- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- The English Language
Making Up Words For Fun
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 in 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?
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?
Some New Ones
Recently, I've come up with a few others:
- 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
No Longer on the Air
Do disregard the final bit in the above video, regarding sending in your own creations. This is an old video, and the show is no longer aired.
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:
- You have to think about what you want to covey
- 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.
© 2014 Liz Elias