The good folks who produce The Merriam-Webster Dictionary recently announced the addition of 640 new words to the newest edition. Words like “go-cup” (a beverage cup to take out of the restaurant), “bioabsorbable” (a substance that can be absorbed by living tissue), and “on-brand” (consistent with a particular public image or identity).
Some of the additions, such as “screen time” (to refer to time spent in front of a device with a screen) are overdue. Others, such as “qubit” (a “unit of information in a computational model based on the unstable qualities of quantum mechanics, a blend of quantum and bit”), seem, well, less useful than others (especially for Bible readers who recognize the term’s similarity to “cubit,” the word used to describe lengths in building Noah’s ark, for example.
But other terms that I would like to see added were strangely overlooked—words that apply to the writing-and-publishing life, which have far more utility than “qubit,” for crying out loud. Here are only a few examples:
- Adjectheavy: the adjective that describes a manuscript in which adjectives are overused.
- Crash landing page: a poorly-executed website landing page for an author or book.
- Contagiarism: trying to write in the style of a favorite, much-read author whose voice just kinda resonates in your head.
- Deep purple prose: writing that goes so far beyond ornate, or flowery, language as to turn a piece of writing into so much smoke on the water.
- POVV: “point of view variance.” It’s what happens when the author forgets which character’s head he or she is in.
- Pratform: falling on your face while attempting to build your platform.
- Poofreading: the practice in proofreading of reading what you meant to write, not what you actually wrote.
- Shudder-send: the moment of panic immediately after sending an email that you thought was perfect but which you realized, in the split second before the email disappears from view, contained an embarrassing and obvious mistake.
- Slushee pile: a stack of used Slushee cups and chocolate candy wrappers accumulated by a writer on deadline.
- Transgenre: a piece of writing that crosses lines into several genres. Example: Amish steampunk romantic suspense novel.
These are just a few helpful words for the next Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary: Writer’s Edition. I’m sure the faithful readers of this blog will have suggestions of their own to make. What words and definitions would you add?
Judice (judiced, adj.). An assessment based on experience and reflection rather than ignorant prejudice.
Perhaps not so directly applicable to publishing (“my judiced opinion, having read your manuscript in its entirety, is that shredding and recycling these pages would be the best course for you to pursue”), but we need this word.
I’m sure I’m juiced, Maco, but I approve this message.
Thank you for the smile today. Much appreciated.
I loved the Amish steampunk romantic suspense novel, especially trying to picture it in my mind. LOL
My mind went straight to the “Amish Vampires In Space”. Has anyone ready it, and did the author do good (so to speak). 🙂
I laughed out lout at ‘deep purple prose’ – took me back to the day of blasting Smoke on the Water on my parents car radio. Plus the word Transgenre captures my new book (which correlates scientific dietary research with biblical Christian principles). Is it a diet book or a devotional? It’s both 🙂 Thanks!
When my thoughts don’t ring true
and the words become a bear,
I will down a pint or two,
going into Foster’s care.
When I’m not in beery bliss,
which, as I write, is rarely,
I’ll oft produce an amalgamess,
big accreted words to scare thee.
And sometimes I get very tired
of sitting on a diligent perch,
and solely be Wikipedia-inspired
to a writing sin that’s called reslurch.
But for writing confections, here’s the worst:
killing off a lead is called Starburst.
Thank you, Andrew. I always look for your responses. It’s how I gauge your day. Praying today is a better one.
Judith, thank you so much! Your prayers are truly appreciated.
Brings a smile, Andrew. Thanks for making happy moments.
Lorraine, thank YOU for brightening my day with this kind affirmation!
Damon J. Gray
I need to learn to NOT read your blog postings while at work. Too often I am unable to stifle the laugh. It is out of my mouth before I can catch it.
Bob, I love your sense of humor. These are almost to true to be funny. But they are funny. Thank you for the morning giggle.
