Friday, March 23, 2007

A concise social dictionary

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that needed a protracted explanation and wished there was a simple word for it? Well, the answer is to be found in the Lingua Pranka post on The Daily Duck, where new, useful words are being developed to get you through those long-winded or awkward moments.

There is a very pretentious woman in my Scrabble circle, a real Hyacinth Bucket who is prone to unfortunate 'accidents' which she blames on her dog. We all know she doesn't have a dog, of course, but no-one has the courage to challenge her. Next time, though, I 'll be ready! I shall smile at her and say, 'It's just a case of fauxcaniolidation' and get away with it! I don't know why it is that a secret triumph can be more satisfying than a real put down.

The most awkward moment of my life happened a few years ago when I was going through some pretty serious cancer treatment. I answered the phone to hear someone sobbing uncontrollably at the other end, as I tried to calm the caller down and establish who it was, the sobs turned to hysterical weeping. I eventually realised it was my friend, Elspeth, who was my neighbour in the city where I used to live; my death had just been announced in the cathedral and she was calling to console my family. Mark Twain's 'Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated' didn't fit the situation nearly so well as Duck's new word 'premortizement'. I could have had special cards printed to send to all my old acquaintance, explaining the error. Instead, I just didn't send any Christmas cards for fear of traumatising them and so we've lost touch.

Have you any stories, funny, dramatic or embarrassing where there just hasn't been a word to describe it? I think the world is ready for a new dictionary of social situations.


  1. There should be a word for over-laughing in awkward social situations. I knew a woman who laughed uproariously at literally everything anyone said. This devalued laughter, so when someone said something genuinely funny it was spoilt.

  2. Or how about 'misteria' for misplaced hysteria?


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