Friday, February 8, 2008

Mobile Savages and Their River Plate Tectonics (a Dictionary of Verbs in English and a Glossary as Guide to Our Hang)

(The Manifesto)

"Connecticut" means "Long Tidal River" in Mohegan (not Mohican nor Mohawk, they are different tribes) and it is one phenomenally understated coincidence that it's also two connected antonyms in English: “connect” and “cut“. Listen to children, they know things. The river is where two ancient land masses collided forming part of Pangaea. When the long tidal river known as the Gulf Stream took Europe back home, it left with it a chunk of England we've been calling "New England" long before we knew England left us before we left it. It also deposited Noah Webster, the Father of American English, on the Eastern side of this Connecticut River. New York State knew what was up. Right after the Revolution it mobilized troops against other fledgling States to move its border up to this same Eastern side of the River thereby keeping Old England at its proper geographical New England border; the Feds stepped in and bungled the whole thing up though and Connecticut was allowed to remain connected and cut. Jorge Luis Borges grew up in a neighborhood called Palermo in Argentina, not Sicily. His grandmother was English and his mother came from across the Rio de la Plata in Uruguay. Rio de la Plata, like most famous rivers, is in fact not a river at all, but a tidal estuary. Rio de la Plata also has an older name most people think is a younger name. It was not named because it sits at the center of the South American Plate; the name is older than that info. Sir Francis Drake was the first to call it "The River Plate" after the pirate word for silver and gold booty, "plate." Though it's true the word "plate" came from the Spanish "plata" for silver, "Rio de la Plata" is in fact a translation of "River Plate" into Spanish --not a translation back into Spanish, a translation into Spanish; the Spanish word formed the root of an English name that was then translated into Spanish (and unsurprisingly, “booty” is also an anglicized slang, from the French “butin“ for “plunder“). This river deposits 57 million cubic meters of silt into the Atlantic each year which are then ushered by the Falkland Island Current deep into the Atlantic to Africa, back across to the Caribbean, and up and around via the Gulf Stream. When Africa slammed into Europe it left Italy behind, created the Alps to protect the marooned Africans from invading hyperborean hordes, and deposited me along the River Po sifting for clues. One could make a strong argument that I should have deposited myself in Crete or along the Indus if I really wanted to get down to the bottom of it, but since the nature of these mobile savages is that they move I thought getting close might yield better results than getting exact. In other words, I’d rather encounter them out on the vibrant and windy streets than in their shaded and dusty homes.

Welcome to the Vox Super Voltus’ ever growing collection of geophilological faulterings. In our process of learning languages, new biproduct or runoff languages fall out of the fissures in between. Over-sensitivity might have us thinking up names for these new languages, but as we all truly know (in this era at least) they already have a name: English. And as English is in constant mutation wherein new languages are constantly falling out of its own fissures, we need names for those languages too. Their names: English, for now.

Fight it all you want, but one way or another "this" language needs a name and seeing as all names are limiting I currently vote for the name with the widest breathe: English. As Christopher Damien Leo I will never have a chance to be Michael Steven Henderson or Mary Elizabeth Schumaker. I am limited to being simply Christopher Damien Leo. When a band is eager to tell you what genre of music they play I will be eager to tell you without listening, "they suck." So it is in fact this increasing lack of connection I feel the language I speak having with the language one speaks in the country of England that strengthens my support for calling my language "English" as well. I long for the day when saying "my language is called English" sounds as absurd and magical as if I were to say "my language is called Swahili." The word English belongs to the English like the icon of the New York City skyline belongs to me and the rest of my fellow Newyorkers -- It doesn't. They are both public domain. As Simon Winchester courageously unveiled (or to some, sacrilegiously snitched) in his novel, The Professor and the Madman, some of the most prolific contributors to the bible we call the Oxford English Dictionary were murderers, auto-castrators, and lunatics, both incarcerated and on the run. From top to the bottom, English remains savage and free. And if it can be called a murderer, then it can also be called a suicider and a phoenix.

Furthermore, when the English one speaks in America becomes something entirely different from the English one speaks in England which will become something entirely different from the English spoken elsewhere as a lingua franca and the blood of the Germanic Angles from hence we draw the word is diluted down to but a negligible part of the potion, these languages will rename themselves, organically. When the Greeks formed a new city in a perfect port on the southwestern coast of Italy they named it "Neapolis" -- New City. As the city moved further and further away from new it moved closer and closer to "Napoli" and eventually like the city on the southwestern coast of Florida, we have cities like "Naples" which I believe will one day be called "Apples" seeing as they grow oranges in Florida and, like I said, things have a way of naming themselves their opposite to stay free. Think about how the Andalusians named the erotic dance done by brown people "flamenco" after the people they deemed to be at their polar opposite, the Flemish. Or how the Jamaicans named their cocktail with fiery ginger root the "Moscow Mule." Or, getting back to the states and plates, "Nevada" means "land of snow" in Spanish and "Arizona" means "good oaks" in Basque though there are no oaks, snow, or Basques in those parts (there may have been Basques, but if that's the case this weirdness truly knows no bounds). When the Conquistadors finally made it back home they called shellfish "mariscos" after the Maricopa Indians of those same North American deserts because the Maricopas lived nowhere near the sea (maybe). "Orso" (bear in Latin) becoming "horse" is even more than a maybe (though the "everything-as-animal" metaphor generally begins by liberating and ends by eating it's own tail. To paraphrase a Reis Van Von Der Donk parable, when young Dancing Rock asked Chief Cunning Fox if he could name his wolf cub after him, Mother Angry Clouds rolled in but refused to rain). So whether English speaking Newyorkers will ever go the way of Spanglish speaking Nuyoricans is unpredictable. For all history has taught us, it could just as likely become us as the sole speakers of English left in this world, even if the only English thing remaining about the language we speak is its name, English.

So I hope it's clear what separates the Vox Super Voltus from any other urban dictionary then. First, "urban" doesn't fit us. Maternity wards for words don't exist on boulevards and avenues alone; roads, trails, cul de sacs, and interstates birth words of equal grandeur as well (notably, I learned "wigneck" at a gas station about 20 miles inland from Tampa. To get to "wigneck" one must first contract "white" + "nigger" to "wigger", and then further contract "wigger" + "redneck" -- and yes, these breeds exist in Florida sticks). In fact, "Savage" things initially came from the Late Latin woods, the silvaticus, not the streets at all; the streets may have been vulgar, but not necessarily savage. Secondly, urban dictionaries are petitions of new words either vying for validity or already so common conservatives are levying for their extraction. The Vox Super Voltus coasts above that war. If a word is said, it is. There are a few rare moments in this collection where you will hear us arguing against the existence of certain words, please read between the lines, this is just us having fun with polemics. All words are. So the purpose of the VSV is not just to document some existent words we like, but also to present words in a manner that strengthens our polyamorous philology of letting them all in.

Let them in, it's time -- both epochally and since I'm assuming you, reader, have passed most of your self identity milestones and are now deep into the deconstruction process. Linguists place two major age markers on learning new languages, before 5 and after 12. Before 5 is the golden period, the neurons are ripe and still ripped wide open. They say after 12 means you may never lose that accent (even Einstein couldn’t rout his), the neurons are settling into their ways. However, when I look at these age markers and think about my own experience learning languages (including the ever ongoing one with my mother tongue English) something else leaps out; 5 and 12 are two of the most important periods in creating one's self image. At 5 most children begin normal schooling and are hence blasted with the question "who am I" in relation to my peers. In creating our own identities we naturally build off the most salient things: sex, size, and what comes out of our mouths. If we kept skipping between languages it could threaten our new desperately congealing form. We are the sound we give off -- which brings us up to 12: puberty. By now you MUST know who you are and sound is even more important; tweens break into cliques according to which genre of music they listen to. Skipping between languages at this stage is downright ridiculable amongst those brutal peers. If the multi-lingual ball wasn't up and rolling before 12, you enter your freshman 101 language course refusing to morph with the new words and syntaxes; whether it's active or passive, this is one perilous time to be porous and amorphic. This is the real reason 4 years of high school language courses generally go in one ear and out the other; the teen is firming his identity up, not loosening it.

But all is not lost, my friends! If you have half a soul, all this shape building flying in the face of things not adding up (for me it was the “Save the Dolphins” but kill the tuna campaign hitting me on the same day I found out Regis Philbin and Seal were tennis buddies when it...) eventually turns in on itself and you look for any way to humpty-dumpty yourself off of that wall and laugh at all the king’s horses’ and all the king’s men’s scrambling to reconstruct your identity. Now, assuming you are at least out of high school reader, the dismantling of your identity becomes the ride; the nonsense has finally permeated permanent holes and your job best be to work with it or suffer your own antiquation. This is all to say there is a third great time to skip amongst the languages.

That time is NOW. Dismantle yourself. Dismantle your language. Immolate and party.

Don’t worry about whether this is a moment for “which” or “that” unless you like worrying about whether this is a moment for “which” or “that” (like I do). Spend some time pondering the legality of using words like “data” and “stamina” to represent the singular only if you accept that the use of the proper “datum” and “staminum“ for singular are justifiable conversation killers to 98% of the population (and be wary that the other 2%, of which I am part of, will want to bone your brains out). Shrink away from using the more forceful and acute yet unaccepted “for all intensive purposes” while opting instead for the redundant but accepted “for all intents and purposes” only if you’re not in the mood to rock any boats. But as to whether any of the aforementioned word choices could obscure or mar the point you’re trying to communicate: doubtful. In fact, sing the praise of redundancy if you need to! The word alone is fantastic; the “unda” comes from the Latin for “wave”. Re-wave that shit if you need to! Who said the goal is to always be precise? Who said the goal is to always be economic with your words? Maybe you wanna stretch it out but you don’t wanna say anything new. Maybe you are highly attuned to rhythm and beauty and your sentence needed a few extra sounds and syllables but no new ideas. Take these two examples: “Last night I got destroyed” vs. “Last night I got com-ple-te-ly destroyed”. To be destroyed is already something complete; completely destroyed is redundant, but man I’m telling you, last night I was com-ple-te-ly destroyed, got it? People are fickle with their personal longstanding issues and often need to be brow beaten and massaged with redundancy. Sometimes you need to slow the boulder down. Yeah, heed the grim lessons of my dense and slim editions, dear readers! Don’t be me! I write my books streamlined and small so you can take them with you and engage with the world while you’re engaging with words. When someone doesn’t get what I’m getting at I tell them ,“read it again”. Don’t do that! Be redundant and egoistic and keep us reading your words for longer than we should need to if it’s success you seek.

