Word Play

“Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.” Mark Twain (Notebook, 1935)

Not too long ago, CW told me about a contest the Washington Post ran for its readers in which they were asked to come up with playful definitions for common words.Over the long holiday weekend, I thought you would enjoy sharing some of the Post’s winning entries with your family and friends — and coming up with your own “redefinitions.”

1.  abdicate (v.): to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach

2. asterisk (v.): to inquire about danger

3. balderdash (n.): a rapidly receding hairline

4. circumvent (n.): the opening in the front of boxer shorts

5. coffee (n.): a person who is coughed upon

6. esplanade (v.): to attempt an explanation while drunk

7. flabbergasted (adj.): appalled over how much weight you have gained

8. flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller

9. lymph (v.): to walk with a lisp

10. negligent (adj.): describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie

11. oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions

12. rectitude (n.): the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you

13. semantics (n.): pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood, including such things as gluing the pages of the priest’s prayer book together just before vespers

14. testicle (n.): a humorous question on an exam

15. willy-nilly (adj.): impotent

[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]