January 26, 2007


sniglet n. A made-up word for something without a name or concise description, based upon a pun or a clever combination of existing words. --Wickipedia.com

Musquirt is an example of a sniglet: it's that runny stuff that comes out of the mustard bottle before the mustard does.

The word is constructed by joining the clipped form of sniggle, meaning "a snicker," with the suffix -let (as in droplet or caplet).

[Sniglets] . . . are a popular subject of satire. Homer Simpson, a character on the animated series The Simpsons, suggests "Son of Sniglet" as a good book to name as a favorite and a life influence on a college application in the episode Homer Goes to College (he also suggests TV Guide and Katharine Hepburn's autobiography Me). Faux newspaper The Onion ran a fake story headlined "Man Won't Stop Coming Up With New Sniglets."---Wikipedia (jan. 26, 2007)

Sniglet is derived from an HBO show from the early 80s titled Not Necessarily the News. Sniglets was a segment on the show by Comedian Rich Hall.--John Ryan Byrd Dunbar, West Virginia Jun 17, 2005 in the Urban Dictionary.com.

Here are AlphaDictionary's Top 10 Sniglets of the 2006:
Crackberry—For those addicted to their Blackberry this word works nicely.
drainchild—Not all brainchildren work well so we need a word for a bright idea that drains resources without benefit.
boomerangst—The anxiety of the baby boomers about their future as well as that of the government in providing for them are both wrapped up in this word which also leaves the impression that it is a problem that has returned to bite us.
politicide— This word was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) this year so is it still a sniglet? We learned this year that bribe-taking and philandery have become forms of politicide.
politricks—This word, also added to the OED this year, is a good replacement for "political dirty tricks" of the Nixon years.
wingnut—We have left-wing nuts and right-wing nuts but what about extremists of both sides? Well, this word would work if we didn't already have extremist.
IMglish—We like this sniglet for the abbretiated language of instant messaging. IMing has already entered the language alongside IDing as an acronymic verb.
keypal—So what do you call a pen pal if you never use a pen to write him (or her)? Well, if you use a keyboard, this one will work.
moonbat—We really don't need another word for someone with bats in their belfry who bay at the moon but this one still has a nice ring about it.
truthiness—This is actually a legitimate word to the extent truthy, like filmy, syrupy, would mean "like the truth", it could mean "similarity to the truth". We don't need it for Colbert's meaning, "gut feeling", however, since George Orwell's bellyfeel from Nineteen Eighty-Four covers any semantic space gut feeling doesn't. We only include it because of its media popularity.

A competing term for sniglet is "liff," which is described in The Deeper Meaning of Liff: A Dictionary of Things There Aren't Any Words for Yet--But There Ought to Be by Douglas Adams, John Lloyd, first published in Britain in 1983, then in the USA in 1984.

After the early 1980s,"liff" has tended to stumble in popularity, while "sniglet" continues to skip along, whimsically cracking its jokes, with the help of the extensive exposure it has enjoyed on television.


No comments:

Post a Comment