Wait, let’s slow down. Let me take my own advice, which in this case means qualifying and dampening my last bit of advice. One of the most incredible and counter-intuitive characteristics of the English language is that it is one of the least wordy, least redundant languages. Speakers of English of course always have the option of speaking redundantly, but the language itself comes sleek. Entertain me with a bit of folk science, take any book initially written in English and place it next to a translation of that same book, a translation into any language, and the version in English is nearly always shorter than the other version. It takes other languages more words to say the same thing English can in less. How can this be? How can a lawless and savage language like English be more economically efficient than refined, guided, and carefully monitored languages of the Old World? The answer is simple: the more rules one creates the more ways around the rules one creates. English, having fewer strict rules than its siblings, need not waste words a) making sure its way from x to y is legal and b) when it finds out the path it needs to take from x to y is in fact illegal, wasting more words taking the ‘round about route. Let’s take an extreme example: when the Lenape chief says, “before white man we had no words for ’trash’ or ’mine’ in any branch of Algonquin” you should say “sucks for you because it must have taken you pages to get the same point across we drive home in a single word”.

Ok, now I may be abusing my own advice, but I need to further qualify it and in doing so we need to revisit the “wave” in redundancy again. As English continues to expand there will come a time when we need to reel it in. Though clarity may not always be the goal, clarity must always be the option. There can be no joy or merit in playing with ambiguity if ambiguity is the rule. Language is first and foremost about communication. As English continues to bloat and blanket and one speaker of English will no longer understand another speaker of English, an umbrella “standard” English will have to be formed in order for the different subsets beneath to be continue understanding each other while maintaining their own dialects. In fact, the official bodies that monitor and guide other languages have come about for this very reason: if there were no “French language” there would be no chance in hell mother tongue francophonic speakers from the Congo, Marseille, and Paris could understand each other. To put it in more concrete terms for mother tongue English speakers, there are just barely enough rules currently in place in English for someone from Kansas and Scotland, for all intensive purposes, to understand each other, but that relationship is slipping fast. So though the fastidious talk of English purists arguing and whining for constraints (and what’s weirder, taking it personally) may sound like the preacher with his flock in the bunker preparing for Armageddon, we all know the preacher is ultimately right: Armageddon will come, just not tomorrow. When it does come, for all we know about those “waves”, it may very well be an ancient language like French bubbling up and bursting out of its self-imposed and once needed constraints.

Finally, as out of vogue fashions were once valid, all noise exists in the same state of flux. Letters this century sound different than they did the previous century. As time bends it bends sounds as well and Beethoven’s symphonies sounded different to him than they do to us now. Naturally this affects meanings of words from one decade to the next in subtle but crucial ways. Words need the flexibility to change in perpetuitum so their sounds can appropriately reflect the articles they currently highlight. As a suffix, the "Eng" of "English" therefore comes close enough to the "ing" of a gerund to reflect this motion: Amereng and Spañeng in particular sound like nouns in movement to me, Enging sounds like a super fast echo, and Slangeng sounds redundant. This is to say that verbs are not the only things conjugated, all words are conjugated by time. Or better, this is to say that all words are verbs ("oozing" may be a slow verb, but "chair" is an even slower verb). So let it not be forgotten that our tradiction itself is flux and therefore this collection, and all other collections that may call themselves "dictionaries", should be taken only as diaries.

You say, “Fantastic, Chris, we get your point, but why devote an entire book to words that are dubious at best?” The answer is because I am a patriot of the savage and free language, whatever that language may be, and in order for words themselves to remain free the forms they’re presented in must also remain soft and malleable. Language has afforded us so many forms by which to express ourselves: novels, poems, prose, articles, op-eds, essays, lyrics, facts, fictions, satires, et al -- but they are all still forms. I have no desire to eliminate the form, but I do think we need to keep them in check. We need to not only constantly revisit the simple question of “why this form”, but we also need to occasionally arbitrarily break it and taunt it to keep nimble. This brings us to the dictionary: what form is more defined than a definition? We have arrived at our target.

Now, with even more enthusiasm than I had when I began this introduction, I assert that this is an English collection until it tells me otherwise. And it will.

Chris Leo


The Accidental Lutheran attempts a belief in everything but Faith. He believes in faucets, cues at the Post, the banality of discussing banality, indulgent habits, just hanging out, and barely fictive prose. In his belief/disbelief in all things he must eventually face the avoided question: does Faith get lumped in with the lot or does it remain separate? If he lumps it in he's forced to then admit it exists as a Lutheran does. If he keeps it separate, thereby designating it officially the only thing that does not exist (though technically anything that's debated must exist or what is it the debate is based on afterall?), he makes it as much a leap of Faith as all religion is and he's found Faith just as a Lutheran has.

-- Chris Leo

An accurator is one who arranges his truths artfully.

-- Chris Leo, Laura Marchetti

Adjucation is the unfortunate verb forced into fighting the stalemated battle of corralling Bourgeois away from their beloved adjectives and closer towards actual nouns. “Adjective” (think “trajective”) comes from the Latin adicere (“to throw near”) and comes from the palazzo not the piazza. An adjective is like something, but never is something. Amidst every culture from every era there is the peculiar pathology of princes believing that words of the previous century are superior and solely authentic to the current slang from the streets, despite all recurring historical evidence otherwise. This results in an upper class using more adjectives and a lower class using more nouns (since aging nouns ferment into airy adjectives). A noun, after all, is simply something that does something so consistently it becomes safe to give a name to the motion: a couch couches, a woman womans, a rock rocks. Once it becomes safe to name these actions, we think it then safe to use them as points of reference. The problem is, by the time they become referable they're also already at least partially (if undetectably) antiquated. A couch is now only couchlike, a woman womanate, a rock rockish, and even the adjectives supporting those nouns fall short-ish. To the cultural elite, everything must be “like” something because the only things the culturati experience nonvicariously are similes and betrayal. Holding themselves captive in their own castles comes with a price ascetics could argue (if we could only get those guys to argue!) outweighs their profits pulled in. To these elite, the men of the last century who created the nouns-cum-adjectives they prefer, having merely met these men through books, are only “like men” – making them as adjectivelike and therefore as vacuously valid as the words they prefer! An attempt to adjucate using modern examples is useless because the “well fine, but what is it like?” is often non cross-referenceable. “Not a problem,” the adjucation thinks, “I’ll just dip into my store of stories from any yesteryear they prefer to prove being here with us now is simply more here period”. But no, this winds up nowhere too. One would think the endless examples of Latin adjectives referring to Vulgate nouns (the “bovine” belly from the meal of “mucca” made by the maddened contadino who moved to NYC and became a “mook”) or ruling Norman English adjectives referring to English countryside nouns (like the sheep removed from the pasture that became mutton and the deer removed from the woods that became venison) would settle things, but it’s hopeless. If you try to adjucate that two of the most semi-fictive famous fornicators in English literature had semi-fictive names that reflected their fornication -- Lance-a-lot and Shakespeare ("wielder of spears") -- they spear their own eyes into your soul like a fundamentalist does into those of the deeply pitied. Nope, Adjucation always loses. Why? Why would a verb created to straighten out and tighten up other words fail at its rightful mission? -- Because the attitudes he advocates for are neither straight nor tight. It's looser with the fam than with the Man. Adjucation therefore operates more in accordance with the manners of his adversaries, while the real epigeals oggle the ass moving of the agile adjectives. Confused? We are too. River Plates itself, often caught between a noun and an adjective, may be in need of some aducation. For example, there's currently a moratorium in these offices on the "internet is not a street" debate because we just can't reach an agreement on which one is the noun and which one is the adjective.

“Actual” comes from the Latin "actualis" for “active.” Something that is actual is active. To "stare" in English means to fix your eyes upon something, but "stare" in Latin only meant to remain somewhere temporarily. Nouns are verbs nouns are verbs nouns are verbs, but there are those who believe and those who do not.

the adjunct of an adjective to education = when I dip you -- let go, when you twist -- I’ll stay fixed

-- Chris Leo

Adormable crushes with their foreman’s pudge and quart of ice cream built triceps might not be the best looking, but on cuteness alone they reap all the railing beautiful people work so hard for. Yes, a savage destruction of undergarments, bite marks, and blended sweat may not be in the cards for their romps, but after heavy cuddling matures to heavy petting they get in nonetheless – and no one ever calls them an asshole for it.

adorable + dormire (“to sleep” in Italian) = devouring cute

Altero is the combination of two synonyms to add a suplorious emphastress. In English, “extrawesomeness” and “malevilent” are two examples of alteros at either extreme. The most romantic altero though is bisogno, “a need” in formal Italian. When a sogno is a “dream” and bi is “two” what we literally have is the addition of two synonymous dreams therefore equaling desperately one need.

Altero itself is an altero and an eponym. Altero Giambpieretti opened two pizzerias in Bologna in 1953 and to this day has Italians considering him an inventor of the “quadrini”, which simply means he started cutting pizza in squares rather than triangles. His pizza is as quick as a franchise and as tasty as a mamma and papa. Altero is the combination of altro “other” + estero “other”, which is to say that his pizza is atmostratispheric. His logo reads “pizzAltero” which is yet another altero, for when both pizza and the Altero name already mean fantasmical, we are left feeling that bisogno.

-- Chris Leo

An Appology is sorry as sword, submissions through submissions, "you are lowly because I made you" type southpaws.

-- Chris Leo

The ascetic aesthetic is known in Italian as punkabestia ("punk with beast") because they wear dreadlocks and rottweilers like ladies on Madison Ave wear perms and poodles. They may read manifestos but when they protest they manifesta. Why/how? Because again the Italians nailed it. Their word for "weekdays" is "feriali" from the same root as "festival". However, their word for "weekend" is not therefore "fine feriali", party over -- it was "fine settimana", simply "end of the week", but it's now the very English sounding "weekend". They have infested the week thereby ensuring no weak ends, oh and that's to say that "sure" and "shore" also share the same root and the Italians have yet again nailed it.

