Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dungeonate and Snuggify

Greetings Grammophiles!

The spring semester starts next week here at Purdue, so I have one more week to fool around until the "real work" begins again. As you may have heard, the Midwest was blasted with a series of blizzards, which led to a moderate case of cabin fever for everyone involved. With lots of down time and feverish complexions, my brother and I took to one of our favorite pastimes, tossing around new words in an effort to decorate our otherwise uneventful lives.

My brother noted that two of his college friends live in a basement. Whenever these two wordsmiths aren't studying or attending class, which apparently is most of the time, they spend their time relaxing down in the depths. In short, they "dungeonate." This sounds like a close relative of "marinate," one of the favorite expressions among my old soccer club mates. What are you up to today? Nothing, just a little dungeonatin' and marinatin'.

Even though it is vacation, my scholarly interests have not completely vanished, so I googled dungeonate to see what I could find. Incidentally, "to google" is one of the more famous "new" additions to the English language, named Word of the Year in 1998 by the New Oxford English Dictionary. Dungeonate, however, seems relatively unused, though one gamer posted that he will "be able to dungeonate" over the weekend (i.e. hang out in dungeons). For now, only college kids from Iowa spend their time dungeonating in basements.

The same, however, cannot be said for my latest creation, "Snuggify." Like any other good American who didn't know what to get his relatives for Christmas, I picked out a leopard-print Snuggie® for my brother (let me know if the Snuggie® craze has taken over other parts of the world yet). But saying "sitting around wearing my Snuggie®" is way too cumbersome; there had to be a better way to describe this most cabin feverish of actions. So, "snuggify" was born (def: to sit around in a Snuggie®), and from my googling, it seems like many other Americans have come up with the same idea, such as blogger Cassandra Lotus in "Snuggify Your Life".

As for what the scholars say, the word "snuggify" even appears in a 1972 article on "Latin-English Hybrids" in The Classical Journal! The author, J. D. Sadler, claims that "Latin can appear in English in every possible form of hybridization." Sadler includes "snuggify" in a list with "happify" and "typsify" as examples of Latinate hybrids that have not gained widespread acceptance. If only Dr. Sadler could have foreseen the cultural impact of the Snuggie®!

So, I'd like to hear what new words have worked their way into your vocabulary over the holidays or any other time for that matter. I especially want to hear from our friends Down Under. Good luck in the New Year and all the best.

Brady Spangenberg


Andrea Duff said...

Hi Brady

Thank you for this charming post. I will put my mind to 'new words' but I have to say that in Australia, nobody would be seen dead in a Snuggie (R) (especially at the football, cricket or any other places where there might be thug-like elements).

In Oz, the Snuggie is the antithesis of Haute Couture.

Temperatures are sizzling to around 100 degrees this week, which might mean that a Snuggie is not nearly as attractive to us, as to those in the Northern Hemisphere.

Unisa blog team said...

Hi there
I have heard the word 'betterness' used instead of 'improvement'- does that count? For example you could ask:
'Is it increasing in betterness?'

Anyway I think the English language is great for its capacity to take on new words and incorporate new meanings. It could be one of the reasons it is such a powerful force in the world today.
Its 'betterness' is improving!

Andrea said...

From Laura - my 16-year-old daughter:

Texting (We all know what that is)

N00b (someone new to technology - can be spelled with 00's and/or oo's)

Bro' (A term to refer to a friend)


D'oh (I'm ashamed to say, I doubted my daughter until she pointed me to this article )

LOLed (SMS for 'laughed out loud' but now slipped into the lexica - as in 'I LOLed when I read the bit about Brady's gift to his brother-in-law'.)

Julia Miller said...

Hi everyone
I'm in Adelaide too (and lived in the UK before that) and have to admit I didn't know what a Snuggie was until I googled it.
For other new words, how about one that's just appeared in the new Macquarie Dictionary and originated in the UK - nomophobia? It refers to the fear of not being in mobile/cell phone contact. Since I've just moved house and had no Internet for a while,I suddenly identified with the nomophobes and have come up with another two words - "webless" and "netophobia". What other suggestions could people make here? Perhaps we could coin a new word!

