Tuesday, April 28, 2009

neologism - a new word, meaning, usage or phrase.

It had been going on for some time before I noticed it. I think it started with my wife, but the boys quickly picked it up, and now it has become a regular part of their vocabulary. It’s the word Plogged.

plogged - If a drain is so badly stopped-up that it is both plugged and clogged—it’s plogged.

I should have seen something like this coming. For years I’ve listened to my wife inadvertently dissect and reassemble clichés into forms that she feels work best for her at any given moment. “You can’t have your cake if it’s already eaten.” True, I suppose. “There are two sides to every pancake.” Uhh, yeah…

I’m pretty sure she butchers clichés just to see my reaction. These quasi Yogi Berra-isms are guaranteed to make me twitch, first, then tense up as I try to refrain from correcting her. I wrestle with this for a few moments but always fall back on the argument that if I correct her when it’s just the two of us, it will save her from embarrassment when she’s having a conversation with someone else. So I correct her. But she really doesn’t care. It is only natural that the manufacture of words would follow such reckless disreguard for language standards.

So now, the boys walk about dropping plog, plogs, plogged, plogging and other forms of this non-word into their conversation, as if it's an accepted part of the language. It's not—I looked it up, just to be sure. From plod the dictionary moves on to plonk (I don’t think that’s a real word either) with no plog between!

In her defense, plog is a word that probably should be in the dictionary. It says what it means, is convenient to use and easily remembered. Maybe she’s onto something, this combining of words to create new words. I’ve played around with it a little bit and come up with a few new words of my own.

yardvark – The neighbor who incessantly moves one side of his landscape to the other, then back again, leaving a good portion of his yard upturned at any time. He sustains himself by snacking on ants.

changevaporate – It’s what happens to loose change when you vacuum the inside of your vehicle. (Confess! Sometimes you vacuum up the pennies on purpose!)

cellularm – The ringing of any mobile phone, among a collection of two or more people, which causes heads to spin, arms to flap and pockets to be patted (hopefully one’s own pockets) as near panic causes all those within earshot (even those without phones) to be concerned that it is their phone that is ringing and that they might miss something that could be better than what they’re presently up to.

dietiquette – When one eats the last three brownies in order to spare their spouse the temptation, because, “You said you wanted to lose some weight!?!”

barbequest – The attempt to complete the preparation of just one meal on the grill, without something burning, falling to the ground, or being snatched up by the dog.

springots – The ingots of treasure that the dog deposited through the course of the winter that reappear in the spring with the melting of winter’s snow.

I’m going to submit these to the people at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for consideration. Don’t tell my wife, but I’m including Plog in the list—though I’m experiencing an immeasurably deep feeling of uneasiness about it. I think the term for what I'm feeling is abysmalaise.

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