-- Chris Leo

Aspirition is a phantom word that appears between other words. This word is not written with spy’s ink or encoded subliminally anywhere on the page. It is one’s own mental imposition into the blank space between words. Sometimes complete stories form between just two words, sometimes entire books only inspire one continuous nagging and haunting aspirition. Fascinatingly, quality of story has little or nothing to do with quality of aspiritions; an incredible story can be ghosted with trite aspiritions, whereas fluffy romances are often filled with enough visionary material to captivate the bar all night long without pricking a single suspicion that you’d bought your current book at a newspaper stand.

aspirate + apparition = a word between words that carries the word spirit between itself

-- Chris Leo

ATD, or fully Alex Trebek Dilemma, is the confusion of whether to say a foreign word correctly or to say it as those around you are saying it. Alex Trebek, Canadian host of the tv game show Jeopardy, has spawned many an American dinner debate over his non-Anglofication of foreign words. The curious linguistic pride that plagues all nations fosters a feeling in the gut that proper pronunciation is pretentious at best and possibly even downright traitorous, communist, Viet Congoese, or French. When Laura’s coworkers in Bologna ask her if she’ll join them for “branch” on Saturday she slyly avoids the ATD of whether to roll with the “branch” or be the only one saying “brunch” by offering River Plate’s “la prena” (see the "Italian Brunch" entry) discovery.

-- Chris Leo

Autorageous. I'm the kind of guy that. Because I'm like that, that's how I am. They know, when it comes to me it's a whole 'nother thing. I'm just like that, I can't stop. That's what I'm known for. If I was to cut back I wouldn't be me. They know, when it comes to me there aint no knowing.

-- Chris Leo

Azmuthologists are guided by stars. The problem is, not just one star, but every star. This makes guidance guaranteed, but concentration impossible. Some believe the name is derived from “azimuths”, from the Arabic as-sumt, which measure the distance from us to the stars. Other's claim it comes from Ozmythologists because their ways are just too peculiar. Others yet believe it’s a reference to the way these advanced ADHDed learn languages: they buy a foreign dictionary and begin with gusto at the beginning reading to the end of the ‘A’ entries, they then skip to the back for the ‘Z’ entries thinking they could work their way in reverse to keep things interesting, when they soon start to tire and feel like a balance is needed they shift to the ‘M’s, bore, and then move on to the next language leaving the rest of the book unleafed. When confronting a non-English speaking azmuthologist “Aye! Andiamo alle movies manana? Maybe zip around a metro meeting aphrodities and mayhem? Make a manifestation aveq an adhoc zoo at the marquee maggiore?” would work, and they’d respond with “Mostly!” Azmuthologists, so say the stars, make mean matches mit abecedinarians. .

-- Chris Leo


Basick is the idea that vox populi herd under a mass delusion of madness. Their affairs are more insane; when their theories and art do break from form they shatter minds; their religion is science-fictional; and their day-to-day life is more thrilling and bizarre than any novella the eccentric whittles away at in his progressive solitude. Extracting the lunacy may take some wading in the boredom of assumed conversational protocol, but when it comes it comes and it comes like this “y’know it’s like blah blah and this and that and that’s how it is” and it never sounded so clear, correct, economic, and demented.

-- Chris Leo

Beasting. Dilated alveoli relish in a hyenic cackle approaching histrionics and in turn drawing more air from same said hyenic histrionics the heavy panting in and out of every corpuscle like a chest-pounding ape exploding in bloom from a Bikram yoga stretch would as the first tinges of benz tickle but will never take my blood as I bite back and resurface in a roar that rids ever baobab beneath Kilimanjaro of their nesting flocks with a sack of Plath’s pathetic mushrooms of the sea faking the filter filter filtering in uniform on unipods like the aesthetically sterile masses of Shinjuku rushing home for hymen discharge drenched bukkaka hentai as the real unsifted (harbored?) aggravant festers in nacre for what? To rot away on the 67th floor of the 85th prefecture in the 6,782nd year of wasted seppuku and hidden pearls? Hell no, pried, displayed, and gallowed around my chick’s neck, and the rest of you? Filter your filter through mine savoring the curious pain of the irritant as it bloats my urethra back up to your strewn insecurities around my chicks neck and I pant and I pant and I pant until the beasting passes.

-- Chris Leo

Beatch, “bitch” (pronounced as they do in Europe, beetch) + “beach”, is a mirage personified.

-- Chris Leo

Binorario is the real reason Italian trains do not arrive on time. Think about where they're arriving from. When a conductor has to travel from sea to sea through mountains and snow in the middle, clocks get confused. When the villages and cities passed on said voyages have not only existed since before they birthed words like “village” and "city” themselves, but when these same villages are often stuck in any number of varying epochs, vortexes form while minutes nostalgically pause to watch where they’ve rested before. “Binario” is the Italian word for “train track” and something that’s “in orario” is on time, but scholars doubt this etymology of the word. Some think it comes from “bi” + “orario” for “a splitting of time” or “two times”. Others believe that notion is too Italian, that this word could have only come from outside eyes looking in. Italians aren’t bothered by, nor do they even notice, binorario because this splitting of time is something they all carry inside them. “Bin”, an English word for “trash can”, + “orario” is what these foreign eyes feel Italians have done to time. Italy was after all one of the last Mediterranean civilizations to adopt the clock, even while its empire was light years ahead in other realms. In fact, the word “train” even has us waiting for something. From the Latin “tragere” for “pull” it has us in front of it tugging, not behind it pushing and then running to catch up.

-- Chris Leo

Blazerds are burning patches of cheek scorched by freezing winds from blizzards. Freezers or il coldo (mixture of English "cold" and Italian "caldo" for "hot") are cold sweats brought on by fevers.

-- Chris Leo

Blind Update. How wonderful, I met Vanessa for dinner on the recommendation of mutual friends who pitied us both. Over the course of the meal I was freshed up on Noah the ex-boyfriend; Stephanie the nephew; Monica the boss; the glorious but tedious resume from Rainbows and Sunbeams daycare through Barnard undergrad through the internship at Cohen & Cohen and straight up until Monica again; the mother who worries; the brother the loveable fuck-up; and of course, Melanie the incautious best friend. I told her my eyes were red and glassy due to sulfite allergies from the wine. Turns out Jesse too gets allergies from wine! Not from Zinfandel or Petit Syrah though, only Cabernet and one other one. I put her in a cab and let my allergies turn into the tears they really wanted to be as soon as I checked my crotch to see what was happening and found the cowering turtle tucked agoraphobically deep into his shell. We’ll be home soon, we’ll be home soon pal. Once I could no longer make out which cab was hers I waved down Sixth Avenue to all of them. Ciao Vanessas, thanks for the update!

-- Chris Leo

Brutaful. Something which lacks the looks, but possesses the charm. Serge Gainsbourg was brutoful. Lil' Kim is brutaful. Though this word is essentially as low brow as the idea it expresses, it's an important inclusion to River Plates because it's part of the rare grouping of words that reflect the gender of their subjects from the middle. Beautron and beautrix are its official antonyms, but well reasoned fear that the aseptic staleness of these words is in fact another type of pathogen limits their use in popular speech.

-- Chris Leo

Buona serrate is a diss restricted strictly to Roman districts we should all start using. “Buona serata” means “have a good night” in Italian and “serrate” means “having notched edges like a saw to separate better”. Both words come from the same Proto-Indo-European root, ser “to cut”. The idea being that the night cuts the days apart from each other. “Saw” also comes from the same source. To “fare/tirare una sega” in Italian means to jerk off, literally to “make the saw”. Therefore, “buona serrate” is a way of saying “go fuck yourself” that leaves the dissed asking "wait, did he just say..?" if you wanted to leave something lingering to fester later. There’s a future temporary friendship happening here. In colloquial Newyorkese, “up in this cut” means “something happening tonight” but anything more than an intuitive link River Plates finds doubtful.

nacht, notte, night = nitch, notch, niche = cuts cuts cuts

-- Chris Leo


Cadwalk. "Catwalk" may have been a word New York exported to the world, but it was also good intuition for Laura to assume that we failed to import the sound of the ancient T in the middle. Generally, Newyorkese beats the spine out of that letter. It breaks it down to a soft d {think about what happened to the "sat" from "satisfaction": when it got everything it wanted (from the Latin satis, "enough, sufficient") it fell flat and became "sad". In both sound and history, sad quite literally sat}. So when one destroyed Sunday morning she said, "Chris, I'm just not ready yet to face that cadwalk on Smith street" one has to understand my response of "Really? You think the men in this neighborhood have better fashion sense than the women?" Once I finally got her out of the house it was time for my hair of the dog. I tried every rationale I could think of to get her to agree. When my reasoning failed I even suggested I'd be able to find more suitable reasons once I got that first nip in me. "You really are some sort of cadfly, aren't you mon amour?" To which again, I did not find correctable. In fact, by now I was in the swing of this and (after that nip) I returned fire with, "So now I'm finally ready to go back home and show you that cadget of mine."
"Y'know, the one I got from Old Norse? The one that once meant "nail, spike?"

cad + catwalk = cadwalk

-- Chris Leo

Cattivated by her scheming ways I couldn’t peel myself away though her tricks were transparent and her deceit embarrassingly blatant. It’s amazing these women think men can’t recognize the face of evil when it wrings its wicked ways. How much more upsetting is it though that we succumb to them none the less, if even for fleeting moments? “Meet me for coffee in Gramercy now, you’re buying” was all the message read and all it took to have me peddling as fast as I could to get there before some other douche assumed my empty throne. “Why does your friend Matt only like ugly girls?” was how the conversation began and yet I sat there still through the wearisome and expensive tea she sipped while divining the means by which she'd off her competition according to the settling of the leaves at the bottom of the mug. You’d think such a cunning beast would be less careless than to leak the information so early on that there wasn’t even any tail in this for me, but not only did I sit there still, I covered the bill.

cattiva (“bad” in Italian) + “captivate” = the numbing venom of diabolism

-- Chris Leo

Cenalty is a penalty incurred from the breaching of table etiquette. Conveniently coincidental, "cena" in Italian means "dinner" while "cena" in Old Slavic means "honor". Phonetically the same, "chain" in English reflects the aversion many people feel towards the shackled trappings of table culture. When the pancha's parked beneath the plate it's human nature to create a counter balance to the ingestions with repulsions (often irate) heading in reverse out the same pipe. Uns is what happened to nos when it crossed the Alps. Before it did, the Romans called the table "mensa", which doubled as the high and mighty "alter top". But alas, when Cesar crossed the Rubicon the temples kept toppling. Soon "mensa" was replaced with "table" (a word that comes from Umbria, below the Rubicon) and the cenobile will forever remain pondering the implications of our (uns, nos) unstable table.

