Seeing through language – some examples

A few weeks ago, my brother sent me a list of made-up words that are attributed to Mensa and the Washington Post (but I can find no substantiation of this).  Regardless of the source, I thought they provided powerful examples of how we “see” with language, not with our eyes.

For each of the two lists below there is a short explanation of how the words were generated.  As you read them notice what happens as you read first the word then its meaning. There is a recursive process of the word referring to the written meaning and the written meaning referring back to the word that results in the word allowing you to “see” or distinguish something that didn’t exist for you before.

The result is laughter or at least a smile in most cases.

Also kind of fun to make up your own meaning for the last few words in each list and see whether you can create alternative ways of seeing with the same words or whether you get the creator’s intention without first reading the “answer.”


List 1: Altered Words

Readers were asked to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.  Here are the results:

1.  Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2.  Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
3.  Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4.  Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5.  Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6.  Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7.  Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8.  Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
9.  Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your n  bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

List 2: Altered Meanings

Readers were asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.
6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam..
12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon , n.. A Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of jockey shorts worn by Jewish men.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.