Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apples to Apples: the Jabberwocky Edition

by Gina Welborn

Last Christmas we got an expansion pack for our Apples to Apples game. Only things is our version was the junior one. Consequently, I was . . . oh, how do I say this . . . shocked, stunned, embarrassed by some of the words in the expansion pack. Yes, I censored.

After all my 11-yr-old son thinks "sexy" is a four-letter word.

Oh. Well, I guess it is.

One other thing about the expansion pack is the number of word combinations, ranging from things like "black and blue" to "Abbott and Costello" to "candy-apple red."

The amazing (and frustrating) thing about English is it's an ever-changing critter. I'm not the only one who's reached this conclusion.

"The English language, as the largest and most dynamic collection of words and phrases ever assembled, continues to expand, absorbing hundreds of words annually into its official and unofficial rolls, but not without a simultaneous yet imperceptible sacrifice of terms along the way." ~Jeffery Kacirk, THE WORD MUSEUM

My 13-yr-old daughter randomly told me about a line in one of the Narnia books where Lucy is described as "But as for Lucy, she was always gay and golden-haired . . . " Then she asked me when (and why did) the word change from meaning "happy" to "homosexual." Ummmm. Well, I don't know. I almost said "google it," the then thought better of it.

How many times have we heard abracadabra used around Halloween? Yet have you ever thought of saying "Did you see Jennifer Lopez's dress? It looked abracadabrant on her!"

abracadabrant :: marvelous or stunning

My son was going lick-for-leather today as he drove his moped to school this morning. Fortunately, he still wasn't breaking the speed limit.

lick-for-leather :: at full speed

Here's a picture of quadrigamist Earnest Hemingway. Take a guess of the meaning.

quadrigamist :: a man four times married

Skipper and Trent
The other day my agent Tamela Hancock Murry shared on Facebook how her husband, John, had discovered the new show "Hillbilly Handfishing" on Animal Planet. (Oh, John, how could you?!)  Don't know about you, but "Hillbilly Handfishing" sounds much better than "Guddle and Groping."

guddle :: to catch a trout by groping with the hands under stones or banks of a stream

SERIOUS QUESTION OF THE DAY :: What word would you like to see added back into everyday usage? What word are you highly looking forward for it to work its way out?

NON-SERIOUS QUESTION OF THE DAY :: Who works the ziff better?

Zach Galifianakis?

Or Ryan Reynolds?


GINA WELBORN worked in news radio scripting copy until she took up writing romances. She is a 2009 ACFW GENESIS historical romance finalist and a 2007 RWA GOLDEN HEART® inspirational finalist. As a member of RWA and ACFW, she’s an active contest judge and coordinator. This Oklahoma-raised girl now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, and a Sharpador Retriever who doesn’t retrieve much of anything. Her first novella, “Sugarplum Hearts,” part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS anthology, will be released by Barbour in February 2012.


  1. Fun post. I'm a linguist, not a grammarian, which means I'm more interested in how language grows and changes than with rules. Rules change as our culture changes. Now we're allowed to split infinitives, and I'm pretty sure the ending sentences with a preposition rule will go soon, if it hasn't already. Grammar rules merely reflect standard language. And although I think Oxford wields the final decision on these matters, I really don't think the intent is to be egalitarian. Merely efficient.

    Now I shall sit back and wait for someone to blast my opinion. LOL.

  2. So what's ziff? I looked it up on my mobile version of dictionary.com and ziff didn't exist. My first thought was that it was like bling for beards. But Ryan doesn't have any that I can see. Perhaps it's the beard itself? Or is it the complete look of hair and beard that makes the face? Either way, I'll pick Ryan. It looks like the other guy just woke up after eating in bed the night before.

    I like that words and grammar change for efficiency.

    I don't like that people put down older books and their authors because what is perceived now as correct wasn't back when it was first published.

    A couple years ago I coined a word that I still like and use. It was in answer to the question:
    Are you a reader or a writer?

    I'm a wreader.

    Anita Mae.

  3. I don't know what a ziff is, but the answer is nevertheless Ryan Reynolds. Always.

    Kid #2 asked me the gay question too, after reading it in Little House on the Prairie.

    I enjoy linguistics too, Dina. Fun college courses.

    And a fun post, Gina!

  4. Oooh, great post.

    Ryan, obviously.

    And, yes, I hate that "gay" is lost now for all practical purposes except in its most current usage.

    It makes me wonder what innocent words I might use in a book that may be obscene 15 or 20 years from now.

  5. Ryan Reynolds, by far. This is a cute post, Gina. I like your word, Anita. I'm a wreader, too.

    One word I really can't stand to read in a book (though I'm guilty of saying a lot) is got".

  6. I love new words. Ginormous is my current favorite. However, I DO wish people would use the words we already have correctly... today's peeve: lead or led for the past tense of "to lead."

    IMO, Ryan Reynolds wins whatever the contest was about, no matter what.

  7. I just ck'd in to see any followup on my comment and see it's not there.
    Well it was about RR. No surprise.

    I was thrilled to be able to use the word blaggard in my story. Of course it makes me laugh every time I read it so basically ruins the moment. Now it will do the same for you readers ...

    Typewriter is on it's way out and I'll miss it.

  8. That reminds me, and I know I mentioned this to at least one of my critique partners before, but the word buss instead of kiss annoys me for some reason and draws me out of a story.


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