Washington Post Readers Increase Their Word Power

The Washington Post recently published a contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternate meanings for various words. These are some of the winning entries:

  • Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
  • Carcinoma (n.), a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.
  • Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
  • Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  • Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.
  • Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
  • Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavored mouthwash.
  • Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.
  • Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
  • Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
  • Semantics (n.), pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood, including such things as gluing the pages of the priest's prayer book together just before vespers.
  • Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
  • Frisbatarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some recent winners:

  • Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the reader who doesn't get it.
  • Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
  • Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very high.
  • Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously.
  • Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.
  • Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like a serious bummer.
  • Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
  • Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.