The beauty of words

I’m borrowing this entry from Captain Slog’s World Wide Weird blog. It’s the Washington Post’s list of winners in its annual contest to provide wrong meanings for well-known words.

The following were some of this year’s winning entries:

Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.
Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your negligee.
Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavored mouthwash.
Flatulence (n.), the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.
Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.

As you can expect, I’ve saved what I think is the best for last:

Pokemon (n), A Jamaican proctologist.

The Purity of the English language

After having a semi-serious discussion on IRC with a melting pot of English degree students, English as second language Scandinavians and self-centered Americans on whether Instant Messaging systems like IRC and MSN Messenger are responsible for the deterioration of the English language, this blog entry on Chocolate and Vodka made me laugh.

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
– James D. Nicoll

“English is the result of Norman men-at-arms attempting to pick up Saxon barmaids and is no more legitimate than any of the other results.”
– H. Beam Piper

Update 04/01/05: I watched StarSpell, a celebrity spelling bee contest for charity on TV while preparing dinner last night, and it proved this on so many levels; Italian, German, French, Latin… at least 4-5 words per each round of ten were very heavily borrowed from another language. Ah well, it was still fun to watch!