All dressed up and words to go

The first blog site of Erin McKean’s I stumbled upon was A Dress a Day.

Her blog highlighting vintage patterns transports me to my grandmother’s heavy black Singer sewing machine. She’d heave it out of the cavity of its cabinet. Then, she’d thread it, her hands moving like those of a symphony conductor’s through all the eyes and loops, until the thread pierced the needle’s eye. Then she’d lower the bar under the cabinet’s belly, place her right knee against it, and gently nudge the machine into action.



Who wouldn’t love this pattern? It’s a dress begging for a party.

Erin’s other passion is words. She’s also Chief Consulting Editor, American Dictionaries for Oxford University Press, and the editor of VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly.

She highlighted the following from a wordmaking session at a recent Foo Camp

burgle ‘a small, bothersome insect or bug’ [not related to burgle meaning ‘to steal’]
continuous partial attention ‘an attention strategy motivated by a desire not to miss anything.’ [This is kind of a cheat because Linda Stone, the coiner, knows I’m already watching this one!]

ecomaniacal ‘crazy about money’. [Coined by Scott Berkun, except that everyone in the session was *sure* it meant ‘crazy about the environment.’]

frieNDA ‘the practice of honoring the confidentiality of information provided by friends as if a non-disclosure agreement had been signed’. [Not sure who put up this one, but Gareth Branwyn helpfully pointed out that it had been in his WIRED Jargon Watch column of 8.11, submitted to him by Paul Boutin.]

guruing ‘going around’. [From George Arriola, who lifted it from Japanese. It seems to have a more iterative feel than English ‘going around’ — sort of ‘going around (and around, and around)’.]

Googlegänger ‘the other person who shows up in Google search results when people search for you’. [from Karl Fogel.]

goosh ‘an euphemistic expletive to be used around children’. [We can always use more of those, right?]

herniac attack ‘a panic attack that is centered in your abdomen, often exacerbated by caffeine and deadlines’. [On the model of ‘heart attack’; from Andrea Dunlap.]

jot (also, superjot) ‘joyously hot’, or as a verb ‘to take joy in one’s own hotness, and relish it’. [From Andrea Dunlap, and Arwen and Meara O’Reilly.]

ludevescant ‘evocative of a game; describing the feeling that someone is perhaps toying with you’. [From Latin ludus, ‘game’.]

malignation ‘the state of being maligned’.

mucknut [This is a word in search of a definition. Gareth Branwyn dreamed it one night. I don’t think it’s related to mukna ‘tuskless male elephant’. Unless that was also in Gareth’s dream.]

swassy ‘trying to look good while sweating profusely’. [Hard to do …]

teeping ‘feeling the newness of being in love; a new love’.

triggernometry ‘the mathematical calculation that leads heads of nations to start wars’.




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