Vocabulary is fun and fundamental

By Bob Huber

A few weeks ago the Washington Post published its annual Pulitzer Prize winning list of wacky word definitions. It was a slow news week.
But I enjoy lists like that. This particular file was sent my way by Maurice and Ethel Trimmer of Santa Fe, because as old friends they knew I would install it amongst the many dozen I have salted away.
So for your enjoyment today I present the Post’s list accompanied by some of my own word definitions. That way we hinterlanders won’t think the Washington Post is some kind of eastern telephone pole. Here they are:
(Tip: It’s best to pronounce the word out loud before reading the definitions.)
• Coffee (n): A person who is coughed upon.
• Flabbergasted (adj): Appalled over how much weight you gained at your birthday party.
• Abdicate (v): To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
• Esplanade (v): To attempt an explanation after four martinis.
• Negligent (Adj): You absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
• Lymph (v): To walk with a lisp.
• Gargoyle (n): An olive-flavored mouthwash.
• Flatulence (n): The emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
• Balderdash (n): A rapidly receding hairline.
• Rectitude (n): The easy-going demeanor assumed by a proctologist just before he examines you.
• Oyster (n): A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
• Pokemon (n): A Jamaican proctologist.
• Frisbeetarianism (n): The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and is stuck there forever.
• Melodrama (n): A drama aged in the wood.
• Memory (n): What a person forgoes when he owes you money.
• Greenhorn (n): A person who arrived a week after you.
• Carpetbagger (n): See above.
• Eavesdropper (n): A kind of bird.
• Economy (n): Going without something you want in case you should someday want something which you probably won’t like but simply must have.
• Dumpling (n): A bloated biscuit.
• Pathologist (n): A doctor who invents diseases other doctors cure.
• Men (n): What women marry.
• Reprieve (n): A miscarriage of mercy.
• Wife (n): A housekeeper who gets bed and boredom.
• Zipper (n): A mechanical fly.
• The End (n): A signal that a sequel is coming.
• Prayer (n): A little message usually sent at night to get a cheaper rate.
• Posthumous (n): A child born after the death of its parents.
• Begging (v): Declaring dependence.
• Positive (adj): Being wrong at the top of your voice.
• Politician (n): A goon with the wind.
• Permanent (n): A kink for a day.
• Novel (n): Like a girdle, a fictitious tale squeezing a stern reality.
• Movies (n): Where people talk behind your back.
• Murder (n): Retroactive birth control.
• Love (n): Temporary insanity curable by marriage.
• Intern (n): An apprentice plumber with a doctor’s license.
• Hollywood (n): An asylum run by inmates.
• Heredity (n): That which gets a boy his mother’s eyes and his father’s car.
• Zymurgy (n): The last word in Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary.

Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales. He can be contacted at 356-3674.