“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”
― Ernest Hemingway
A few years ago, while I was in Denver on a girls’ trip, I invented a new word. We had just settled into the hotel room when I announced “Let’s put on our night-liner and go out!”
And that was it. That was the birth of one of many slang terms that I’ve coined over the years. You see, I love words. I love using them in new and clever ways. Granted “night-liner” isn’t going to win any Pulitzer Prizes, and it’s not going to be listed in Webster’s any time soon, but it still holds up. As a matter of fact, as of Sunday, it even made it into a dictionary!
As many of you know, I have a “bucket list.” (Yes, I still hate the term “bucket list,” but it’s so well-accepted now, it probably is in Webster’s!) My list has lofty goals in it like “act with patience” and adventurous goals such as “hike a 14’er.” Others simply display the quirks in my personality. “Learn to wolf whistle” probably falls under that category, but so did this one: “Start a slang term.”
Several years ago, I was using my husband’s netbook to start a Facebook group page. I clicked on the F-icon and there it was—his Facebook profile. I leered at it, and I swear, it flirtatiously winked at me back. It was like a little lamb all alone in a meadow. I couldn’t help myself; I pounced. Tap, tap, tap, “post” and it was done.
“I love my wife so much; I just can’t decide where to take her so she can use her passport.” I had hacker-jacked his profile. He got plenty responses, a huge hint that resulted in a trip to Monaco a few months later, and… a term I continue to use and promote on Facebook.
Hacker-Jacker (noun) or hacker-jack (verb) seemed like the ideal way to describe someone who breaks into your virtual profile (hacker) and then steals your identity or status (jacked). I thought it was so perfect of a word, I sent it to Urbandictionary.com immediately. “This is it!” I said to myself while pressing the submission button, “I am finally going to start a new slang term!” I waited patiently for a response and one day in my email inbox, I saw it—the rejection notice.
Like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan before me, I did not give up at the first sign of failure. I resubmitted my suggestion plus a new one for “night-liner” last May. I didn’t hear anything and both forgot about it and assumed it was not accepted. Again.
Checking my email Sunday, I noticed the following message into my mailbox:
Thanks for your definition of Night-liner! Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com. It should appear on this page in the next few days: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Night-liner Urban Dictionary
I have to admit, while I was excited to see my idea posted on Urban Dictionary, I was disappointed my firstborn, “Hacker Jacker” had been rejected again. Just as this thought crossed my mind, “ding” sounded another message:
Thanks for your definition of Hacker Jacker!
Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com.
It should appear on this page in the next few days:
Now, I need to pull out my leather-bound journal and turn to “the list,” so I can date and check off another goal. Yep! I have not just one, but two (!) new terms listed in this collection of colloquialisms.
“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.”
― George Gordon Byron
ne·ol·o·gism noun \nē-ˈä-lə-ˌji-zəm\
–Merriam-Webster (the authority on definitions!)