Thursday, October 20, 2005

Words, Words, Words . . .

I once invented a new word.

Actually, I do this rather frequently but usually keep my mouth shut about it. "Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt," as Lincoln . . . or Twain . . . or maybe Emerson is said to have said.

However, I did once utter an invented word of mine while conversing with my wife, who uses English as a second language, and when she didn't recognize it, she stopped me, asking to know what the word means. I provided a definition and mentioned that I'd coined it myself.

"What?!" she exlaimed, seemingly outraged -- and then demanded to know where I got the right to create new words.

"Where," I replied, "do you think new words come from . . . heaven?"

Most words don't stem from heaven, and a few may have escaped from hell, but lately, I've noticed a host of words rising from chaos.

Take a look at "Word Verification," which I've activated for the comments page to obstruct spammers, and see the sorts of things identified as words. Here's one:


Is this a word? Did somebody coin it just for the Word Verification function? Or was it borrowed from another language? I performed a Google search on zwalg and found that it does seem to exist in . . . Dutch? But an online Dutch dictionary gives no clue.

What about:


Surely, this is no word. Google turned up nothing but did provide the helpful tip that I remove the quotation marks. I hadn't been using any, but I removed them anyway and received the same message minus the tip:

Your search - evpbaukq - did not match any documents.


- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
- Try different keywords.
- Try more general keywords.

The latter two suggestions don't apply, but the first might, so I rechecked my blog's comment page and found that, yes, I'd spelled evpbaukq correctly.

I've checked other 'words':




None of these turn up anything online, though the Google search for affnwijn asks if I meant "afonwen" and even links to the items that it found for that spelling. To me, though, affnwijn looks vaguely like some low-German dialect for "ape wine," i.e., "Affenwein" -- which does actually Google up three times . . . not that I'm eager to try any.

And pnugmpjy reminds me of a nonexistent disease in which a pneumonia infection gives the sufferer a gimpy leg.

The more enunciatable ohfazszl sounds like a euphemistic expletive: "Ohfazszl! My pnugmpjy leg is aching again. Maybe some affnwijn would help."

Perhaps I'll try these out on my wife.


At 6:48 AM, Blogger Roberto Shamasio said...

the cbc had a cool program on the other day about the history of the dictionairy. Aperentltly the amercian edition has for each word a quick origin notation.
Making up wrods is cool, shakespeare made up about 80 I heard, the onlyone I rememebr is "duobtfull"

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Mr. Shamasio, if you like etymology, here's a good online source:

Also, I noticed from your blog that you're a security guard. Here's a good blog that you might like:

Thanks for visiting and commenting -- I don't get so many readers and am always happy to hear from folks who do read what I write.


Post a Comment

<< Home