The City That Reads and Makes Up Words: That Should Be a Word, Baltimore Edition #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on 04/13/12

My dear and VERY HANDSOME FRIEND John Barry, founder of Baltimore’s excellent New Mercury Reading Series, sends along this entry:

new mercury

Scrawltimore, spatial reference: A zone within which one is capable of realizing that the street art at the corner of North and Charles was made by the art student who flunked your Joyce class. See also: ad-junked.

As a former resident adjunct I can affirm THIS HAPPENS NOT INFREQUENTLY. John and I, with our respective mates, also once lived in identical apartments in a brownstone that had actually been bought in one of those no-money-down mortgages by someone CLAIMING TO BE SOMEONE ELSE. She ran the place, from another state, for YEARS. He wrote about it somewhere, and I will post it once I find out where.

(You can also check out Re:education, the blog of THE VERY BEAUTIFUL Edit Barry, John’s wife, among other things, which takes a REVOLUTIONARY STAND on public education. John, you may be peeved about having to share this publicizing space, but I did put it in parens.)

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I realized only after creating this I’ve been duvious FOR YEARS

Posted by Lizzie on 04/07/12

Delicious Phytoplankton -

1. Feigns knowledge of a topic by expressing doubt. “Every time the baby cried, Charles duviously told his wife that he knew it didn’t need to be fed.” See also: Fraudience (those convinced).

That Should be a Word!

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I found you could describe almost none of the families of those I love as traditional, but I HATE the term non-traditional. So I turned that frown upside down!

Posted by Lizzie on 04/01/12


1. Pioneers of nontraditional families. “Sam and Mark debated which made them the best kinnovators: adopting their daughter, donating sperm to Sandrine or taking in Mark’s mother-in-law.” See also: Daddicts (stay-at-home dads); clanarchists (unmarried, child-free couples).

Newest That Should Be A Word!

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Email is the problem #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on 03/24/12

What Would Henry Miller Make of the 1 Percent? -

1. To obfuscate in an attempt to clarify. “Jim realized he had confluded his apology after explaining to his date, for the third time, why he said she looked tired.” See also: Condrone (to agree too much).

Latest  That Should Be a Word!

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I would probably try to eat this illustration, too #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on 03/16/12


1. To absent-mindedly peruse the food in your proximity. “The meal took a nosedive when Ellery unwittingly chowsed her father-in-law’s penne.” Also: bitrayal (finding that food tastes less delicious than it looks).

Latest That Should Be a Word!

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Also, in honor of Passover, an FB-generated list of words for a) people who wish to be Jewish and b) people who everyone always thinks are Jewish who are not #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on

In vague order:

Wishraeli (Lizzie S.)

Jew-ish (Many)

Oyim (Lizzie S.)

Faux-sher (Kate T.)

Wanna-heebs (Joshua S.)

Judoephilic (Shannon S.)

Wouldeos (Lizzie S., ESPAGNOLA)


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People who try to steal my job; Or, other great entries in #thatshouldbeaword lexicon.

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These are from Claire S. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR OWN!

I am very, very fond of Flaberet.

cred-i-BULL, n.
Unbelievable claims made by one who is considered to be an authority. “Sheila listened politely as her boss raged over Obama’s “death panels,” but deep down she knew it was a load of credibull.” See also: im-poster girl/boy (one who publicly supports a philosophy or cause he or she does not actually follow).

YAWP-per-toon-ist, n.
One who takes any slight pause in a conversation as an invitation to speak at length. “Faculty meetings were always a frustration for Nancy, whose hesitant contributions were often interrupted by Shirley, the resident yawpportunist.”

FLAB-er-AY, n.
A burlesque show featuring corpulent performers. “All week Herman had looked forward to feasting his eyes on taut flesh at the visiting burlesque show, but it turned out to be a real flabaret.” See also: buff-fey (a large public gathering of gay men with chiseled physiques).

Please also review this group effort:

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In the original, it was “Handed her son the Swiffer.” Because I don’t even Menable by SPEAKING

Posted by Lizzie on 03/09/12

What’s Your Dog’s Favorite Restaurant? -

men-AY-blur n.1. One who promotes the patriarchy. “Never a menabler, Sara made her son Swiffer the house each week.” See also: Menclave (male-only meeting); malefeasance (act of misogyny); menopoly (exclusive male control).

Latest If There Is Any Justice In the World Those Vaginal Wand Legislators Will Have to Use a Catheter Shortly.

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Because I have always HATED the term “Grammar Nazi,” as it makes NO SENSE, unless Jew-killing means an adherence to precision

Posted by Lizzie on 03/04/12

The Secret Lives of Dogs -

(Gruh-MAN-doh), n., adj.

1. One who constantly corrects others’ linguistic mistakes. “Cowed by his grammando wife, Arthur finally ceased saying ‘irregardless.’ ” See also: Dictaplinarian (enforces correct pronunciation); Spellot (takes a red pen to all documents).

Latest That Should be a Word!

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I still don’t understand why you all sit on your phones. But I’ve made a word for it nonetheless: #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on 02/26/12

Mencken’s Bedbugs -

1. To call someone by sitting on your phone. “Kelly was mystified by the distant peal of Sandra’s laughter until she realized her friend had bumerang her.” See also: Subtlebutt (a conversation you must move to the edge of your chair in order to hear).

Latest That Should Be A Word!