When a table is full with food it is "la tavola" in Italian, when it's empty it's "il tavolo". "Kenos" is Greek for "empty" and therefore the worst cenalty imaginable is one table clearing cenolty. Another word that came from "Kenos" is our English "cage" which brings this whole discussion full circle: when the customs that once made a culture so strong become rules rather than choices we find ourselves confined by refinement.

-- Chris Leo

Cereblown. One celestial (Ceres, dwarf planet), goddess given (Ceres, Roman goddess of growth and motherly love) mind-blowing (cerebellum, which comes pre-reciped for the explosion: "cere", from Proto Indo European "ker" forms the root of nearly every word we use + "bellum" as the Latin word for "war" that naturally results when one adds together nearly every word we use). A cerebro as an infinitely inspiring best friend. Conversations with cerebros begin with "No way bro!" and end with "No way bro!"

-- Chris Leo

Chezy comes from French colonial Ponticherry and was the once ailing sibling of British India's "cheezy", having both been birthed from the Urdo chiz for "a thing", until it's recent revival. By the time "chiz" made it back to England it meant "a big thing" and therefore "showy", from whence we get the modern meaning of "cheezy". Remnants of transitory ideas can still be found in the idiom "the big cheese" (a self-inflated V.I.P.) and the name "Tyrone" ("big cheese" in Greek). One would think though that the French "chez", which already denotes something usually large, should have taken root before the British version of the Urdu word (think about how the German word for cheese, "kase", already sounds like the Latin word for house "casa" that eventually became "chez" in France), but it was the concept in general the French had difficulty with. Chezy lingered in limbo for a hundred years, kept alive by only the occasional chimerical humorist, until the commodifiction of Ernesto "Che" Guevara cleared a parting in the woods. Through four continents and four languages, operating clandestinely as the guerilla Guevara himself, chezy finally found its coup. "Yeah it's true that dreadlocks on white people go hand in hand with chezy red manifestations on dormitory walls, but I'm expecting Johan's misplaced enthusiasm to mature into the gung-ho ability to make millions after graduation. If only I can wait these drum circles out I'm sure I'll strike gold."

Che + queso = que cheso! Fauxmage ("fake cheese")will be the French equivalent when the concept congeals.

-- Chris Leo

Chibby has relatives in every language, yet it's still a concept women have difficulty grasping. In Spain, morbosa is the twisted desire for something supinely and slatternly supple. Gordita is its Colombian relative. Porcine, "poor" + "cino" (Italian for "Chinese"), is a Newyorkese reappropriation of "swinelike" to describe Asian breasts raised on American carbs and steroid injected meats. Una peligrasa, is a dangerously (peligroso) fat (grasa) Dominicana the average Jack Sprat might think twice before hitting. La coltoletta In Italian, "knife" (coltello) + "cutlet" (cotoletta) is chibby's coincidental calque. La fettunta (a "greasy piece" in Tuscan)is closest to gordita. In Scottish a "chib" is a filthy little oft homemade knife and "chubby" is generally the form of the body below the sharp tongue that begins its jabbings after several stouts when you just came in peace, hence "I don't know what it is about that chibby thing hugging the bar, she seems to hate me but I just can't get enough." If the bloating falls on the side of the aggressor instead or as well, it is very likely that someone got chibbed last night.

"chib" (a knife) + "chubby" = the possessive lusting to become a male praying mantis

-- Chris Leo

Clusterphobia. Dan, Mary, Matt, yes. Susan, Sheila, Kevin, Matt, yes too. Susan, Dan, Kevin, Rachel, Mark, Franklin, Ok. Dan, Mary, Matt, Susan, Kevin, Rachel, Mark, Sheila, Franklin, Nicola, no way. One can't taste the fontina through the cinque formaggio. Fitzgerald, the king of the party believed 12 was the magic number. "Cugnamento" is a Marchigiano term for large social groups inability to squeeze through a door, and hence the party lingers awkwardly in the doorway for several hours until dissipation in defeat, night dead.

-- Chris Leo, Marcellus Hall

A complament is both a diss and compliment dished at once, a compliment con lamentations. “You really are some guinea aren’t you? Will I ever see you without some of mamma’s sauce or some other stained right next to that dirty swatch of grease you can’t seem to get out of that guinea-t from that old Fiat you're always fixin' on that big fat gunt of yours? What? you eatin' while you're fixin' you guinea you?" also means “you lead the good life that close to the ground.” Related to but different from the German compliment that hits as bluntly as only children and retards are supposed to, “Your last band was very good. A bit trendy and not quite excellent, but very very good. You’re new band, not so much.”

-- Chris Leo

When a claim of coñosseur accidentally slips dentally from its safeguarding mentally, it autophages itself into an abetting that abeds only the loser da solo into the star position; good thing the pizza stained consolation humiliations remain till morning to remind you of hubris’ ever overarching. Keep that shit tight, holmes. All your cred curdles if you let it tumble out. A well placed faux fumble though? That’s another thing entirely. Tell your Latina in English you’re a coñosseur of all the finer things, blush when she blushes, follow it with a "what?", and we just might be talking.

“connoisseur” comes from the Latin “cognoscere”, “to know”, but the only thing certain about the Spanish “el coño”, “pussy”, is that no one knows nothin’ about it and those that do, like our coñosseur, aren't talking. In my story “Gran Raccordo Annulare, You Spin Me Right ‘Round” in “Feathers Like Leather” I suggest it was an Aragon import following the conquest of Southern Italy. "l'icona" is "icon" in proper Italian, but in Sicilian it's "la cona"; somewhere inbetween the two (with a little help from metathesis and then the further telephone game transfer from Catalan to Castilian) is it such a leap to imagine "il cona" becoming "el coño"? The Pussy as The Icon. However, "il cogno" is a Latin measurement for oil, making "how much oil can your thing take? Shall I lend you my dip stick?" another fantastic candidate. But then the Spanish have also been known to squeeze Latin words short (i.e. "settimana" to "semana") making the argument that "el coño" comes from "il cognato" (now meaning "brother-in-law", it stemmed originally from the Latin “cum nato”, "from birth", think “cognate” -- making the pussy the place we come from) yet another valid possibility – but don’t bother with this mess unless you’re looking for the recipe to getting lost or sleeping alone. “Hysterikos” was a fervent attack of the womb in ancient Greek and “hysterical” has since come to mean something similar, but inbetween there and here the Latin “hystericus” was so much more accepting. Being simply a state of the womb, it carried no tone. This is 101evident to the coñosseur who lets it slide, casually wombing with the wombly.

-- Chris Leo

Consolidate. Counselor led me astray, the council concocted reasons to debate the ish for days, there are 300 channels on my cable console but not a drop to drink, and certainly there's no solace to be found in the way the constable thinks, lots of things to keep me busy but with very little sense: a palm tree, a beach, a cocktail and a peach, condense.

con + sole + date = bring it back in, set a date with the sun

-- Chris Leo

Creatative is an idea for those who envision creation and imitation solely as valves for novelty with different shaped nozzles; the former guzzles while the latter’s a muzzle, but they both give it shape. I invite those who don't see things this way to imitate an imitator or translate a book back into its original language and report back on the end result. Creations survey novelty in macro while the approximations of imitations de facto disclose novelty on the micro; in between, the creatative piece strikes a harmonious balance. The Beatles “Rubber Soul” is a creatative masterpiece. For the gamut of understandable reasons, when black American musicians of the 60’s criticized white musicians as plagiarists they’d call them “plastic soul”. When after five albums the Beatles began (openly) venturing away from these alleged synthetic roots, it was apt brilliance to name that initial album “Rubber Soul”. And ever consistent with creatativeness, “Rubber Soul” may be one of the greatest selling albums of all time, but it never had a number one hit. Poser is creatative's Mercian relative. Like poseur pronounced sans accent, a poser poses a question in his approach at imitation: is this or is this not something new?

creatative = only material goods are actually thievable

-- Chris Leo


Debellish. When I collapsed next to her sparkling languid frame I called upon Shelley and Coleridge and Ovid and Virgil and O’hara and Miller and Penthouse Forum and every French film I saw growing up to get something back to you and…and…every line I composed simply debellished the beauty at hand. Nope, this one was for me and me alone, my friends. My words could do it no justice. No, no mortal soul could relay that info back without the transfer suffering brutally from flawed debellishments. However, when word finally leaked to Veronica and I was subjected to answer that question amidst the assault, “Was it fun!? Well I hope you at least had fun, you scumbag!” how blessed I was to have debellishments and all the lackings that come with them on my side, “No, no, please, Jeez, it really wasn’t. I hated every minute of it.”

-- Chris Leo

Desceltic or (di)celcian words are proud and free. They refuse all constraints of icons, phonetics, and borders, yet one way or another their point is always clear. Like shadows that move with stealth from one object to the next, Herodotus believed they came from caves. Like galleys, galleasses, gales, and the bile from the gall, they are both fluid like wind and calloused by toughened skin. When they are runes on rocks in Cork they are Keltic. When they are drunks and goons in Boston they are Seltic. When they are Milanese secessionists who draw their lineage ultimately from Czech they are Cheltic. When they were Keltoi in Greece they used another alphabet entirely. The Mandarin name for China is even Wade-Giles, like Wales-Gael. Like Smurfs they smurf smurfingly. They may conspire ("with spirits")at one moment, then turn and conspire ("against the steeple")the next, returning "Eiffel" to "I fell" and abscond on schooners like scoundrel pirates. And speaking of Pirates, Christopher Colombus' boat the Santa Maria was originally named the Gallega yet no one called it that. The Vulgate Bible misprinted certe ("certain, forever") as celte and it stuck. They knew. Though they are of one blood, they are from Gaul, Gall, Gael, Galatia, Gaia, Galicia, and Portugal and once spoke some form of Gaelic or Goidelic. When they gallivant in Paris they smoke Gauloise. The sound galno itself once meant “strong” in all of these hamlets, yet the word gall also meant "stranger" in all the same households -- yes, all those words are related. If it can be agreed that words mutate fastest on streets and ports, then it’s also worth noting that the Spanish word for “street”, calle, comes from Callaeci, the ancient Celts of the port that became Porto. These stubborn words have gall.

