“Some people have a way with words, and other people . . . oh, uh, not have way.” – Steve Martin

 

You know how in gangster movies they’ll show how sometimes the mafia “opens the books” to let in new members? Like for Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, although it didn’t turn out too well for him. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, do something like that except they only have the one book, and they open it to let in new words. No one gets “whacked” or anything, but otherwise they’re a lot alike.

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It happened last February, and as the Valley Mirror’s resident language poindexter we feel that by overlooking it we may have committed a lexicographic microaggression, which, believe it or not, is one of the new words or “neologisms” that made the final cut. Speaking of cuts, we also hope you will cut us some slack since we managed to spell “lexicographic” right the second time out. (We only had to change it once before the red squiggly line disappeared.) We thought this must be evidence that we’re not as dumb as Sister Othelia seemed to think we were, back in the paleolithic era. So instead of doing a lot of boring “research” we decided to just make up the definitions of the following new words included in the next edition of the dictionary. Here goes:

Microaggression: [mahy-kroh-uh-gresh-uh n] The act of destroying a meal by microwaving. Over-nuking an entree. “You re-heated filet mignon in the radar-range? That’s a total microaggression!” Or, “If you took the time to read the Orville Redenbacher bag, it says 2 minutes not 20! These charred kernels are evidence of a microaggression!” The meaning can be extended to an attack using a microwave oven as a weapon as in, “All I did was complain about the popcorn, officer, and she threw this appliance at me!”

Binge-watch:  [binj-woch n] A timepiece used to measure the duration of someone else’s drinking bout. “I’d love to have another jolt but the missus here has the binge watch on me.” Alternatively, a group organized to keep a problem partier from getting anywhere near his car keys.

Ginger:  [jin-jer n] A person of pallor, characterized by hair of various shades of red, and often a freckled and/or sunburned face. Famous gingers include Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Prince Harry, Archie Andrews and Anne of Green Gables.

Safe Space:  [seyf speys n]  Any tavern where, when the phone rings, the bartender understands why you’ve been tipping him so generously.

Woke:  [wohk v] Past tense of wake; also, an unfortunate state of consciousness, “I was having an interesting conversation with Kate Upton before you woke me with that fireplace poker!” Alternatively, the state of being informed about the latest whacko political crap the college kids have come up with. “Could you reschedule tomorrow’s riot? I won’t be woke till noon.”

Antifa:  [an-tahy, an-tee, fa a] This one sort of has us stumped. We’ve seen it around but were never sure what it meant. The “anti” part normally means you’re against something except for antipasto which means salad. Come to think of it, we’re against salad unless it has bacon and/or fries on it, but that’s another story. The “fa” part we’re going to assume is short for “Falcons” so we’ll all be antifa this Sunday.

Cis:  [sis adj] When used about a mountain it means “this side of,” as in “cis-Alpine Gaul.” When used with “gender” it means someone who looks and acts like a person of the sex he or she was born with. Cautionary note – it is inadvisable to approach cis-gendered males, particularly those dressed in motorcycle gang “colors” and announce, “You’re a real cis!”

Humblebrag:  [huhm-buh l-brag n] We feel so dumb for not having a definition ready for this, especially since we have been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Defining Stuff. We’re sure one of our fellow laureates will come up with one.

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