Second Cousins and Redheaded Stepmothers

Okay, I’m not redheaded. I’m an enhanced blond. But “enhanced blond” didn’t have the same rhythm to it.

I’m thinking about words today. More precisely, the right words. One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes is, “Use the right word, not its second cousin.”

I love expanding my vocabulary, but I totally suck at crossword puzzles and have a hard time remembering exactly what it was that caused me to walk into the kitchen and open the pantry door. New words slip out of memory like a greased weasel if I don’t use them repeatedly to an annoying level.

I think that’s why I love made-up words so much. Here are a few:

Franzenfreude:  frustration with literary critics’ apparent preference for works by white male authors, such as Jonathan Franzen.

Sheening: to behave like Charlie Sheen.

Caranoid: Paranoid, but correct.

Gargonzola: the cheese that is simply too hard to carve and too ugly to eat.

Lately I’ve been thinking to myself, in regards to certain situations, there ought to be a word for that! If I’ve learned anything  during my short time blogging, it is that there are some fantastically witty people lurking about. I’d love to see your take on words for any of the following definitions:

  1. The drips of condensation from apartment window air conditioning units that land on you as you walk on the city sidewalks under them.
  2. The act of scalding someone in the shower because you flushed the toilet.
  3. The attempt of a child to answer a question without moving his lips, in erroneous belief that if his lips don’t move, he won’t get in trouble, no matter what he says.
  4. The lure of the silent late night hours that keep you up way past when you should be sleeping, simply because no one is bothering you.

If you don’t have a word for one of these, tell me, what’s your favorite made-up word?