The Teacher Who Invented Words

alex atkins bookshelf wordsBill Sherk taught history at a high school in Toronto, Canada in the 1960s. Ever since he was a young lad, however, Sherk was fascinated by the English language and etymology. He once read Webster’s Dictionary cover to cover (it took 3 years, 3 months, and 16 days). So, in 1974 he developed an extension course at York University to pursue that passion. The course was called Word Power and focused on helping students dramatically expand their vocabulary by studying Greek and Latin word roots, etymology, word lists, and wordplay. One of the Sherk’s favorite form of wordplay was neologisms, coining new words. Here are some of the neologisms or words that should exist coined by Sherk and his students over the years:

alphomeg: a person who has read the dictionary from cover to cover.

bioopsy: a botched or sloppy biopsy.

brunner: a single meal that takes the place of breakfast, lunch, and supper.

cabloop: to drive a taxi by a roundabout route to intrease the fare.

covivant: an unmarried person living on intimate terms with a partner; a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend.

cybrow: a person whose eyebrows have grown together.

dactylometry: measuring using width of hand or fingers.

doonic: the sound made by bouncing a balloon with a string tied to one’s finger.

duodemilingual: knowing two languages and only part of a third.

foulese: foul language

fuzztache: a moustache on a young man’s face before he begins to shave.

impactipediphobia: the fear of someone or something bumping into your already injured foot.

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