Dr Susan Carter said...

Hi there,

A message from downunder: Your ‘marinate’ reminds me of my son’s energetic use of the word ‘dehabilitation’ as the opposite process to rehabilitation. This is a highly masculine adaptation.

Joseph H. Strain Ed D. said...

As the 89 year old volunteer Editor of Massachusetts Patriot, the quarterly newsletter of the Massachusetts Life Care Residents Association (, published at Concord, Massachusetts, I propose a new word for the English Language. However, it is equally appropriate for all languages. May it become a second "Shot heard 'round the world."

Through the marketing ploy of ”bundling,” Comcast pressures viewers to buy TV programs in higher tiers. For example, sports channels are in the third and highest tier, and one must buy all three tiers in order to view them. This practice prompted a retired corporation lawyer to say, “Bundling is the most reprehensible, dishonest marketing device I have ever encountered. In order to see the channels you do want, it forces you to buy channels you don’t want."

I propose that for all future time, the process of truncating our freedom of choice through "bundling" should be called "Comcastration."

Brady Spangenberg said...

Nomophobia, dehabilitate, and comcastration are all excellent additions to the list. Thanks for all of these!

Dr. Strain, I have personally felt the "Comcastration" and can definitely empathize. They almost took away my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes and the Orange Bowl by holding it hostage in a contract negotiation.

Anonymous said...

Snuggies are unknown in France, as far as I know.

Cassandra Lotus said...

Hey there!
Thanks for the footnote, I love it!!

Jeannine Wishart said...

For those of you who love weird and wonderful words, Richard Glover's "The Dag's Dictionary" is a great read (ABC Books). As you can probably guess by the title it is Australian, and contains such gems as 'eskyvate - to dig downwards in an esky in order to uncover the very last can of cold beer' and 'dresstitute - descriptive of a woman when she looks into her crowded wardrobe and realises she has nothing, absolutely nothing, to wear'. My absolute favourite though is 'poultrygeist - any scary man dressed up in a chicken suit'.
And Andrea - yes Snuggies are boganwear (new word! For our recent conditions, do you think anyone could invent 'coolies'?

Andrea Duff said...

Hi Jeannine

I loved your suggestions. The esky, is an oztraaaaaalian term akin to the New Zealand 'Chilly Bin' which might solve the problems related to our heatwave.

I personally love the term 'Bogan' and use it liberally with my children.

'Don't wipe your ice cream bowl out with your fingers, it's so BOGAN, Julia!' or 'Don't drop your 'h's' - it sounds so BOGAN'.

The use of the term makes me slightly ashamed, because it goes against my egalitarian principles.

Here is a wonderful site which I entreat you to spend a few minutes perusing. It will give you a rare insight into the football and mullet culture of the Aussie Bogan.

Is the term used by our friends in the US? Do you have an equivalent term?

Anonymous said...

I am an American living "down under." All those Aussies who said that Snuggies are boganwear... do you own a fleece blanket? That's all these things are - blankets with armholes. I actually know a number of people who like theirs. The Snuggies themselves are not bogan. It's how you buy them (TV infomercials). And it's not 100 degrees year-round. Winters with no central heating are actually pretty backward in my opinion.

Trevor said...

First time on your blog and I cannot tell if the 'mistakes' in Dungeonate and Snuggify are intended: 'cabin fever everyone involved' lacks a word. 'down time' is one word. 'past times' would be pastimes. 'non-eventful' is uneventful. That's why I bring it up. A few mistakes in the first paragraph seem like a planted quiz. Anyway, I like your blog and keep it up. Cheers. :)


Brady Spangenberg said...

Thanks for the proofread Trevor. That's the beauty of blogs. Mistakes are never permanent!