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American Speech 75.4 (2000) 430-446

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Among the New Words

Wayne Glowka, Brenda K. Lester, Ina Dreiseitl, Kimberly Hicks, Tanya Moon, Heather Patterson, William Sinski, Erin White, Jill Winkeljohn
Georgia College & State University

Barry Popik
New York, New York

With this installment we say good-bye to graduate assistant Brenda K. Lester, who has been with us now for some three years. She is now finishing her thesis and contemplating her future as an editor. As a send-off, we asked her to go through our files and pull out the funniest words that she could find. Some of the coinages we print here are indeed strokes of wit, but others seem to be sardonic admissions of horrible or unfortunate facts and situations. But if we can laugh at the horrors around us, we might just survive them. We will leave the analysis of the humor (and Brenda) to our readers, but we hope that you will giggle a number of times over the list and perhaps occasionally guffaw.

Contributors of citations include Adele Algeo, John Algeo, Thomas Algeo, Christian Brauneck, Fred Brauneck, John Carter, George Cole, Gaelan de Wolf, Iain Kobe, Jeremy Sayles, and Luanne von Schneidemesser. Students in English 4116, "Structure of Present-Day English," in the spring of 2000 looked for additional citations on the Web and in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, checked sources, attempted definitions, and typed up the entries. Barry Popik nosed around primarily in the Dow Jones database and came up with antedated citations for alien-nap, assholian, bilateral confusion, bulroney, cadaver dog, cow tipping, deep kim chee, entomophagy, maggot therapy, necro-shock, nuisance wildlife, potato cannon, potato gun, smart toilet, spud gun, spudzooka, symmetry failure, teleflock, TEOTWAWKI, toe popper, tombstone promotion, vast right-wing conspiracy (VRWC), voice jail, weather fanatics, weather junkies, weather weenies, and wrong-site surgery. Christy Edgar helped with proofreading.


airfare chicken n Competition among airlines keeping fares low (and unprofitable) 1997 Mar 8 Harrisburg (Pa) Patriot-News A8/2 (AP) In a game of airfare chicken, the nation's biggest airlines are waiting to see who flinches first. [ΒΆ] With No. 1 domestic carrier American Airlines holding back on the [End Page 430] increase, the other airlines risk being stuck with higher fares and lower bookings.

alien-nap v [alien + kidnap] Kidnap an extraterrestrial being 1996 Feb 16 Ray Richmond Los Angeles Daily News L39 (Dow Jones) But when the uptight Col. Midfoil (a sharp, over-the-top turn by Martin Sheen) demands that ALF be rubbed out, it's left to a couple of military scientists (Jensen Daggett and William O'Leary) to kidnap (alien-nap?) him and house him until his safety can be assured. 1998 Sept 23 Allan Johnson Harrisburg (Pa) Patriot-News E8/1 (Chicago Tribune) Meanwhile, [Phil] Hartman figured in "3rd Rock's" cliffhanger in May, playing a character named Randy, who alien-napped wacky Harry (French Stewart) because Harry was dating Randy's ex-girlfriend Vicki (played by guest Jan Hooks).

anetsitized adj [anesthetized + net + sit] Numb from spending many consecutive hours on the Internet 1997 May 26 ChicagoTribune sec 4 3/2 (subhead & text) New techno-office terms / Michael Knab, president of Gennera, Knab & Co. as well as a noted wag, now offers these suggestions: Anetsitized--a state achieved after 40 consecutive hours on the Internet.

assholian 1: adj Of or pertaining to a place dismissed as worthless 1995 Jan 1 James Rotondi Guitar Player 104 (Dow Jones) Marc [Ford of the Black Crowes]: . . . At some point, someone taught me the blues scale and the Mixolydian and Assholian modes. And it really didn't help me. 2: n Person (allegedly) from such a worthless place 1998 May 13 Robert D Rayford John Boy & Billy Show WQBZ FM 106.3 Macon Ga (said of a wreckless driver)

bilateral confusion n 1: Surgery performed on the wrong side of the body; symmetry failure; wrong-site surgery 1998 Dec 28 John Hendren AP Online (Dow...


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