Contest: Word Manglers Welcome

Blog Review: WordPlay Café Neologisms Contest

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

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

Any of the above new terms for one of the more fidgety boys of summer is known as a neologism. Who would have thought one of the more serious vocabulary words I’ve ever heard could be so fun?

Dictionaries define a neologism as a recently created word, sometimes resulting from a combination of words. Since inspiration and insanity are close cousins, it’s not surprising that The American Heritage Dictionary 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 crazy to come up with neologisms. Just ask illustrator Michael Kline, who has made a successful career out of mangling words. He’s the illustrator of many children’s magazine articles and 25 books, including WordPlay Café, which teaches children to have fun with language. He also authors and illustrates the WordPlay Café Neologisms Contest Blog, which runs a weekly contest that encourages people to come up with their own neologisms to match his illustrations.

The results of people’s manglings are quite clever. 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 try your hand at mangling a few words, you can enter the contest (or just look at the 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.

You also can contact Michael at WordPlay Café for permission to use his illustrations on your blog or Web site and to find out about the terms of use. (Ed. note: No taking without asking first, please.)

Copyright 2007

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3 Responses to “Contest: Word Manglers Welcome”

  1. bluebeaverbeer Says:

    I wanna be a neologist! My favorite that I saw recently was Tofurky, which is also a brand name for a tofu product. I wish I was responsible for unleashing Tofurky on the world.

  2. Tofurkey — now that’s good word mangling. It reminds me of the wiggly turkey-shaped tofu with paper hats on its “feet” from a Thanksgiving episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

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