Monday, January 31, 2011


Words are so much fun. Says You introduces the audience to two new, fun words each week. Most weeks even the words that I like, I can't remember, though I try. The only one that really stuck over the years was a non-word, "strawphyllactic," which is not part of the English language but should be.

You all know what a strawphyllactic is. You see them all the time if you go to a restaurant and order a cold drink. A strawphyllactic is the paper left on the tip of a straw when they remove the bottom of the paper tube in order to stick the straw into your drink.

As I said, this isn't an official English word, but it came from the Addictionary, a list of words that ought to exist, but don't. I'd like to be part of a campaign to get Webster's to recognize "strawphyllactic" as a legitimate word.

Some recent good Addictionary words are cellevangelist (a person who loudly gabs on the phone in public), tunesia (when you recognize a song but can't remember the name of the artist), tipocrit (one who dispenses suggestions, instructions and advice which they do not and never would follow themselves), photox (using Photoshop to clone out wrinkles, blemishes and other imperfections in photographs), and apatheist (a person who fails to care about the existence of God).

But the Says You bluffing round words are real words found somewhere (though sometimes I wonder where host Richard Schur comes up with them!)

If it weren't for the bluffing round, I would never have known, for example, that "filk" came from folk music tunes for which musicians wrote new lyrics based on science fiction/fantasy themes. It has since evolved to include original songs on those same themes as well as parodies on any theme of interest to the science fiction community (such as cats and computers) and Celtic tunes (particularly seafaring and drinking songs).

This week we latched on to "catillate," which means the licking of plates. Catillation is such a big activity around here. Lizzie's specialty is catillation and I have to keep using it in a sentence to get it firmly affixed in my mind.

I mentioned "catillate" and "catillation" on Facebook and someone responded by saying that they really ought to call it "dogillation" since dogs do more plate-licking than cats. That got me wondering if I could find the etymology of "catillation."

So far I have been unsuccessful, but I did find a reference to a paper by Thomas Blount (can't read the whole thing without paying a fee) which listed catillation as having been part of the first dictionary printed in England in 1604. There were other words from that volume listed too, one of which was "adstupiate."

I have been trying to find the definition for that word, unsuccessfully. But I desperately hope that you could use it properly in a sentence like "Fox News has contributed to the adstupiation of the United States." Or perhaps a book title like "The Adstupiated Thoughts of Sarah Palin."


Murr Brewster said...

I used to make up words myself because I thought they fit the bill better. Now I do it because I can't remember any of the real ones.

Governor Jen said...

I love straphallactic! I have been getting them on my smoothies everywhere lately. I didn't know what to call them other than "annoying", so thanks for that!