Lucy Vickery

New word order

Lucy Vickery presents the latest Competition

In Competition No. 2549 you were invited to find a gap in the language and plug it, explaining the etymology of your coinage.

There is a word, ‘sniglet’, created by the American comedian and writer Rich Hall, which describes ‘any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary but should’.

There were some fine sniglets in the postbag this week. Frank McDonald’s ‘carcophonist’ — ‘a driver, usually a young male, who is keen that everyone should hear the music he’s playing in his car’ — is a useful insult to hurl at offending motorists though it’s unlikely that they’ll hear you. Carolyn Beckingham’s ‘yoofemism’ is ‘any word or expression used in order to avoid saying or writing anything derogatory about any aspect of youth culture’; and William Danes-Volkov gives us ‘barbista’, ‘a devoted and aggressive lover of Bar-B-Queues. Insists on filling the evening air with the smell of lighter fluid, burnt chicken and highly spiced and e-numbered sauce. Becomes seriously disturbed if anyone suggests any other form of cooking.’

The winning snigleteers, printed below, are rewarded with £30 each. The extra fiver goes to Brian Murdoch, although, try as I might, I couldn’t imagine Suralan using a seven-syllable word.

expolydesmondísnic (adj., also noun; joc., usually derog.) ‘[being in possession of, someone who has] a mediocre degree from a recently chartered university in a subject whose academic content is questionable’. Etymol. mixed ( = bastard neologism, cp. television for proculvision): Lat. + Grk ex + poly[technic], with nom. prop. elements [D]esmond [Tutu], univ. sl. ‘lower second’ + [Walt D]isn[ey], creator of Mickey Mouse, in hum. reference to degree subject matter. Late 20c.–early 21c., as: ‘a two-two in handbag design from the University of Bognor Regis? I’m not having some bloody expolydesmondisnic as my apprentice. You’re fired!’ (BBC programme, 2009); perh.

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