Saturday, October 04, 2003


Sniglets were a mildly amusing "Saturday Night Live" feature about 20 years ago. This guy, Rich Hall, the sniglet guy, would utter a made-up word and then supply its definition, usually some situation or object that is easily recognizable but has no name. The frisson of sniglets was not so much in the words themselves--though their coining usually involved greater or lesser ingenuity--but rather in the thrill of recognition.

I have made up two sniglets. One of them I came up with years ago:

automolull, n. The brief conversational pause that occurs when the driver has gotten into the car but has not yet unlocked the passenger door

The second one struck me altogether recently and is very much a product of the Internet age.

amphotee, n. A photographic portrait posed in such a way, usually accidentally, that its subject appears to be missing a limb

The coining of amphotee is a byproduct of my fondness for and its chat rooms. Chatters usually include pictures in their profiles, and often the pictures are profoundly unflattering, and once in a blue moon an amphotee turns up. Here's one I just encountered.

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