Thank you for starting out my day just right. With a smile and a chuckle. Now to figure out where to use a few new words in my vocabulary today.
What a great list. Slushee pile is my favorite.
It reminds me of wanderodentatrip: the act of wandering away from your laptop in search of anything sweet (cookies, tub of frosting, hot chocolate with the whole bag of marshmallows etc.). This can sometimes lead to protagsweetooth: the affliction a main character suffers at the hands of a writer experiencing the wanderodentatrip who brings the experience into the story, expecting and forcing the character to stuff her face too. It’s truly a vicious cycle. 🙂
Colleen K Snyder
Love this one… my characters can relate as well!!
Thanks, Colleen! My characters are relieved to know they’re not alone. 🙂
Sometimes mine turns into a wondertotarget trip, after which I often suffer from a procrastintation disorder and it takes a while to get back to writing.
Oooh the wondertotarget trip sounds serious, Rhonda! 🙂 And I too suffer from the procrastination disorder in the form of frenziedclutterclean: the mad dash to pick up before anyone sees I’ve clearly not been keeping up. It’s so much easier to tackle dust bunnies than to weave subplots.
Ann L Coker
I’m disappointed: This month I purchased the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and qubit is not included. I thought, after getting rid of my 9th edition, that I had the latest and greatest. But cubit is still included.
Laughter is good medicine. Thanks for the RX. It’s helping me recover from a spell of poofreading and shuddersend.
I would add Crummytopia. A Twilight Zone for that vast array of published pablum currently flooding the markets. Even at the quantum level, these books reek (and on this Max Planck is also constant.)
I mean the kind of bunkum thrown together in 8 weeks, never proofed, consistent only due to grammatical errors, but eminently suitable to illustrate “Cliches I’ve Known” and “Mugged by Dialogue.”
For agents and publishers, Crummytopia rivals Dante’s Inferno during their fevered nightmares. Abandon rules, all ye who write here…
Bob (and all), great post.
Always a riot to read your comments i.e. juiced hahaha.
I surely fall into the categories, transgenre, pratform, shudder-send, and crashlanding page. Since my technolackability stretches so far and wide, I have done this more than once. Or twice. Facepalm. I remember one crashland email to an editor a million years ago, which deleted half my message and I don’t know what key I touched. I wrote a follow-up and said, oh, dear… She was good-hearted with a sense of humor and asked me for the first 50 pages. Another one, I meant to send to my grammar nazi since she gives me content truth as well, and ended up somehow sending to Steve’s email. Holy senior email, Batman. I fired off another one saying ‘Delete! Delete!’
Not at all embarrassing.
Technolackability. That and Crummytopia get my support.
Don’t forget ‘genreosity.’ The agent who reads your MS even though it’s in the wrong genre…
Denise S. Armstrong
This was so cool that I was unable to come up with a quip of my own to appropriately commend it, other than ‘so cool’. It provided some good laughter first thing this morning, though some of my laughter was nervous laughter due to such examples as ‘Pratforming’ and ‘crash landing page’. Do you have a service that checks for such infractions for novices?
Sent from Denise’s iPhone
I loved this more than words can say. I am so thankful that I have found this tribe of people who make sense to me.
Reading this made me laugh and feel so at home.
Rhonda de la Moriniere
Love this! Finally we get to actually see these new words that have been floating for some time…
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D
Bob, I believe your poofread needs to have synonyms such as “proveread,” “provereed,” and …oh. rats, I can’t remember the other one.
don’t forget, hiring a comprehensive editor is called (in my head) a plotbunnyfixer.
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Pretty much all screen capture plugins can take screenshots of a whole page. I am using Nimbus but they can pretty much all do it. With Nimbus, you can select between capturing the whole page, only the visible part, or a selected area … then you can edit it if you need (crop it, blur some parts, add arrows to point something, add texts, circle things, etc…). I really recommend it instead of the one you talked about in the article.