Diselltious often comes from the Italian “scegliere” which means “to decide” which when then translated back to Latin means “cut off” which when then translated back to English any wise soul should interpret as “stay out of it, this word remains savage, protean, and ubiquitous”.

"Goccia" is Italian for a "drop" and may have come from "Galicia" or the Portuguese Indian colony in Goa or both. In Galicia a drop is a "morriña" which is also their word for "saudade", the longing for something distant and unattainable. It's roots are said to lie in the missed feeling sailors experienced after returning home during the age of the great Portuguese discoveries. Not officially all out tears, but a few melancholic drops. These dicelcian words even move away from themselves.

-- Chris Leo

Dethrowned reigns leisurely at both the peak and valley of the bell curve, yet it can never be dethroned. In Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diaries a young reporter takes a job in San Juan to write an editorial on why so many Puerto Ricans leave the tropics for NYC. Puerto Ricans, having the world's most priveledged duplicitous status of neither sovereignty nor statehood, neither Latinos nor gringos, have chosen only one other exclave as their own, New York City. One Million Puerto Ricans live in New York. Why? Should we not pay attention to the choices of a people graced with a wisdom that comes with such a sweet situation? Why New York then when they could just stay on their better beach and kick it? By the book’s end the only answer Thompson comes up with is “want” -- but if only he went bike riding with me that day last summer when outside of George Washington High in Washington Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan I stopped the dirty ice cart to grab a cup of tamarindo and the perfect Puertoricana who learned something in 17 years women on Madison Ave never learn in 70, that nothing looks hotter than tight jeans and a wife beater in July, asked me what I was doing in the barrio, Thompson may have arrived at a slightly different conclusion and we may therefore have never received The Rum Diaries. I told her I was “fuggin’ diggin’ the fact that between the GW Bridge and GW High in GW Heights our man GW got what he wanted on the same piece of land he was once defeated: nobody speaking the Queen’s English in his rebel state. You know, he was hoping it would be German or French we spoke. If you had told him then it was gonna be Spanish!…shit. So after this I’ll ride back downtown, try and write something smart about it, sell it, and go buy a margarita with my hypothocized earnings, you?” To which she replied, “…White guys, why you always trying to make something of yourselves?” To which, as defeated as Washington once was on this very street corner, I then hopped back on my bike consumed like a skipping record trying to think of a rebuttal for that crafty cunt all the way from Washington Heights to the Gowanus. Upon arrival at home I couldn’t write that smart essay I had hoped to. Upon margarita to my lips I could not put the needle back into the groove. Eventually the breaking rebroke when I looked at my skinny man’s pancha caused by necessary margaritas to keep me in this party I'm always trying to leave and coughed up soot I ingested while trying to get healthy and productive and I got my answer: time to move to Italy and plant my feet. A "throne" began in Proto-Indo-European as “to hold firm”, yet something which is "thrown" is not held firmly at all. An ascent up the social ladder is generally seen as a good thing, but when it comes at the expense of your accent, when every cent gained is but a seed for a more reputable nascent grade, and every July sunset is not spent with your family, cousins, and friends outdoors in the best city in the world, it is proof that your long questions should start coming in shorter sentences. She dethrowned me.

dethrowned = relax, wait here and it will come...that is, if you're waiting for it at all. But still, so why New York? If waiting nets the same results moving does, and Puerto Ricans can see things others can't, then what better place to wait than a city where everyone's moving? Don't mix moods though, dethrowning Puerto Ricans does not make them deseatful. On the contray, it is the anxious deseated mover and shaker who's more likely up to some form of deceit or another.

-- Chris Leo

dissert, from the Latin dis "apart" + the French servir to "serve", is one dessert with two spoons for one couple, which is most likely similar to the original dessert which meant "to clear the table", to "deserve". There's an easy rule to follow with new words: if it doesn't sound like the word it represents it is not a new word. "de-serve"Therefore, be careful not to dissect dissert, keep it beautiful, don't desert the goal. Or, if that poses a problem but the old word's grown as stale as a desert and you're looking for something new, try mixing Italian with Italian for "the true dessert," dulcerto (dulce for "sweet" + certo for "correct"). Just be sure to make no room for impostres (im for "not" + the Spanish postres for "dessert" = things like pizzert), or have we already disserted (think dissertation) on the topic at length.

-- Chris Leo

Divisionary verbs are auxiliary verbs that once supported primary verbs using “have” but now use “of”. They are semi-realized prodigals whose future evolution is obvious though the elder and middle stages are still the only versions in use. “Should have gone”, “might have known”, “could have taken” have become “should of gone”, “might of known”, “could of taken.” “Should of gone” literally means “the should part of gone” as if every verb already holds all possibilities within them. There is a should part of gone, a might part of gone, a could, would, am, was, has, and possibly even a got part already integral to “gone”. Basic verbs (be, give, have, take, keep, etc) being the most ancient verbs means relentless usage through the ages has exposed them to more mutable elements than newer verbs. In every language these verbs are never regular and therefore neither are the sentences and idioms they operate within. Though without fail the mutations of the basic verbs are gorgeous and playful, there’s an ebb and flow that in English is currently drawing them in to a gradual and temporal unirregulation (which is never quite a reregulation, but just a pull back in rather than a push out). Soon these divisionary verbs will close the bridge between the verbs they support thereby antiquating the main verbs while assuming positions of verbs proper themselves. Shouldgone, couldgone, wouldgone, and gotgone etc will solidify their previous slices of the “gone” pie into autonomous actions. Pioneering paths idioms like “how (does it) come?”, “what (does it) gives?”, “I (have) never (heard or anything like that)!” take are referencable for insight into the future evolution of these divisionary verbs before they push back out again.

-- Chris Leo

Downstate is not a word. Crack open the frizzy chiznazz and celebrate with River Plates because it is one rare decade indeed when you'll finally here us say, "no." There is the south, down south, down there, lowlands, meridianale, extremadura, and the rainbow of other colorful words we romanticize all things "south" with (the best of course being "Upper Egypt"), but downstate? No. Put downstate in the same skinny folder with mainlining heroin and studying yoga with the sole goal of autofellatio: things not to do. Please, we will rarely ask you to draw a line. Here, draw a line.

-- Chris Leo

Drawer in linguistics is an historical back-formation. An historical back-formation is a back-formation that continues to dig deeper and deeper into the past rather than plow ahead into the future in search of its lost soul. In this case, a drawer is someone who necessarily betrayed someone so the story could progress, or so he’s rewritten. Without betrayal and treason the plot can not curve, he pleads. We need him, the letch whines. Naturally, a drawer feels like a traitor and a traitor feels like a piece of churned mud. What to do then to appease your inner peace while the masses about loathe you, you traitor, you traducer, you plotter! Ration it out. Find the root of the reason for your t-reasoning ("t" as a symbol of the Cross) and reduce. Benedict Arnold hands it over to the crowd, “You tell me! You tell me! Why then did I do it? What drives a traitor to be a traitor?” “Traitor”, he argues, comes from the same source as “tract”, “trattoria”, and even “dates” and “tradition” as well as “traducer”, “plotter”, and “dare”. From the Latin “tradere” (“to hand over, to draw out”) do we not kill the fruits of the earth so that we can survive and our story grow? Do we not betray with every full tray served? Is to serve not therefore to survive? In French a traître is a caterer. The drawer keeps going back in his quest for absolution, to the Holy Lands and the Coptic Bible! There would be no resurrection without the most selfless of all saints, Judas Iscariot. Forget not that the “jew” sound of both Judas and Jesus is from the beginning of the almighty Yahweh. Of course the dip (from Old English dyppan, “to baptize”) into the hummus (“earth, clay, mud” out of which He molded us in His likeness) happened amongst trays. What a different course history would have taken if Jesus called himself a "Coward of Men" (as a British surname, from "cow herder") rather than a "Shepherd of Men" (from "sheep herder")! The very sound are, the English verb “to be”, in Proto-Indo-European initially meant “to plow”. The drawer, poor guy, therefore simply drew the shortest straw; and “straw” of course comes from the Proto-Indo-European stere, “to spread”, to help our story spread. And the drawer's draws, poor guy, are also often as muddied as this field tilled.
i.e. “Oh man, this thing was starting to write itself -- boh-ring --I had to be the drawer so we could get to the next episode.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t follow.”
“Oh well I just figured, fine, I’d be the scapegoat and rat you out to Sylvia so this thing could progress y’know? No one else had the balls to be the bad guy for the sake of movement. The ease at which you fibbed was losing its excitement to all of us, man? So for the sake of everyone I drew, I drew man, you get it now, no?”

-- Chris Leo

Drungry, a relative of hangry, comes from Dubai and refers not only to the mysterious equation that colories from alcohol create a need for complimentary calories from food after, but also to the type of late night/early morning cuisine you might find to satiate said need: "A'ight, I'd like some aloo motor drungry and my sister would like a bowl of whatever it is you got stewing down there in the drungry."

Folk etymoligists may try and tell you that "the drungry" was the lowest hold on pirate ships of the Arabian Sea where they kept their contraband hidden, but when the need actually hits, anyone living through it can assure you that the history of this word is much more direct.

drunk + hungry = drungry

(for more information on the current baby boom of words from Dubai, we recommend
-- Chris Leo

Dustriousness is a poster child for back-formations. A back-formation happens when a new word is formed by shortening a longer word when integral syllables mistaken for affixes are removed. The most confusingly disastrous back-formation occured when Prudence raced so hastely through a "below-job" it never grew bigger than "blow job" again. In this case the logic went: if a busy person is industrious then the opposite would be formed by simply removing the negating "in". When the new word looks like "something which collects dust" you light one up, call your assumption a fact, and kick back all dustriuoslike.

industrious - in = lazy lazy lazy

-- Chris Leo


Well your choices are either eavesmocking or risking an insta-friending-joint-brunch with your temporary neighbors when restos put their tables so close together to conjure up that contrived convivial rustico vibe, so no, honestly no it was not a lazy smugness that slipped me into my haughty dissection of our neighbors' blurred-by-burberry beer and con queso bods; speaking in Italian quasi-code with Laura was a calculated defense to keep their brunch theirs and our brunch ours. But I wonder what word it was that gave us away? Maybe "Porco Slope" wasn't cloaked (and certainly not witty) enough? Or maybe "Ma per favore! Devano parlare sempre di Brian Lehrer? Ancora a brunch?" needs no translator. Either way, at something I said they clamped up, finishing their florentine's in silence which in turn had me in a frantic flurry yapping away out of guilt, attempting to backpedal like nothing I said had anything to do with anyone anywhere near anything brunchy. I became a caricature of myself fueling them with more and more eavesmockery, loading them up with all sorts of exaggerated infamation (infamy + information), as I tried harder and harder to dig myself out of the embarassment of being busted for my own eavesmockery.

