Tuesday, 5 May 2015

toponym or stocklinch ottersay

Thirty years ago, Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams collaborated with linguist and comedian John Lloyd to fill some glaring lexical gaps with their dictionary The Meaning of Liff (produced concurrently with Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life but more than welcomed by the troupe)—liff being defined as a common object or experience for which no word yet exists.

One of my favourite and immediately relevant examples is that of plymouthing—etymology not needed, which is the pang of realisation that one is relating an amusing anecdote back to the source one got it from originally. I think that describes pretty well much of the truck that passes on the internet. A lot of the words are derived from place-names but many are purely inspired. Pulverbatch, for instance, refers to the self-deprecating, humble-brag list of menial, mindless jobs a celebrity held before being discovered, and the stocklinch ottersay above is from the second-edition of spare liffs and refers to the amazement one experiences on encountering a completely new and unknown word twice in one day.  What words would you come up with?