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Happy New Word

Earl Fowler

Every festive season about this time, publishers release lists of neologisms — words or expressions coined during the dying year.

Most have a short life span and never make it into general usage (as recent examples, think such slangy terms as “bae” as a term of address for a boyfriend or girlfriend, or “feels” to connote a strong emotional reaction in a usage such as: “The death of the Queen gave us all feels.”)

Dreck.


We hep cats won’t lament the passage of either as they beat a richly deserved twenty-three skiddoo. Or a skiddoo in ’23, whichever comes first, by cracky.

Neologisms with staying power eventually crack the pages of dictionaries. Among the 455 added to their lexicon by the good people at Merriam-Webster in 2022:

Flutternutter for a peanut butter and marshmallow topping on white bread.

Amirite, an interjection for (let’s not always see the same hands) “am I right?”

Deplatform for booting someone from a communication platform (Donald Trump from Twitter, for example; he has since been replatformed by Elmo).

Whataboutism: Deflecting an accusation by saying someone else did something even worse. This is the automatic go-to move of six-year-old serial liars like Trump and New York congressman-elect George Santos.


TBH: To be honest, a gratuitous and pointless abbreviation.

And like that. Neologisms typically fill a need that didn’t exist and are the answers to questions no one asked.

But I lingered in bed this morning wondering why there aren’t words by which those of us d’un certain wistful âge, looking back in languor, can denote two groups of people: those we wish we hadn’t slept with back in our salad daze and those we wish we had.

I think I’ve come up with a decent coinage for the former, twisting an adjective into a noun: the ex-crables.

But for the latter, bupkes.


The paramourned? Flimflames? ALC (for A Lust Cause).

I’m confident you can do better. Submissions welcome below in the comments field.

Emissions not so much.

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