WordPlay Café Word Manglers Contest

Blog Review: WordPlay Café neologisms contest

What do you call a baseball player who keeps backing in and out
of the batters box, adjusting his batting glove (for the 28th time),
checking his grip, etc.?

Maybe Ruth? A lumbercheck? The ump’s ire?

Any of the above new terms for one of the more fidgety boys of summer is known as a neologism. Who would have thought such a serious sounding vocabulary word could be so fun?

Dictionaries define a neologism as a recently created word, sometimes resulting from a combination of words. Since inspiration and madness are close cousins, it’s not surprising that The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language also incorporates this little ditty into their definitions of neologism: “The invention of new words regarded as a symptom of certain psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.”

But you don’t have to be nuts to come up with neologisms. Just ask illustrator and author Michael Kline, who has made a successful career out of wrangling words. He’s the illustrator of many children’s magazine articles and 25 books, including WordPlay Café, which teaches children to have fun with the English language. He also authors and illustrates the WordPlay Café Neologisms Contest blog, which runs a weekly contest that encourages people to come up with neologisms to match his illustrations.

The results of people’s manglings are quite clever. As an example, here are last week’s winners:

Attachment disorder
What do you call it when you forget to attach a file
to an important e-mail?

1st place: Mailnutrition
2nd place: Filefaux pas
3rd place: Dettachments
Honorable mention: ADD – Attachment Deficit Disorder

WordPlay Cafe coverIf you’d like to mangle a few words yourself, you can enter the latest contest (or just look at the clever past entries) by going to WordPlay Café. The first-place winner gets his or her choice of a copy of the WordPlay Café book, or an original, autographed sketch of the illustration on which the winning entry was based.

Buy this book

You also can contact Michael at WordPlay Café for permission to use his illustrations on your blog or Web site. (Ed. note: No taking without asking first, please. Artists’ rights must be respected.)

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