I used to work with a woman from Panama who we’ll call Linda (her real name). One day, she boasted that Spanish is superior to English because, as she claimed, “there’s a word in Spanish for everything.”
To prove her point, Linda asked, “What is the English word for that plug you pull in the bathtub to make the water run out of the shower instead of the faucet?” I had to admit that I had no word for it, and until that moment, had never discussed that gadget with another human being. Linda then told me the Spanish word for it, which I forgot ten minutes later.
But Linda was right – there are many gaping holes in the English language; too many experiences and phenomenon for which we just don’t have a proper word. And here at Projectophile, our motto is:
If you need it, (and can’t buy it), then make it yourself.
As a public service, the Projectophile D.I.Y. Linguistic Committee proposes adding the following words and phrases to the English language:*
BOOKCOMMIT: The act of reading a terrible book until the end because the reader has already read one or two chapters. In terms of financial investment, economists call these “sunk costs,” but the phenomenon can be applied to books, movies and sometimes boyfriends.
DREAMBARASSMENT: The mix of social anxiety and irrational embarrassment caused when one encounters an individual — such as a co-worker, acquaintance, or casual friend — the morning after having dreamed about him. Many times the Dreamer, having forgotten the dream, suddenly remembers it upon seeing the Dreamee’s face, and feels that the Dreamee somehow “knows” about the dream. Occasionally this mix of emotions is accompanied by an urge to tell the Dreamee all about it; this is not recommended for those outside of one’s “Dreamcircle” (see below).
DREAMCIRCLE: The close circle of intimates, usually confined to the dreamer’s immediate family, romantic partners, and very close friends, with whom a one feels comfortable telling about a dream in which the intimate person appeared. Not to be confused with a “dreamcatcher,” most commonly found hanging from rear-view mirrors, or tattooed on the feet and shoulders of free-spirited women in their twenties.
FACEBOOKQUAINTANCE: An individual that one knows — sometimes quite well — from the comments that the individual deposits on your mutual Facebook friends’ posts. It is quite common upon meeting a Facebookquaintance in person for the first time, for one to declare, for example, “I know you from our 23 mutual friends on Facebook, and admire your mastery of emoticons.” It is not clear, based on today’s social norms, whether it is appropriate to tell a new Facebookquaintance that Facebook has repeatedly suggested you two should be friends.
GUSTATORY DISSONANCE: The feeling of shock and disgust an eater feels upon tasting a food that is different from one’s expectations. For example, a coworker brought a plate of what appeared to be glazed donuts to a work party. Upon biting into one, I discovered that they were actually CHINESE HAM BUNS. I have yet to recover from that experience.
NERDBRAG: The act of calling oneself a “Nerd” because one really just wants others to know that one is “smart.” To avoid looking boastful, the Projectophile Linguistic Committee suggests instead utilizing the word “enthusiast.”
NOMENESIA: Forgetting the name of a new acquaintance because one is so anxious about remembering it.
PEDESTRIDANCE: The awkward shuffle to one side, and then the other, and perhaps another, that oncoming pedestrians perform to avoid collision. The “pedestridancers” often appear as mirror images of each other. This phenomenon is sounds more poetic than it really is.
PICKFULLNESS: The shameful feeling that a Home Cook experiences after having taken so many little tastes and samples of the dish that she is preparing, that by the time the meal is ready to eat, she is so full that she can only sit and watch others eat it. After the meal has ended, the Home Cook will often continue to pick at the leftovers before retiring them to the refrigerator.
PROCRASTOLUTION: The successful act of procrastinating until the task is no longer relevant.**
SIMULATED NOCTURNAL DEAFNESS: Behavior commonly exhibited by parents of young children, wherein one parent pretends to be sleeping so soundly that he cannot hear the cries of his offspring, in an effort to coerce the other parent to rouse from slumber and attend to the child’s needs. It is important for the simulated sleeper to “wake” momentarily to acknowledge the situation, after the other parent has completed the task. For example, “Oh, Honey, was that the baby crying? I must have been sound asleep.” Note the use of the male pronoun, which masks the fact that in my household, I am usually the Big Faker.
VACATILLUSION: The irresistible — and completely irrational — urge to immediately pick up and move to the town where one is spending his or her vacation. This feeling is fueled by the false belief that one could enjoy living permanently in that particular small town/ seaside resort/ tourist trap, when in reality, one would be miserable after a week when one realizes that one could never find a job in one’s field, or locate good Thai food or even a decent cup of coffee within 50 miles.
VOCABULAWARNESS: The feeling of ignorance and embarrassment that one typically feels upon learning either 1) a new word, or 2) the correct meaning of a known word, and suddenly seeing and hearing it EVERYWHERE. Each time one sees the new (or newly understood) word, it is a reminder of how much one really doesn’t know. And one wonders how she could have lived for 37 years on this earth without ever knowing the meaning of APHORISM, because now it seems to be everywhere around her as a reminder of her ignorance.
So, fellow Projectophilians, what do you suggest? Do you have any DIY words to add to the English language?
* To make room, we also suggest eliminating “webinar,” which experts agree is the worst word ever.
** Idea courtesy of M. Avery.