15 Neologisms From 'That Should Be a Word'


Lexicographer and young adult novelist Lizzie Skurnick creates words for the modern age. Her new book, That Should be a Word, is a collection of 250 of her neologisms. About half debuted in her New York Times Magazine column of the same name, and the other half are entirely new. They’re witty, hilarious, and—crucially—super useful. Here are 15 of our favorites (there were so many more we couldn't include), complete with pronunciation, definition, and usage in a sentence.

1. Figital

(FIJ-ih-tul). adj. Excessively checking one’s devices. Example: “Victoria grew tired of watching her figital fiancé glance at his iPhone every five seconds.”

2. Tyrunt

(TIE-runt), n. Child who bosses everyone around. Example: “Jolene wondered whether it was the long-ago nursing-on-demand or her acceding to Beatrice’s wish for a race-car bed that had made Beatrice such a tyrunt.”

3. Saddict

(SAD-ikt), n. One who thrives on misery. Example: "Lyndon tried everything to cheer his Mom—giving her flowers, cleaning his room, changing his socks—but by high school he'd concluded she was a die-hard saddict." 

4. Mespoke 

(me-SPOHK), adj. Tailored to one's lifestyle. Example: “Dylan was a member of the mespoke generation: from his iPod playlist to his Netflix choices to his favorite shot of espresso at his neighborhood café, he never had to experience anything that wasn't his explicit choice.”

5. Palbatross 

(PAL-buh-tross), n. A friend you’d like to drop. Example: “Chuck was convinced that Brea was a palbatross until their mutual friend Zoe showed him that Brea was actually making very funny jokes; she just said them so low they were hard to hear. But then he got annoyed at that.”

6. Pagita 

(PAH-ji-tuh), n. The stress of the unread. Example: “Roderick stared desperately at the stack of New Yorkers before he went on his business trip, trembling with pagita.”

7. Roogle

(ROOG-ul), n. Regret of a search. Example: “Samir stepped away from the computer filled with roogle. He hadn’t needed to know his new boss was a Civil War reenactor.”

8. Bangst 

(BANKST), n. Stress over diminishing funds. Example: “Topher read the ATM printout carefully, filled with bangst. That couldn’t be only two zeroes, could it?”

9. Denigreet

(DEN-uh-greet), v. Pretend never to have met. Example: “After the fourth time Clunie denigreeted Maud, the latter just started introducing herself as Claude.”

10. Perserveerance 

(PER-seh-VEER-ants), n. Procrastination via performing other tasks. Example: “Troja’s perserveerance caused her failure to complete her novel, but she did acquire a rock garden, a new bathroom floor, and a mastery of Asian fusion cuisine.”

11. Flabsolution 

(flab-suh-LOO-shun), n. Self-forgiveness for weight gain. Example: “There must be a traveler’s forgiveness for having clotted cream, roasted chicken, and churros in a single week. Zach felt flabsolution.”

12. Shoverdose 

(SHOW-ver-dose), v. To binge-watch a TV series. Example: “The couch was littered with Frito detritus, a laptop opened to the Wiki for Game of Thrones, and a set of fuzzy socks, while a Roku screensaver bounced on the TV: Clearly Allison had been shoverdosing again.”

13. Doubtrage 

(DOWT-rage), n. Uncertainty about whether one should be mad. Example: “River responded to his mother-in-law's needling of his son with doubtrage—was she just working through her undeniably tragic childhood? (And did it matter?)” 

14. Povertunity 

(pah-ver-TOON-uh-tee), n. A job with more status than salary. Example: “Working for a production company for the chance to meet celebrities and free use of the craft table: It was the best povertunity Blaise had gotten in some time.”

15. Twiticule 

(TWIT-i-kewl), v. Make fun of someone on Twitter. Example: “Clara thought the #sad hashtag attached to her article’s link meant people were sharing pain about her failed roof garden, until she realized it was twiticule meant to break the news that her entire life was really lame.”

Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Sylvia Plath's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Is Up for Auction
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Nate D. Sanders Auctions

A Pulitzer Prize in Poetry that was awarded posthumously to Sylvia Plath in 1982 for her book The Collected Poems will be auctioned on June 28. The Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions says bidding for the literary document will start at $40,000.

The complete book of Plath’s poetry was published in 1981—18 years after her death—and was edited by her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes. The Pulitzer Prize was presented to Hughes on Plath’s behalf, and one of two telegrams sent by Pulitzer President Michael Sovern to Hughes read, “We’ve just heard that the Collected Plath has won the Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations to you for making it possible.” The telegrams will also be included in the lot, in addition to an official congratulatory letter from Sovern.

The Pultizer’s jury report from 1982 called The Collected Poems an “extraordinary literary event.” It went on to write, “Plath won no major prizes in her lifetime, and most of her work has been posthumously published … The combination of metaphorical brilliance with an effortless formal structure makes this a striking volume.”

Ted Hughes penned an introduction to the poetry collection describing how Plath had “never scrapped any of her poetic efforts,” even if they weren’t all masterpieces. He wrote:

“Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity. So this book contains not merely what verse she saved, but—after 1956—all she wrote.”

Also up for auction is Plath’s Massachusetts driver’s license from 1958, at which time she went by the name Sylvia P. Hughes. Bidding for the license will begin at $8000.

Plath's driver's license
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]


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