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Sunday links: Hide and Seek; Or, Why I am glad I only shop with cash at my corner grocer’s, who gets me the tuna I like

Posted by Lizzie on 02/19/12

Apple TV has opened me to the wide wonderful world of listening to public radio programs across the spectrum, especially when certain oldies shows that shall not be named hijack WQXR for half the day. In any case, here are some links, old and new, all of which make me glad I have left such a large digital footprint it seems unlikely that anybody could find me without first reading my entire series on The Real Housewives, which would be nice for a change.

How to Disappear Completely. Wisconsin radio’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge” profiles three people-sweeepers

How Companies Learn Your Secrets. NYTMag’s examination of how Target knows you’re pregnant, also known as Why I Am Glad I Live in the Land of the Dollar Store.

My Flamboyant Grandson. Oldie but goodie. George Saunders’ New Yorker short story on a dystopic future entirely directed by targeted marketing; i.e., now. (Also, if you are not a subscriber, there is a PDF. YOU DID NOT HEAR THIS FROM ME, and only did not hear this from me as I believe minor samples of work online help sales of the author’s work as a whole, as they have always helped mine. BUT ANYWAY YOU DID NOT HEAR THIS FROM ME.)

Play The Part. This American Life show on an man who looks quite a bit like Obama, from certain angles, and now is forced to impersonate him, because Verizon fired him. This tells you something about being Obama, and our economy, and actually working for Verizon, which is good to know.

Occam’s Razor. From This American Life’s “Family Physics.” The story of David Paladino, a half-black man raised by his Italian mother and stepfather who until adulthood had no idea he was black, and only passing rather unsuccessfully, as I do in the other direction, to my increasing annoyance, but in any case. One of the best TAL’s ever.

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WHAT HAUNT MY LIFE #dauntlets #thatshouldbeaword #thatineedtouselessfrequently

Posted by Lizzie on 02/10/12


1. A small but overwhelming task. “After one glass of wine, Marlene’s half-filled sink presented an insurmountable dauntlet.” Deprescient:to know hardship is imminent.

Latest That Should Be a Word, Which Did Not in Creation Qualify as Dauntlet.

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I trust no one #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on 02/06/12

TAB-di-kate, v.1. To let someone else figure out how to split the check. “Sally loved to tabdicate after group dinners; she hated long division.” See also: Spendicant (shorts group check); Megan (only pays for self).

Latest That Should Be A Word!

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Suferiority: Why we cannot correct our boyfriends THOUGH WE BE CORRECT

Posted by Lizzie on 01/28/12


(suh-feer-ee-OR-ih-tee), n.

1. Too insecure to believe one is correct. “Crippled by suferiority, Anne could not tell her date that Warren Beatty was, in fact, in ‘Splendor in the Grass.’” See also: Discurse(to wince at others’ errors).

Latest That Should Be A Word!

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Grossest #thatshouldbeaword YET

Posted by Lizzie on 01/21/12

Pole-Dancing as an Olympic Sport? -

SH-pits, n.v.1. To clean a child’s face with one’s own saliva. See also: Licktim (the child thus cleaned); Spaternity (to claim one’s adult child for cleaning).

Latest That Should Be a Word. And grossest. And one I was born to do.

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I have no car, but remain an inveterate sharker. Latest #thatshouldbeaword

Posted by Lizzie on 01/13/12

Dancing Santorums and Barefoot Living -

HAR-buh-rate-er, n. One seeking a parking space. “The Ikea lot is always slammed with harbouretors.” See also: pedator (one who asks strollers if they are leaving); shark (to circle the lot).

Latest “That Should Be a Word”!

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As someone who is bad at this, I am bound to do it forever

Posted by Lizzie on 01/06/12


skin-JEK-cher, n., v.1. To speculate about the plastic surgeries someone has had. “Viewers enjoy a fresh round of skinjecture during each new season of ‘Real Housewives of New York.’ ” Also: iconoplast (one who chooses to age naturally); donion (too many procedures).

Latest “That Should Be a Word” at NYT mag!

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Father comments he and mother should get credit for this, and that he likes Whole Food bags best. Done!

Posted by Lizzie on 12/11/11

Bagri-cul-ture, n.1. The practice of saving shopping bags. “David, a frequent customer at Whole Foods, is an avid bagriculturist.” See also: Baggarts those proud to cultivate bags; Folding cell the subsink area where bags are held.

Latest at NYTmag!

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I will just NEVER be the lead for this feature, will I? #never

Posted by Lizzie on 12/04/11



Car-si-mo-ni-ous, adj. To gravitate toward smaller vehicles. See also: Tanktimony to find virtue in low mileage; Gastringent to require a specific limit of miles per gallon.

My latest from NYT magazine!

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Discussions WITH children on items such as what happens when you plunge your arm in lava or whether a meteor or a jaguar is faster are always welcome, of course

Posted by Lizzie on 11/27/11

Brattle, v., n.

1. To discuss one’s children, often at length. “Anne hid in the basement to avoid the cocktail brattle.” See also: spamily (Facebook or Twitter updates about kids); spawntourage (a group of approaching strollers).

Latest That Should Be a Word. Of course I would like to emphasize that my friends have never done this, never never never.

Please also see Maud Newton‘s wonderful treatisette on crows, as well as all other excellent featurelles. (Greatest challenge of this job will be finding new words for “mini-column”, methinks.)

Update! Fellow contributor Gaby Dunn (on Twitter here) comes to the rescue with “Smallumns.”

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