Back in the ’80s, Rich Hall invented Sniglets: Words that should —but don’t— appear in the dictionary. Such as:
ACCORDIONATED (ah kor’ de on ay tid)
adj. Being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time.
CARPERPETUATION (kar’ pur pet u a shun)
n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.
ELBONICS (el bon’ iks)
n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater. (or on an airplane!)
PUPKUS (pup’ kus)
n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.
TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay’ shun)
n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you’re only six inches away.
Now Danny Danziger and Mark McCrum have written The Thingummy — providing the actual dictionary-based words for the things you always think need a word to describe them. For example:
AGLET: the little plastic or metal tube at the end of your shoelace. Its purpose is to stop the thread of the lace from unravelling, as well as making it easier to feed through the shoe’s eyelets.
BORBORYGMUS (pronounced bor-buh-rig-mus): the name for the rumbling sounds made by the stomach. These are caused by the movement of fluids and gases, as food, acids and digestive juices migrate from the stomach into the upper part of the small intestine. The average body makes two gallons of digestive juices a day.
GLUTEAL CREASE: the place where the lower buttocks meet the upper leg. If those buttocks are particularly comely, they might be described by the adjective callipygian, a word which derives from the Greek for beautiful (kallos) and buttocks (pyge).
INTERROBANG: one of the most eloquent punctuation marks in the English language, combining a question mark, and a bang (printers’ parlance for the exclamation mark). EG: He’s going to appoint Hillary Clinton Secretary of State?!
PHILTRUM: the vertical indentation between the upper lip and nose.
PHLOEM BUNDLES (pronounced flo-em): the stringy bits between the skin and the edible part of a banana.
ULLAGE: the space in a wine bottle not occupied by wine.
It would be a perfect stocking stuffer, and the deteremined can order it from England. The more patient may wait for the US publication in May. In the meantime, there’s a whole universe of stocking-sized Sniglets (including Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe) easily available.