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YA Sniglets

2013 June 18
by Joel Bruns
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Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass

In the 1980s HBO tried out a sketch comedy show based on a British news parody show. The show, Not Necessarily the News, featured a regular segment from a comedian named Rich Hall. Hall dealt satirically with a number of topics by creating new words to describe our modern lives. He dubbed these creations “sniglets.”

Rich Hall described sniglets as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should.” Often these sniglets were portmanteau words which have a long and celebrated history that is usually traced to Lewis Carroll but surely has deeper roots than that. Carroll, for example, used slithy which he defined as a combination of lithe and slimy. Modern popular culture loves portmanteau words and gives us lots of new fun versions like Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) or mankini/manssiere/manscaping, sexting, and frankenfood. The list goes on and on.

I thought that YA was due for its own collection of sniglets/portmanteau, so here is my contribution. I hope that you will follow up with some of your own.

  • Catastrafatigue: the feeling that one more catastrophe-riddled future world is more than you can stand
  • Seqhole: the empty feeling you get when you are waiting for the next book in a series to be released
  • Skimulate: pretending you’ve read a book when, in fact, you skimmed the back cover and maybe a few pages from each chapter. Also: bibliofake.
  • Errorist: person incapable of seeing anything but the weaknesses of every book they read
  • Lust Jacket: cover design that is so awesome you just can’t help but pick up the book. Antonym: bust jacket: a cover that makes you go “ewwww.”
  • Melodramamine: the feeling you get after gorging on drama-filled beach books
  • Supernaturillogical: when a writer endows a character in a book with special powers that are just ridiculous and/or unbelievable and/or just plain stupid
  • Dittopia: oh boy, another book set in a crumbling future America
  • Zombifad: right now
  • Afictionado: no, I don’t want to read your fan fiction of The Hunger Games from the point of view of Prim’s goat
  • Shock and Awwww: when you are dreading a book, read it anyway, and end up loving it

— Joel Bruns is currently reading Deadwood by Pete Dexter and Listening to The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

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6 Responses
  1. Sharon Rawlins permalink
    June 18, 2013

    Love it, Joel! You always have very creative posts. Wish I’d thought of some of these myself. I think I’ve just finished a few paranormal books that are definitely Supernaturillogical!

  2. Amanda permalink
    June 18, 2013

    This looks like an interesting post, but I can’t read half of it because of this floating like it/pin it/google + it on the side here. I would be much more inclined to share posts if this bar wasn’t following me down the page and blocking text. Could someone possibly consider modifying it so it can be exited out of or something? I love this site, but this feature has been driving me crazy lately! Thanks. :)

    • Peggy permalink
      June 20, 2013

      I agree – I almost gave up even trying to read this article. Very frustrating!

    • June 21, 2013

      Does the sidebar obscure the text? It shouldn’t be intruding on the white portion of the page — it should stay on the left in the yellow region, and even if the browser window is resized, it should just disappear rather than covering the text.

      What browser are you using? What’s your screen resolution? Would you be willing to send a screenshot to yalsahub@gmail.com? I’d like to fix this!

      • Pig Weasley permalink
        June 21, 2013

        It does it in Firefox, but not in IE 9.

  3. Elaine Fultz permalink
    June 19, 2013

    I remember sniglets and even had a book or two of them. Houndwinding was a family favorite (the spinning walk that dogs do before they settle into their napping spot). These YA literature sniglets are clever and so useful. Thanks for sharing your wit and wordsmithing, Joel!

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