Recently, I saw an episode on CBS News that clicked with me, and I wanted to help in my little way.
The background: siblings Jonathan and Hilary Krieger are honoring their father Neil, who passed away from Covid-19 in April 2020. They are trying to get a word that Mr. Krieger invented into a dictionary. The word is “orbisculate” and means:
- to accidentally squirt juice and/or pulp into one’s eye, as from a grapefruit when using a spoon to scoop out a section for eating.
- to accidentally squirt the inner content from fruits, vegetables and other foods onto one’s face, body, or clothing, or onto that of a person nearby.
I thought the brother and sister’s mission to be touching, and I enjoyed Mr. Krieger’s creativity. To me, language is a flexible thing, as words come from various sources, and they can change over time, and new words are frequently birthed.
Learning the history of words can be a marvel, and that history is not always a classical journey back to Latin roots. For example, I marveled when learning the everyday “goodbye” came from a shortening of “God be with ye.” I had thought it was simply said to wish people a good parting of ways. But the word’s history contains the wish for spiritual companionship, to have God by their side.
New words spring up and become part of our vocabulary. Merriam-Webster says they added 520 words to their dictionary in January 2021. Samples: crowdfunding, decarceration, and hygge (“a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable”).
And that’s Jonathan and Hilary Krieger’s aim: to be one of those new words included in a dictionary.
You can sign the petition on their website if you’d like to give that support to their cause.
Also, you can use the word in conversations. Write a poem or story that includes the word. It helps to spread the usage.
A few of the goals have been left blank. Since I didn’t see a kawaii character among the goals, I’m humbly offering Orbisculate Oscar as my submission for such a character.
I encourage you to write poems or stories with orbisculate. I’ve seen prompt words of the day in WordPress, and this could be one that continues well past one day for a prompt.