The neologism contest that began last Monday has ended. The challenge, issued by my friend Stefan Hagemann, was to invent “a word that describes a particular kind of foolish shortcut, the kind that, often in a foreseeable way, fails to save time and may result in irritation or the feeling that one is absurd and a dimwit.” Stefan judged the seventeen entries. He writes:
I’m thrilled to announce a winner for the grand (epic, really), non-annual, neologism contest, but let me first thank Michael for generously providing a venue and for his encouraging words, without which the contest could not exist. You have a wonderful way, Michael, of helping me distinguish between that which is appropriately silly and that which is merely silly. I would of course like also to thank everyone who entered a word. Forgive the contest cliché, but I had a really tough time picking a winner, so smart and clever and laugh-out-loud funny were all of the entries. Few blogs, I suspect, have such a capable, playful, and witty audience, so to borrow a line from Tom Waits, “everyone’s a winner.”I’ll echo Stefan by saying thanks to everyone who took part in this endeavor. And congratulations to the winners. I look forward to seeing these neologisms make their way in the world, slowly, with hard work — no bypasstrophes, no shitcuts, no thwartsteps.
Now on to the fun stuff: I’d like to honorably mention Geo-B’s “thwartstep.” “Shitcut,” submitted by Anonymous and Sabrebutt, also deserves honorable mention (not only because the word made me laugh the hardest but mainly for that reason). And the winning entry, which blends pun with precision and so best captures the essence of a time saving effort gone horribly wrong is, envelope please, . . . Sean’s “bypasstrophe.” Sean, I found a copy of Leonard Louis Levinson’s Webster’s Unafraid Dictionary: 5000 Gag Definitions in my town’s best used-book store, and I’d like to send it to you. If you would like to e-mail me at first initial followed by last name [at] edgewood [dot] edu with a mailing address, I’d be glad to do so. Anonymous, Saberbutt, and Geo-B, I’d like to send you each something too, so please let me know where I can send it. Thanks once more to everyone who participated and to those like me who read along and marveled at so much imagination.
[Winners, please note that the first initial and last name in the disguised address belong to Stefan, not to me.]