of something like this, and have some ready to go; perhaps you have to give it some thought.

I will say these two things, which appear contradictory:

  1. You have to think about what you want to covey
  2. You can't think about it too much; it can't be forced

Have fun, and if the mood strikes you, then by all means share your masterpieces in the comments.


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  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there drbj!

    LOL Glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks much for stopping by and adding to the fun!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

    I love spoonerisms and now, thanks to you, Liz, I love sniglets. How about 'snootle' for snooty people?

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, JKWriter!

    Ah--a fellow word-play geek! You might enjoy the book, "An Almanac of Words at Play" by Willard R. Espy.

    Glad you enjoyed 'plust.' You must be a jigsaw puzzle aficionado, as my mother was. ;-)

  • JKWriter profile image

    JKWriter 3 years ago from Right in the middle.

    Oh fun! I do this all the time. My short stories are full of made-up names, words, terms, foods. I usually get so caught up in playing with the new terms that I forget to finish the stories. Ha! BTW, ''plust'' is my new favorite word.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi again, annart - LOL--that's a great one!! Hee hee hee...

    My family used to use a deliberate one to maintain a semblance of polite speech in front of children.. "I have gotten this on bass ackwards." ..usually referred to an appliance handle or item of clothing. ;-)

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

    My partner came out with a great one not long ago: a 'toffee cable'! We have one in our living room.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, annart -

    Yes, many "useful words" have come about via malapropisms or spoonerisms. The most famous spoonerism, and the only one I readily recall as being attributed to the Rev. Spooner, is: "Mardon me, padam, you are sitting in the wrong pew. May I sew you to another sheet?"

    It is a matter of some debate as to whether this one was actually said, but it is a funny and perfect example of what makes a 'spoonerism.'

    Glad you liked the article; thanks so much for your nice comment.

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

    I love playing with words. New words often happen in our household through getting tongue-tied or producing a 'malapropism' or 'spoonerism'. We laugh at each other and with the grandchildren when these things happen and many of them stick.

    One of my granddaughters (3 years old) makes up her own words for all sorts of things even though she knows the correct terms - such an imagination!

    Words are made to play with and we can make up wonderful new ones.

    Great hub! Thanks, too, for following me!


  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks, DDE, I'm glad you enjoyed this article. It was fun to write.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Greatly thought of and so worth the read.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, favored!

    I know what you mean. Mom and I had never heard of the program, either; we discovered 'Sniglets' by way of coming across one of the books.

    Sometimes, you even coin words by accident when you trip over your tongue, and mix up two words because you couldn't decide which you wanted to use, and both tried to come out your mouth at once! LOL

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • favored profile image

    Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

    Although I never heard of the program, my husband and I have been making up our own words since high school. Seems we're not alone in doing that.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, ocfireflies,

    LOL--you sound like an old pro at making up words! My younger daughter had a make-believe swear word when she was young. If something went wrong, or she was having a difficult time, she'd exclaim, "Rumaginjum!" (Best spelling approximation I can

    Thanks so much for the votes--I'm delighted you so enjoyed the article.

  • ocfireflies profile image

    ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

    LOVE THIS HUB! Rather than using expletives, I will say something like hazabaza, umbaoomba or any crazy mix up letters that are not actually words. I started this when I was in the classroom. Perhaps, we ended up with too few books or some piece equipment decided not to work on the day we needed it, and my response would be some crazy word. The kids always loved it. Voted up funny and really interesting.


    Kimbajaba : )

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, MsDora,

    LOL Steal away; I hold no patent on these bits of silliness. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Many thanks!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    I enjoy the read DzyMsLizzy, and I'm stealing "Dunch." It sounds so right. Thank you.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, epbooks,

    Those books are just such fun, aren't they? I think I may still have mom's around here someplace; probably packed up in a box.

    I've always loved playing with words, and beside this sort of thing, I'm a sucker for bad puns. Thanks so much for stopping by; I'm glad to meet a fellow 'sniglet lover.' LOL It's kind of rare to meet up with folks who have heard of this.

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    I love this. I have heard of Sniglets and as a matter of fact, I have the sniglets book which I bought probably 30 years ago or so! It's still funny and I actually read it about a week ago. This was the era with Jack Handy and "Deep Thoughts" which I still find funny!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ Jodah--Hi there--thanks for your contribution. Love it! How fun that you’ve actually seen Rich Hall.

    @ billybuc--Indeed! Fame can come from strange places. I do think that such exercises are indicative of the creative mind, and thinking along these “outside the box” ways can fuel our writing. Thanks so much for reading--I’m glad you enjoyed the hub.

    @ FlourishAnyway--Hahahaha… love your word! Perfect “word-o-flage” for when small fry are present. Thanks for contributing!

    @ Eiddwen--Thanks so much--I’m delighted you enjoyed this bit of fluff.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

    Original and fun .A great hub.


  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    My favorite made up word is "fa-noodling" which is basically any semi-intimate contact from sexy hugging to The Deed. It's a very PG word and can mean whatever you want in context. I love made up words.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I love it! Seriously, what fun. I need to do more of this...who knows, one day we could be famous for coining a new phrase or word. Fun hub.

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Fun hub Mslizzy.....i used to make up words as well..."spemistic",,,especially pessimistic attitude. I've seen Rich hall on QI...interesting to see he invented 'sniglets'.