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