The neologistas


Ever since I arrived at fellow blogger Dave Bacon‘s house on Tuesday, the Pontiff and I have been tossing around ideas for a joint blog initiative. Finally we hit on something: since we’re both neologistas — people who enjoy spending their free time coining new words — we decided to compile a list of the neologisms we’d most like to see adopted by the general population. Without further ado:

shnood: (roughly) an imposter; a person oblivious to just how trivial or wrong his ideas are.

“Were there any interesting speakers at the conference?”
“No, just a bunch of shnoods.”

“The magazine New Scientist loves to feature shnoods on the cover.”

Note: someone who’s utterly contemptible would not be a shnood, but rather a schmuck.

iriterie: a list or compilation of people named Irit.

See the comments on the last post for an example of an iriterie.

extralusionary intelligence: intelligence in one domain that is misapplied in another.

“Bob’s a brilliant physicist — I bet he’s onto something with his condensed-matter approach to P versus NP.”
“No, he’s just suffering from extralusionary intelligence.”

circumpolitical: So far to one end of the political spectrum that one is actually on the other end.

“Professor Zimmerman mounted a circumpolitical defense of hereditary dictatorship, female genital mutilation, and the dragging of murdered homosexuals through the streets, arguing that we have no right to condemn these indigenous practices of non-Western peoples.”

philosonomicon: A philosophical prolegomenon.

Dave’s PhD thesis begins with a philosonomicon, as does mine.

high-hanging fruit: the opposite of low-hanging fruit.

“Do you ever think about the Nonabelian Hidden Subgroup Problem?”
“No, that’s high-hanging fruit. I like to watch other people jump for it.”

napotonin: any substance that makes you want to nap.

“Ohhhh … must’ve been a lot of napotonin in that calzone … can’t work … unnngghhhh”

nontrivia: the opposite of trivia.

“If you’re so smart, how come you’re no good at Trivial Pursuit?”
“Because I prefer to fill my brain with nontrivia.”

In an effort to speed up the adoption of these words by the Oxford English Dictionary, Dave and I hereby ask that every comment on this post correctly use at least one of them. Also, while you’re welcome to crack the obvious jokes (“Scott is a shnood,” “Dave suffers from extralusionary intelligence,” etc.), be aware that we’ve just preempted them.

19 Responses to “The neologistas”

  1. Cheshire Cat Says:

    Fun list, but one neologism too many -

    philosonomicon = napotonin

    And to compensate, I propose

    sillylogism : Any statement of the type “If pigs can whistle, then horses can fly”

  2. Anonymous Says:

    The bookshelf of a true nerd! But one might argue that the use of napotonin to make women follow (to bed?) is circumpolitically correct.

    -ff

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The first post to this thread arguably doesn’t really use any of the words, and while the second does, it does so only in a very contrived and even incorrect way.

    Thus, if this post were to contain no correct usage either, the spell would be broken. Says the ancient legend: if three posts in a row on the dawn of a new blog post do not mention the sacred words, they are forever cursed.

    Anyway, amusing post. Some of those words are actually semi-useful, at least in the strange subculture that is academia. I guess it’s back to the old Scott now, eh? I vaguely remember something about a decision to only post nontrivia relevant to your expertise a few weeks or so ago. Then I woke up.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I think a more appropriate term for an iriterie of Irits is an iridescence.

  5. wolfgang Says:

    I have a question. Do people going after the high-hanging fruit use a philosonomicon more often than others?
    I hope I am not a shnood for asking this …

  6. William Says:

    I’ve always thought that the opposite of trivia should be quadrivia. As in:

    “At first glance that assignment problem looked trivial”
    “No, you’ll find it’s actually highly quadrivial”

  7. Scott Says:

    I guess it’s back to the old Scott now, eh? I vaguely remember something about a decision to only post nontrivia relevant to your expertise a few weeks or so ago.

    Yes, and I kept that decision for two or three entire days (!), reaching for the high-hanging fruit of nontrivia that would also amuse readers with social lives. Having done so, it’s with a clear conscience that I return to napotonin and iriteries.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    …and while the second does, it does so only in a very contrived and even incorrect way.

    contrived: You got a point there.

    incorrect: You mean the content of the bookshelf is lacking substance? ;-)

    Anyway: Maybe this was just too high-hanging a fuit for a shnood like me…

    -ff

  9. Scott Says:

    I have a question. Do people going after the high-hanging fruit use a philosonomicon more often than others?

    I don’t know the answer to that, but if there’s an Israeli woman who does, you might be able to find her in an iriterie.

    I hope I am not a shnood for asking this …

    No, it takes much worse than that to achieve shnoodery.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson Says:

    Not commenting on the status of this blog, but probably as a result of recently ingesting a basic napotonin (a calzone, in fact), I want to state my proposal for blogs.

    alog: blog made by the a-team.
    clog: blog made by the b-team.

    Since clog is already a term, perhaps it’s technically a logism.

    logism: word definition that is not a neologism.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    So whats the average GRE score in Verbal of the people posting here?

  12. Anonymous Says:

    What’s up with Dave’s arm in the photo? It looks like he’s being attacked by a tattoo or something.

  13. Scott Says:

    Not sure — maybe something strange with the lighting?

  14. Dave Bacon Says:

    Ah, drats. My secret has been revealed! You see really I’m an android. You can’t tell this in person, where I seem all fleshy and well, not normal, but not metalic. BUT, if you take a picture of me, then you reveal my true androidial nature. Because, of course, digital cameras present reality as it really is (that’s why they call it reality! Really!)

    Enough blogasticating for this neologista for the day.

  15. Dr. Vector Says:

    One nontrivial pursuit is figuring out how to launch a meme. In Orson Scott Card’s Enderverse, it happens all the time, but the formula there is always just smart person + internet. Perhaps there is a cleverness threshold looming up there above me.

    Anyway, here are three for the road:

    gradstitutes: grad students who put out (in time, effort, favors, or the old-fashioned way) for their advisors

    franticize: what you do the night before finals, thesis defense, etc.

    neologasm: what we’re having here

  16. Anonymous Says:

    But does “gradstitute” really extend the meaning of “grad student” nontrivially? Discuss.

    In any case, the following are tautological:
    (1) Prostitution is unconstitutional.
    (2) If conscripted into a submarine crew,
    find a substitute.

  17. Lloyd Says:

    This post seems awfully nontrivial. Good work.

    -ld

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I believe that we can trace the etymological ancestor of “Shnood” to “Snood

    If I remember right, many hours of Snooding where done at the Computer room at Telluride House.

    And also, I propose “Shnoodu Ku” as any work that some shnood makes you do because he or she thinks it’s interesting

    Cheers,

    Luis Garcia,
    Former CBTA Computer Czar

  19. Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Mistake of the Week: “The Future Is In X” Says:

    [...] One of the surest signs of the shnood is the portentous repetition of the following two slogans: Biology will be the physics of the 21st century. [...]