-- Marcellus Hall, Chris Leo

ETA, pronounced aytah, is the explosive combination of “estimated time of arrival” and “Euskadi Ta Askatasuna”, the violent Basque liberation front. It is the opposite of what Dr. Phil calls a “safe landing”. For example, when Gary received the mysterious text message reporting “your girlfriend knows” his eyes darted first to the open bottle of tequila, then to the blond hair stuck to a pillow in a house that generally only sheds brown, then to the clock to see “what the ETA was” until “she” returned from work and the bomb dropped, then back to the empty bottle of tequila.

ETA = liberation yes, but at what bloody cost? To be turned into an eta (Japanese for "one who does not exist")?

-- Chris Leo

An ewreckted structure’s raising calls for razing. “The ewrecktion of that new hotel obliterated my beautiful view of the Queensboro Bridge” complained the young profesh to the ancient local. “Yeah well the ewerecktion of that Queensboro Bridge ruined my beautiful view of the river,” and Robert Moses and a Lenapi laughed together in their graves.

-- Chris Leo

Expensive (v.). My strolling map of New York is a tangle of twists and turns that I've poeticized to Laura meanders non-linearly due to my romantic whimsy, while the truth is I've actually strategically plotted out an avoidance of every shoe store along the route because she tends to be expensive.

ex (Latin "out of") + pensare (Latin "consider") = pense that thought right out

-- Chris Leo


Farfalling is the only way to drop. If the far falling is imminent and you've been crawling on 1,000 feet your whole life and suddenly you wake up instead with wings you don't know how to use and but a few weeks left to live, the only option is to get drunk on exsquisite nectar, lay some eggs, make a child happy and young lover's blush, and flutter with and then against the wind all the way down down down.

"farfalling" comes to us from the Italian word for "butterfly", "farfalla."

(For more poesie on entomology etymology I highly recommend which will have you thinking of caterpillars as chatepelose which translates to "hairy cats" in French even though the French call them chenille for "little dogs".)
-- Chris Leo

Fiasco. This isn't so much a new word as it is a correction I refuse to make when Laura asks, "Chris, did you pack the fiasco?"
"Always babe, always."

Proving yet again that they know things, "fiasco" in Italian is both a flask and a fiasco proper. In accordance with flasks and fiascos both generally bringing about weird lapses of memory, "fiasco" is a word that went the rare direction of Germany ("flasche") to Italy and then up to us, arriving in England several hundred years after "flask" was already in use. "Flush" redness of the face shares the same root. From the chemical reaction that occurs when alcohol from a flask sends blood to the extremities or from the embarrassement that hits you in a flash the morning after a fiasco?

-- Chris Leo

Forange is one way at falsifying false friends. “Straniero” and its weird relatives in most Latin based languages simply means “foreigner”, not “strange.” "Forange" minces no thoughts: you’re not from here, you’re a creep. Erudites, poets, and testy Catalans have argued that "forange" is in fact a dialectal slur of "Falange", the old fascist party of Spain, while the rest of us know there is a world beyond Franco's dominion ripe and ready with political romance not simply limited to Iberia or Hemmingway -- not that this word has anything to do with romance (unless the opposing force of romance is also considered part and parcel). During an Anglo-American debate on who "Asians" techincally are, Chinese or Indians, a local was overheard saying, "why can't we just call all these forangers Chindians?" Forench is the alienation a Parisian experiences in his own city, where even at the top of Montmarte it's common to feel a longing for the Paris missed. The game is to then locate the Eiffel Tower (easy) and create an internal dialogue with the foreigner atop also seeking Paris: "You are looking for Paris from there, I am looking from here, and yet neither one of us can quite secure it." This is not to be confused with a Greek Gringo. A Forenchy is archetypically French, whereas a Greek Gringo is a tourist even amongst tourists. Greek Gringo is a combination of synonyms for bombastic effect: "It's all Greek to me" for "unintelligible speech" + "gringo" which comes from "griego" which means "Greek" in Spanish which means "unitelligible speech" = t-shirts that signify where you've been, or worse, where you are. Worth noting, The Spaniards nicknamed the Cretian painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos the Italian "El Greco" rather than their own "El Griego" because he studied and lived in Venice and Rome before moving to Toledo; apparently "Greek", like "tourist", is one very verby noun. Also worth noting, "Grig" is an antiquated British word for a light and lively person. One was often "merry as a grig" which also came from "Greek" which oddly enough also meant "grasshopper" and through transmutations not only leaves us with "Jiminy Cricket" but brings us back close to "Greek" -- a cricket is "grillo" in Italian. This is getting weird so back to beard: Bizeard, "bizzare" + "beard", is another word that combined synonyms to add stress to the barbaric impression left by foreigners. In Cockney slang a beard is called a "strange and weird" but the word beard already encompasses both ideas. "Beard" comes form the Basque "bizar" (English only takes the bizarre words from the bizarre people) and "barbarian" comes from the Latin "barba" for "beard". In Maine, where it is common for most men to have beards, a very large beard is called a "beared", as in "someone who has turned into a bear". Dutch slang for mustache is "de befborstel" which comes from "beffen" which they claim differs from the Latin "cunnilingus" (a "combing of the tongue" and hence the bastardized "womb grooming") because it refers only to clitoral stimulation. The dutch word for "beaver" is "bever" which comes from the Proto Indo-European bhru for "brown"; as if to say "stimulate only in the brown, not the pink". Geographically, this would make the beard attached to said mustache an anal stimulant. Summing up, it is therefore simple to hypothesize a future melding of "forange" and "bizeard" into one very eccentric weard, which would be really weird considering both "weird" and the suffix "ward" already stem from an Old English word "weard" which once meant to "turn toward", not away from as it is typically thought weird things do.

foreign + strange = forange

-- Chris Leo

Freelapse is a get-out-of-jail-free-card relapse because it happens in spite of one's best intentions. A freelapse does not alter the course of one's recovery or abstinence from a certain substance or behavior, as long as it's acknowledged as an unexpected (not neccessarily unwanted) gift. When a recovering boozer's on a date with a hoozy who shows her boos for his schmoozy with a drink across his beauty, though on the road to recovery, if this guy feigns a "what's with the doozy, booty?" while actually being ps-ps-psyched for the opt to lap the sap off his lips cracked from the sauce lacked and skip merrily on his soberish way back, he's officially in the clear to relish this freelapse for all it's worth. And we are free to cheer him on.

free + relapse = frappes with hidden snaps

-- Patrick Brennan, Chris Leo

Fromage (1) may be French cheese, but in English it means fortified cheeze. They say there’s no word for “irony” in Chinese or politics, there’s also no word for “cheezy” in any language except English. So when Deng Xiaoping, feeling Western Society encroaching, commissioned publicly painted love poetry about “Red (Workers) Hearts”, it’s understandable if one was too confused to laugh. He was doubley hit. I felt the same way when Matt called me up to check out Chico’s new mural on the corner of D and Houston, “Dude you have to make a pilgrimage with me to the gorgeous fromage Chico just spay-painted for us! For us, man! All of us standing together! Chinese, Blacks, Latinos, Slavs, the elderly, the children, everybody, all standing together working seriously and reverently for the team!”

Fresco + homage = deliriously daily work with iron minus delicious dairy on walks with idling. See chezy entry.

-- Chris Leo

Fromage (2). I swear I saw palm trees, coconuts, sugar cane, giant blue agaves harvested by little men who then found beautiful women with roses in their jet black hair to stomp on the pulp naked up to their wastes because the enzymes on their skin helped ferment it better…no…in fact, it was just a fromage. I’ve made this mistake before. Just because there are palm trees and sand in Morocco and Algeria does not mean Francophones can make a drinkable margarita, and any Newyorker takes his margarita as seriously as they take their wine. Not funny. Very sad. Sadder yet when it gets drunken down regardless.

Frozen margarita + mirage = wrong desert, wrong continent, terrible joke, mean, cruel

-- Chris Leo


Gayese is the homophonic phenomenon wherein one's sexual preference homogynizes all languages into one syntax and tone.
i.e. "That table over there is speaking gayese but I can't understand exactly what they're talking about because its in Russian."

-- Chris Leo

Germantics leave no space for the bothersome banter of alien bacteria. They attempt infection with flawless, tight, and certain absolutes. When they strike with these irrefutable proofs, despite the apparent truths being dished, the lectured to still feels unease and wants to leave. Something’s not right. But what? The words? The math? The well boxed economy of everything? No those are all perfect. Examine this discourse for the irritation manifestation:
“Hey, how ‘bout we go to the beach today, Brad?”
“Excellent choice? But do you really think you can get ready in time? It’s 9am now. If we’re out of the house by 10 we’ll be on the beach by 10:45 right when it starts to get hot. If we go swimming before everyone else we’ll have the freshest water and be hungry for lunch before the hordes crowd the snack bar, yeah?…But if you can’t get ready soon we’ll be stuck in lunch traffic, not get the optimum spot on the sand, drink piss when we dunk our heads…”

germ + antics = sansoire vivre, poora vida, a German clock ticks like this: drip, drop, drip, drop…

-- Chris Leo

You’ve gone field if your art hits a home run despite your brain being benched in the dugout. Simone DiMaggio is a tour guide who brings British and American tourists from the port of Livorno to the center of Florence. Because he shares his name with the Yankee Clipper, Americans assume he’s not only the only proper Italian to like baseball, but that he’s also up on all our baseball-metaphors-for-every-ailment national theology. Therefore he's got no choice but to try and learn them all since they sock him with them every day.
On a drive together along the Tuscan coast listening to Neil Young’s “On the Beach” one morning Simone asked me, “But what exactly does he mean by ‘a million june bugs coming down the mountain’.”
“Unfortunately Simone, what he actually says is ‘a million dune buggies coming down the mountain’.”
“Oh Jesus, he’d really gone field by that point, no?”
“You mean gonfio (Italian for 'bloated') from his liver backfiring from abuse?”
“That too.”

gone field = gone + (yet something hits from) out of left field. See Steven Stills, but not Lou Reed. See Wire, but not Pink Floyd. See Captain Beefheart, but not the Rolling Stones.

