Have you heard of the concept of "nominalism?"
As I understand it, the gist is that giving something a name is a crucial part of bringing it into being (Plato talks about this, as does Foucault). So when it comes to abstract concepts (anything from Déjà vu, to Love, to Innocence, to... hey hey... "nominalism"), they literally do not fully exist without their names. (Now, you might not agree. You might subscribe to the idea that there are universals out there that care not if you name them or not -- they exist just as completely with or without your stupid name). But for those that buy it, it's a powerful idea: if you can capture a concept and distill it down to the right words, you make it real.
So for those who like wordplay and Godplay, good news! 'Tis the season!
Winter marks the time of two big word creation contests: Washington Post's Style Invitational and The American Dialect Society. (Details below)
I thought there was a chance some of you 'lab listeners were the type to be incubating some clever new terms. So, A) submit! But, more fun, B) why not share some here? We could build a little cornucopia of freshly baked words. And what could be more fun than that?! (Note, there is a troubling lack of irony in my tone right now). It's been a hard Fall.
To get the ball rolling, I wanted to share with you a new word invented by my friend Lindsay. This term is such a powerfully useful one, that ever since she told me about, not only do I use it a lot, I use it with a kind of fierce love. I cherish it when I get to use it. And I didn't want the world to have to go another day without knowing it:
The idea is that these are the (real and metaphorical) footwear you find yourself wearing when you're having a particularly hard time with things. That's as best as I can define it. But here's Lindsay explaining its creation, definition, and usage:
The Story of Struggle Pumps
Oh heck, while I've got ya hostage, here's one of mine.
I don't know if you're anything like me but getting things done in an efficient way literally gives me a little thrill. When I'm crossin' things off the list -- bam, bam, bam -- I'm like, heck yeah. Puritan Buzz. And it turns out, there's a GREAT way to up your Puritan game. What? Getting emails done in the bathroom... AKA... P-mailing! Like the "e" in e-mail (is it "electronic?" "excruciating?") the "p" in p-mail could mean a number of things. I'll let you think on its multiple meanings. Either way, I've become quite the enthusiastic practitioner.
Oh wait. The contest details:
Washington Post Style Invitational. Deadline Dec 16.
Rules: Style Invitational is a weekly wordplay contest (joy!) and this "neologism contest" is their famous one. The specific rules for this year's are: to come up with a new word by changing (you can add, drop, or substitute) one letter of a real word. Here are past examples. This year, the words you change must start with T, U, V, W, X, Y or Z.
Submit to: email@example.com
Submission guidelines here.
American Dialect Society. Deadline: January 3rd.
Gist: Any new word or term. The oldest word-of-the-year contest in the English Speaking World!
Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission guidelines here.