Nouns: The Last Frontier

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March 29, 2012 by bradcharlesbeals

We’re running out of frontiers for carrying out our dominion mandate, but I think I’ve found one—the world of nouns. Not the concrete kind. Those have it easy. They get named as soon as they’re sighted. But the abstract kind, situations, particularly—they’re the shadowy corners of the word world.

Here’s a few that I’ve taken the liberty of naming. I’m not sure that I’m really the first to do it, but I don’t see any flags planted on these, so I feel ok about it. They’re in dictionary format to make them seem, you know, real. And there’s an example for each because I’m, you know, an English teacher…

1. sermat (sir maht) n.: the sudden, sometimes awkward silence that can arise during group discussions. (Note: there is a belief that sermats occur most often at 20 minutes to and after the hour; this is a stupid belief.) From the Latin sermo meaning to talk and the Greek stamato meaning to stop or pause. Ex: A lively discussion on God’s sovereignty flowed on into the early hours, interrupted only by the pizza-delivery guy and the occasional sermat.

2. floscus (flah skus) n.: the explosive effect that can occur as one takes the very last bites of a closed, sandwich-type food item. From the latin fluo, meaning flow, and esca meaning food. Ex: You’re getting near the end of that burrito, Lewis, and that’s a clean shirt—watch out for the floscus!

3. incurputation (in ker pyu tay shun) n.: an encounter in which two people, approaching from opposite directions, attempt to pass by one another; but in the attempt to make room, each chooses the same side, thereby running into the other. This is often followed by a series of similar side-to-side moves as each participant tries to get past the other. Incurputations are often terminated by one or both parties smiling or laughing awkwardly and saying something like, “shall we dance?” Variations include two or more cars starting and stopping simultaneously at a stop sign, a European kiss to the check where the parties bump noses, and introductions between people from the West and Far East in which the opposites can’t figure out whether to bow or shake hands and so attempt to do both, alternately, clumsily, ineffectively. From the latin incurse meaning to collide and the Greek perpate meaning to step or walk. She had determined to make an elegant entrance into the restaurant, but a blushing incurputation with a waiter spoiled the effect.

There. Flags are planted. Time to go look for more land.

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