By Erica Bray
Struggling to name something? Just make up a word for it. That’s what Lizzie Skurnick does.
A master of wordplay, the acclaimed writer is insanely skilled at crafting new language around puns, rhymes and double (or triple) meanings. She’s so good at it, in fact, she penned the popular column “That Should Be a Word” for The New York Times Magazine and recently compiled those gems into a book, also called “That Should Be a Word.”
A love of language, both real and made-up, has been a lifelong obsession for Skurnick. “I've always rhymed, semi-compulsively, since I was young,” she told NPR. “I remember in second grade, I used to hand in my book reports in metered verse because I couldn't help it.”
When it comes to naming things, we could all learn a little something from Skurnick’s clever, multi-layered approach. Her linguistic skills produce mash-ups that succinctly tell a story about our modern-day society in a tongue-and-cheek way. Oh, yeah, and she does it in a single word.
Yes, a single word. That, my friends, takes talent.
Below are a few selections from her book “That Should Be a Word.” Some of them may end up in the dictionary eventually. Hey, if ‘bootylicious’ can make it into the Oxford English Dictionary -- which it did in 2014 -- then there’s room for these.
Perhaps this wordplay will inspire your next business name brainstorm.
Chorespondence (chore-es-PAWN-dents), n. Mail you don’t want to deal with.
Sipster (SIPP-stir), n. One who expresses coolness through drinks.
Bagriculture (BAG-rih-kul-chur), n. The practice of saving shopping sacks to be environmental.
Hashtilities (has-TIL-uh-tees), n. Twitter fights.
Fwallow (FWAH-loh), v. Worry about who’s de-friended or unfollowed you.
Shalary (SHALL-ah-ree), n. Dangled raise.
Faternize (FAT-ern-eyes), v. Hang out with unhealthy eaters.
Dready (DRED-ee), adj. Always prepared for a disaster.