I listen to The Brian Lehrer Show everyday on the New York NPR station, WNYC. Shoutcast = love. Anyway, today he had on Barbara Wallraff, contributing editor at The Atlantic Monthly and author of Word Fugitives: In Pursuit of Wanted Words.
From an Amazon review:
Despite the many thousands of dictionary words at our disposal, our language can be dismayingly inadequate. How many times have you searched for a word that means just what you want it to but failed to find anything suitable anywhere? Most of us, it turns out, lead lives rife with experiences, people, and things that have no names.
At least, they lacked names until now. Word Fugitives comes to the rescue, supplying hundreds of inspired words coined or redefined to meet everyday needs. For instance, wouldn’t it be handy to have a word for the momentary confusion people experience when they hear a cell phone ringing and wonder whether it’s theirs? (How about fauxcellarm, phonundrum, or pandephonium?)
Or what about a word for offspring who are adults? (Try unchildren or offsprung.) Or a word for the irrational fear when you’re throwing a party that no one will show up? (That might be guestlessness, empty-fest syndrome, or fete-alism.)
During the show they were inviting people to call in and reveal the words THEY used or “coined”. One man and his wife, for instance, define the men that spend too many hours at the mall shopping with a significent other as: meanderthals. HAR!
Anyway, this entire post leads up to my favorite new word which I plan to use often. And by often, I mean I plan to use it in context, in front of and hopefully TO one of my co-workers who spends more time on the phone than any hormonal teenage girl I’ve even known.
Yackass: A person who talks on the phone loudly and/or often. (Usually will refer to people on cell phones in public. But I think that the since I can now tell you what every member of her family is named, their favorite food, color, restaurant, article of clothing and sexual position (including that of her husband and boyfriend) the term applies to her too.)