-- Simone DiMaggio, Chris Leo

Gonelining. Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus whose name out of context looks like "anti" + "gone", or “not gone, here” whereas in fact the Greek “gone” signifies movement “from the womb, generation” which puts one in one thing and out of another. The secret to whether Antigone’s name, being the product of a mother and a son, rendered her either ultra on or gone unfortunately died with Euripides. The important point here is that antonyms “gone” and “on” have always been kissing cousins. Gonelining is the soothing pissing of hours/lives away online searching for the same sort of time bending chance encounter you once experienced on the street many shades of faith ago. Bouncing from Facebook to Myspace profiles hoping to bump into any new spark, I discovered myspamous and deflated, for as much as River Plates may want to believe navigating these pages takes us through both the Wild West and Alphabet City, currently only the Wild West is still the Wild West and Alphabet City is Alphabet City. And the worst thing about that myspamous entry is that even though we all know it to be true, when it works in reverse -- when everyone stops visiting your myspace account -- oh man it cuts, it cuts. Regardless of how netsophrenic we know those profile pages to be, wherein their online personality is something entirely different from their real life persona, it bruises when you get no hits.

-- Simon Henderson, César Alvarez, Brian Tunney, Chris Leo

Graping is either groping done under the influence of grapes or grappa, or the wrong way to play with a nipple. Not to be confused with grappling, which is the only way a Jack Sprat can play with his wife.

-- Chris Leo


'H' (indicated by another 'H' halved) . The apostrophe is a Roman creation originally employed to side-step the impossible 'H' their mouths refused (and still refuse) to make.
An apostrophe before a word began as the left half of a bisected 'H', an apostrophe after was the right half of a bisected 'H' -- half a breath was all the compromise the author asked; half an 'H', not quite the full pauses home, heads, whores, help, hustlers, hands, the Holy Ghost, Heaven, Hell, caipirinhas and the word 'huh' command, just a fraction to avoid the impossible frictive.

However, like the ypsilon and kappa Ceasar also failed to rub out, the 'H' kept going, plowing ahead, hiding in the wings for centuries of endless stabs at vengence. When an Italian says "hiding" it sounds like "iding" and the letter H grinds its blade to the bevel waiting to strike again as Bruto did on that fateful day. And strike it still does! It tosses Italians the English word "happy" and mocks in epiglottal aspirations as it comes out "appy" as an ape. Stealthily, it then places itself in front of words where it does not belong making "haminal" out of "animal" and writhes in pleasure from the overdue pennance. "All of god's beasts are just haminals to you, aren't they!?" Merciless H lashes upon the descendants of Rome, "So are you still unready to tell me why did you not only steal everything from Greece except me, but then also quartered me upon capture?!" Yes, the asteriskly transgressive history of the entire letter 'H' before and after its halfing (as you can project from these few but piquant examples) is a matter worthy of only the highest most honorable hagiography, but who feels like bothering with the study of a soundless letter? If we fall into that trap of studying the pause, what'll we do when we actually confront one? Well...We won't. Life inside a pause makes the pause no longer a pause, but something of substance, no? In fact, it's only through the study of the letters around the 'H' that its essence can be clarified.

Luckily, chance dumbed me into an exercise for this pause that engages the study of 'H' without succumbing to its lack: the extraction of all of my wisdom teeth got me hopped up on meds and hence I was able to stare at a fish in a tank in a window of a restaurant in Chinatown and, bored and zoned to my gills, I made fish mouth back to him. As a crazy, I was without race and therefore blended in better in Chinatown than I ever had before. That's when it hit me: I couldn't remember seeing fish on any nature show open and closing their mouths all the time like they do in fish tanks so I began to think that what I initially deemed "fish mouth" was really just the fish imitating us, "human mouth."
The sound of my lips puckering and unpuckering during fish mouth was that of popping 'p's so it was very easy for me to push the low level of things by calling them "pesce" everytime I made fish mouth rather than "fish" -- the p's were already popping, and that's when it hit me again: It must have been the hundredth 'pesce' I did back to the fish that brought my shortage of breath to expose the clue.

The letter 'F' is a popped 'P'. They stuck a pin right in the bubble to propel the word and they did the same thing to 'B' before that to give us 'P'(though it seems before the 'B' was a 'B' it may have been a 'V' they actually closed up to harness a bit of this air for a change).

I said "pesce' and then I said "ffffffishhhhhhhh" and swam away up the street with all the air just released and I wrote this so many times "for you" rather than "per te" so you could feel the long waft of the words from Italy through France to us and both pick up and give all this air along the way. It is, afterall, the same direction planes fly from Europe to America in accrodance with the way the wind already blows. I wrote this so many times all around the streets from Chinatown through Nolita catching more air through the leaves in Sara Delano's park that I managed to make it to my computer in time before they kept moving away from my memory. This lead me to a remarkable conclusion: the Romans were right! Forget the letter 'H' unless you wanna get hooked like a fish. Take a good look at it. It stands firmer and more direct than any other letter in the alphabet and yet it only indicates air. A sentinel for the stop. As an intuitive Italian would say, it creates more "hacktion" than "action". 'F' and "P' are both directives pointing the same way the sentence flows, impelling more as they go. Unless it's as hot as a hog-ist day, if you've got things to do follow the 'F' and plant your 'P's.

-- Chris Leo

Hackney is what all slang is called when exported from its streets. When my girlfriend accused me of "tumbling down the sink" (drinking) while talking to "Aristotle" (the bottle) at the "near and far" (bar) before heading out on a "Berkshire hunt" (for cunt) in "Bristol City" (and titties) for "ham and eggs" (and legs) with "raspberry ripples" (nipples) I said, "Your hack book-learned Cockney makes as little sense outside of Hackney as the paranoia beneath it."

Hack (crack, wack) + ney (as opposed to "yay") = a part of London you are not from

-- Chris Leo

Hangry. My health teacher at my all boys Catholic High School in New Jersey once asked this question on a test,
"When your wife has PMS what do you do?
a) Call a doctor
b) Rub her feet and make her french toast
c) Remind her over and over again that her temper is just the result of PMS
d) Leave the house"
Unless you chose the letter d he would have marked that question wrong. I chose c when I was seventeen. Now, faced with a similar but far less odious take on a question about human nature I've learned another way to look at things simply:

When Italians are hungry, feed them. "Sapore" is "taste" in Italian, "sapere" is "to know", and they both stem from the same Latin root, sapere.

When Laura is hungry she is too flustered to worry about this letter H that's plagues Italians and words get fused together as the anxious bile boils them up.

hungry + angry = hangry

-- Chris Leo

The haviary is a harboring sanctuary sans sanctions but it takes some time getting used to for everything is yours if you only promise to set it free, including your own passage to come and go as you please. Founded on a feather from a wing plucked into a plume it pricks the present as it passes the past in a circular search – into the sky? Well not necessarily; there's even a limit beyond which birds can’t fly, a silent ceiling further astray of their way than the clumsy foraging on the ground. Don't forget, it is this clumsy foraging ground where birds mate. You have it, the aviary is yours, but if you hold it – well take a close look at that word: you can’t. Hold the have on the old ave or you’ll have the hold on Avenue Old, tweet tweet.

-- Chris Leo

Head of Pompey. I hadn’t spoken to Helen in ages. Too much had passed to attempt a patchy catching up so I decided instead to send her the fresh manuscript of “Serengeti” I’d slaved over all winter in Bologna. It was so fresh I had yet to change it from its working title "Viva Vigo, Viva Fica" to the proper "Serengeti". With too much to say, I opted for the simple and brief, “Woman, don’t worry, you’re not in this one (but then again no one is, it’s fiction afterall), xxx, cdl” email along with it which I naturally assumed she’d read as an “I’m missing you.” In two days I received her reply. Apparently it had been too long since we’d spoken. Apparently “Serengeti” was too cluttered with theories in the beginning to see the story through and by the end it was too driven by pure story lacking any theories period. The constant preoccupied soliloquies with the protagonist’s cock made it so no one, neither woman nor man, had the ability nor desire to empathize. Because the foundation to call this author a sexist, racist, misanthrope, all of 'em, stood on far far far less firmer ground (as in none) than if one were to call Dostoevsky a murderer for making Raskolnikov near loveable, she held herself back as much as she could with the pleasing-to-no-party-half-stepping “Let’s just say it uneased my humanistic side.” I began typing the gutted response of “Ha! So what you're really saying is that you’re jealous you couldn’t see yourself as the True Love and you’re paranoid that you may in fact be inspiration for one of the lesser breeds while at the same time feeling miffed that you’re probably neither and I always thought good fiction couldn’t be distinguished from non-fiction and vice-versa” when my girlfriend’s cat, the Marquis de Pajamas, dropped Señor Fluffy, my parrot of fifteen years -- the same parrot and dear friend I taught to speak three languages and walk a tight rope from mast to mast across a model of a 16th century Spanish galleon-- dead at my feet. I deleted the email and cried. Grazie Marquis, I suppose this means I’m in. Grazie, I suppose.

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or Pompey, was a founding seat in Julius Ceasar's original Triumvirate who fled Rome upon news of Ceasar's fabled crossing of the Rubicon (I've since crossed that thing a thousand times in expectance of some die to cast). At the outbreak of the Roman civil war Pompey sought refuge from Ceasar in Egypt. Before disembarkation even, Egyptian king Ptolemy XIII decapitated Pompey in front of his wife and children in an effort to gain better standing with Ceasar. When Ceasar was then presented with Ptolemy's offering of the head of Pompey he's said to have burst into tears for, though technically a rival at the time, this was no fitting end for a former ally, son-in-law, and consul of Rome. Ceasar instead reciprocated the gift with the eventual regicide of Ptolemy himself.

