Come and Word-Play, She Writes!
Written by
The Salonniere
September 2010
Written by
The Salonniere
September 2010
Over the years, I have had an extremely clever, utterly delightful list of words forwarded to me accompanied by a variety of subject lines -- sometimes it's the Washington Post Mensa Invitational, sometimes the Style Invitational, sometimes just "I never forward things like this, but I couldn't resist!" Have you seen it too? It's a list of words given alternate definitions, and it is indeed hilarious. Some choice bits: Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown. Lymph, v.. To walk with a lisp. ...and many more! (For the full list, and it's actual origins -- surprise surprise, Mensa was not involved -- follow this link to the Washington Post.) Every time I've read this list I've thought -- wouldn't it be fun to take a pass at doing this for words that would describe various stages/experiences/characteristics of writing and publishing? Wanna try? I am not very clever with wordplay, so I will keep my contribution to a single entry to our She Writes dictionary of repurposed words: Post-partum depression, n. The morose and self-loathing state brought on after giving birth to a blogpost that yields not one single comment. Ideas? Let's play! Can't wait to see what you come up with -- don't send me into post-partum depression, dammit!!!

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  • Just so you know, "Mensa Invitational" is a misnomer. But there is indeed a terrific weekly humor/wordplay contest in the Style (features) section of The Washington Post called The Style Invitational. Thanks for linking to that column from way back in 1998 -- but much better to see the current contest every week at A new contest is published every Saturday in the paper, and every Friday afternoon online at about 4 p.m. Eastern time.

    A few weeks ago we did another run of perhaps our most famous contest, to change a word by one letter to create a new one. Here are some of the top winners (results printed Aug. 28):

    Republicant: "Government can't solve your problems -- elect us so we can prove it." (Evan Hadley, Potomac, Md.)

    QuinceaƱerda: A teen's party with piƱatas, dungeons and dragons. (Christopher Lamora, Guatemala)

    Quickstand: The one-nighter that sinks a marriage. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

    Buick-tempered: Unexcitable. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

    Refiance: To replace your subprime boyfriend when your interest starts to vary. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

    Crapacity: The size of one's attic. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

    Rococoa: Haute chocolate. (Nick Curtis, Alexandria, Va.)

    See the rest of the winners and learn how to enter the current contest at Or you can become a fan of "Washington Post Style" on Facebook (go to ) and you'll get a link to the Invitational when it's posted. I hope you become a regular reader and maybe even a regular entrant.

    Best, The Empress of The Style Invitational

    The Washington Post

  • The Salonniere

    I am totally depressed, post-partum.

  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    I'm thinking...I'm thinking...But in the meantime:

    PRO-cras-tin-a-tion, n. The art of having professionally mastered it.