Many professionals may need to use creative or lateral thinking in their work, but hereâ€™s a competition that invites anyone to do just that for individual words.
This is the so-called Washington Post Mensa Invitational â€“ for which neither organisation seems prepared to claim credit. The challenge: to humorously redefine either a common word, or one that has been subtly changed by a letter or two (or, to put it in popular political phrasing, that has undergone redaction*.)
While the competition itself may be something of an urban myth, entries apparently pour into the newspaper yearly.
Unsolicited** or not, here are some highlights from the 2009 batch (plus a few of our own, below).
Straightforward alternative definitions
Coffee n. The person upon whom one coughs.
Flabbergasted adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
Balderdash n. A rapidly receding hairline.
Circumvent n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
Subtly-altered redefined words
Giraffiti n. Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
Sarchasm n. The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesnâ€™t get it.
Decafalon n. The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
Pointless^? Perhaps. But you may never look at another word quite the same way again.
If you have any suggestions for, or opinions on, these Semantexâ„¢ ^^ shenanigans, leave them here.
*Redaction n. Communist to-do list.
**Unsolicited adj. Able to walk past a red light district unchecked.
^Pointless adj. [colloquial Birmingham] Left out of a pub round.
^^Semantexâ„¢ n. The practice of changing the meanings of words with explosive consequences.