-- Chris Leo

Hinis. The millennia of repeated pillaging of Gorth by the Morgs from Newbridge was known as “The Totally Mean War”. It is true that no Morg weaponry could penetrate Gorth hides, but any open holes they did find were deemed mere sheaths for their swords, sometimes going in one while coming out the other -- a move they called "the bloody boner". Gorths being lesser beasts refused the constraints of clothes and armor that could’ve protected them by simply covering up these orifices, but they saw them as rather "orifeces" which therefore needed the freedom to excrete. Superstitious Gorth priests also believed covering them unhallowed their traditional “hankypanky” mellow and “the pucusmucus”. Enter the hinis! Arghghgh!!! Arrrrrgggh! The Highness of Beach Street, fed up with the “whatever, whatever” attitude of these homoqueer priests, gathered all the wizards and witches of the land and decreed the creation of a new warrior with minimal orifeces. Within a fartnight, Gorth Maximus was born. With only one eye, one nostril, and one ear inbetween his eye and his nostril, he was already fairly rad. He was even green because the sorcerers befitted him with chlorophyll so he wouldn’t need a mouth, the sun would be enough. But the greatest innovation, the innovation that liberated Gorth from the blitzing of the Morgs once and for all was the hinis. Instead of one hole for the hiney and one for the weeney, thereby exposing himself to Morg blades twice, Gorth Maximus had only one hole for all functions called the hinis! It existed where our taint does now, inbetween both holes, further protected from damage by being blocked by the thighs which they called “the things”. Though the Gorths called this evolution the hinis, to the Morgs it was the penus, as it took care of both penis and anus functions. If you were good at it you could even make a loud boopsie from it.

If Australia had an Australia marsupials would have these there.

-- Billy

The hinternal debate is an integrally woven daydream of every cittadini: is the clamor of the conviviality killing me or keeping me alive? Can getting blitzed at night to soothe my nerves sizzled by the day when I eat well to aid me organs bruised by the blitzing at night to soothe my nerves properly be considered a “balance” of sorts or is there something more pastoral that better approximates that word beckoning from the hinterlands upstate?

-- Chris Leo


Idolatrine worship is submission in bent prostration to porcelain gods accompanied by the speaking of tongues. An idolatte is the slight of slipping spirits in with creams that leads to this plastered repentance into alabaster vessels. Slavoratory prayers are false promises of tomorrow’s abstinent servitude offered from bathroom floors in exchange for it all to just go away.

idol + latrine = when Exodus' list exits us in fits

-- Chris Leo

Inarrabato is the combination of three Italian words to describe one emotion Freud would have told us exists in each word individually already: “Innamorato” (in love) + “arrabbiato” (angry) + “arrapato” (horny). Italians would have then told Freud, ”Old news.” For a less suaver exploration of the same subject visit the passassinate entry.

-- Olayinka Fagbayi, Chris Leo

Infiermo, "enfermo" (sick in Spanish)+ "infierno" (Spanish hell), is an addition of two negatives that amounts to one bombastic muthafuckin' positive: SICCCKKKK AS HEEELLLLLLLL. "Son, ya heard!?! That vocal manipulation on the new Snoop cut 'Sexual Eruption' is INFIERMO. IN-FI-ERMO, kid."
"Hail Yes doctor, administer me some aloe vera for the burn induced from those infiermic beats. Jaysus!"

-- Alley Deheza, Chris Leo

Inginious. Though gin was first marketed in England as a health elixir, it's believed to be a direct source of a population decline there in the mid-18th century. Inginious. I am even sipping on gin now as I write this to dry up my enflamed nasal cavity and it isn't working. Incredible. Despite all evidence otherwise, gin still isn’t convinced it's an enemy of the body. When quinine was used to fight malaria in the tropics in the 20th Century gin snuck itself into the tonic to ease the taste, but anyone who’s ever tasted gin knows gin eases nothing on the palette. Inginious. In fact, it was eventually the fruit juices added to mask its taste, not vice versa, that birthed the proper cocktail in Prohibition era New York. Gin is known as the “smart booze” because the bitter taste constricts one’s mouth muscles funneling the words off the tip of the tongue giving them more pricked direction than all the other boozes (which give none) thereby making one feel wicked inginious.

-- Chris Leo

Inspiteful is like when a boss wages psychological warfare on his employee via a scheming peer-to-peer guise. When I began working as a paralegal in Manhattan for this dirtbag from Long Island who returned every night to what he called “Wrong Island” my distrust was initially piqued. Traitor. When said asshole then started calling me his impiegato (“employee” in Italian) because he knew I spent the other part of my life in Italy, my disgust leaped to a boil because the only language he actually spoke couldn’t even be clasified as English. I call it simply the “language of small dicks”. You know the kind I mean? The kind that begins at an impossibly high register but still manages to flip up and slow down at the end of the sentence like only a perverted question could? So why impiegato? Because his idea was that if he could approach me at an eye-to-eye level I’d be duped into thinking we were friends and follow all his orders like a comrade-in-arms. The thing is, when impiegato is the only Italian word that made it into his lexicon, even the most unparanoid amongst us would start to hear “my imp and gatto” of which I am neither. All of my fears were confirmed once he also greeted the whole office in the morning with “Chris is going to make us coffee this morning because, seeing as he spends so much of his time in Italy, he can make a better coffee than any of us” even though we use a different machine entirely in Italy, sfigato.

insight + spite = manipulative constipated evil mastermind

-- Chris Leo

Interventors, isn’t it great, are somehow always thinking what I’m thinking. Even though they didn’t say it, they beat me to it. That’s why they like me. I'm think like they think, they just internalize their art. My humor/talent/smarts jive ‘cause, funny, that’s exactly what they’ve been up to lately as well. All the ideas that came in (“in” + the Italian “venire” for “to come” = “invent”) just never made it out because they inter + vented (from the Latin “ventus” for “wind”). But let it be noted loudly here that the same cowardice preventing interventors from officially participating also makes them easy prey to mass delusions. Seeing as there is no individual to the interventor who believes all thoughts to be shared, all of them coming from this collective “us”, they wind up placing too much faith in this “us” and thereby missing choice moments like this to shine: so speaking of wind and vents, I propose that it is one massive civil oversight across countries and centuries to build windmills vertical and not horizontal. Take a few breathes and digest. Top amongst the many benefits is that horizontal windmills would never stop spinning now would they? If I'm missing something, well at the very least couldn't they have horizontal and vertical windmills working in tandem? Expected belittling rebuttal from the interventor? Nope. This time “I was thinking the same thing” pits the interventor against society and that footing's not firm enough, whereas “there must be a reason” puts him too with society and that’s too vacuvented to vent.

-- Chris Leo

Irreversible has a reverse side, which is reverse stuck on reverse. Señor Fluffy ate poison and died just like that and am I no longer convinced the "ir" prefix is a negator, more an electrical shock indicator: ~reversible, ~regular, ~regardless (whose redundant "ir" proves it's no negator). When the shock waves cease you're left simply ill: illogical, illegal, ilreversible. When the heartbreak softens one can only hope the "il" mellows to an "in" which can vacillate between positive and negative pulls: inconceivable, incriminate, incubus, inreversible.

-- Chris Leo

Italian Brunch , or quasi-formally la prena (pranzo, "lunch + cena, "dinner"), is the activity done on the day after treking through Italian Green. It is a meal that happens between lunch and dinnertime. This differs from the American linner (lunch + dinner) which is one of several mealtimes that day, whereas Italian brunch is the only meal of the day and may last the duration of many meals combined. It's also worth noting that normal Italian dinners do not begin before 8:30 at the earliest. This means la prena generally falls around 6:30 -- the same time the proper American dinner is just beginning. Therefore, if one was to skip breakfast and lunch in the States due to fasting or a busy day, it wouldn't be improper for him to then refer to his one meal as "la prena" as long as he was sure to take it slow. Americans travelling abroad have also been known to call la prena a Spanish breakfast.

Banquet once meant "a small snack between meals". "Lunch" comes from "luncheon" from the French nonechenche for "noon drink", not food -- or if it is food, it's still barely food, coming from the Spanish lonja for "a slice". "Noon" comes from the Latin "nonus" for "nine" and was once the "ninth hour of sunlight in the day" which is three pm not twelve. "Dinner" comes from the French disner which began as breakfast. In New York, women eat in secrecy before proper dinner dates as to appear unfamished, refined, and elegant at the restaurant table. The remnants of the verb mangiare, "to eat" in Italian, are found only in animal words in English like "munch" and "manger". Which is all to say, neither the time of day nor size of meal should shock anyone when "appetite" and "petite" are such close cousins.

As you tabulate the table keep in mind that things run counter on the counter.

-- Chris Leo

Italian Green. While discussing the different regions of Italy with Laura I blashpemed just to see how it felt and because I wanted to hear myself say something out loud to decide once and for all if the thought inside my head had any real resonating strength or not. I said, yes, Tuscany may be the greenest, but if I wanted that shade of green I'd live in New York City and travel upstate when I needed nature. I said I prefered a green that was more Italian specific like the hillsides of Le Marche and Lazio.
"I know the kind of green you're talking about Chris. More like a brown, right? This is what you meant by Italian Green? Brown, eh?"

Poor brown, it's been losing an under the radar battle to green for millenia whilst the rest of the world is caught up mitigating the endless white vs black saga. Brown is not a Latin based word. Germany exported what would become "Bruno" into Italy and it took root as both a given and a surname, depending on the perceived depth of one's darkness. Italians chose not to use their own word "marrone" because Bruno conveniently already sounded like "Bruto" ("ugly"). Meanwhile, Italy exported "marrone" which took shape in the pallid North as "moron." Not fair. One etymology even has marrone coming from "amarone", "big and bitter". Another has it coming from the Arabic "marrano" which literally means "pig, swine" and was used as a form of contempt in Spain towards (brown) Moors and Jews that converted to Christianity. "Lumber" comes from the Italian province of Lombardia and everyone knows we couldn't have the brown endproduct if the trunk didn't bear green leaves first. Unfair. The brown earthen matter "Umber" comes not only from an incredibly green region of Italy, Umbria, but also comes from the Proto-Indo-European andho which means "shade" -- and again, there can be no shade if there are no green leaves to canopy over. But do not worry, brown doesn't need your pity. The many maligns have left it with brawn from the bruises and brews to soothe them, all from the same source. Occasionaly brown even wins small battles: by the time the brown trunk is scaled, one has often been known to experience vertigo amidst the vertical vert. And afterall, is there really much of a difference between the green leprechaun of Ireland and Scotlands wee goblin, the "Brownie"? Yes, whether you find it lumbersome from Swedish or cumbersome from Latin, there will always be brown where there is green, white where there is black, hatred where there is envy...

Italian Green = Brown

-- Chris Leo