November 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
I like words; so much so that like O. Henry, I read the dictionary in my spare time, looking for new gems. I like their meanings; I like the way some words sound, regardless of their meaning: the way they burrow into your ear, the way they roll around in your mouth – like a Werther’s Original — when you say them. Like “crapulence.”
Writers cook with words; some concoct magnificent feasts, others can barely boil an egg.
Lately, I have been inventing words (chimeras actually), joining existing words and their meanings to make new ones that fill in expressive gaps that I never knew existed before I stumbled across them.
The other day, it was “seren-inspidity”: The faculty of making dull/tasteless discoveries by accident.
Today, it’s “con-tumescense,” an unholy marriage of the words “contumacious” (obstinately disobedient or insubordinate) and “tumescense” (a swollen organ; yes, “that” organ).
Con-tumescense would thusly describe (1) a socially embarrassing, “pointed” state of being for a sexually engrossed teenage boy (e.g., one who fixates on a pretty girl during church on the second Sunday in Lent and has to bend forward to hide his resulting shame when he and the rest of the congregation rise to chant the Te Deum Laudamus) or (2) an older gentleman suffering one of the unwelcome side effects of Viagra; specifically, priapism.
Bluntly put, “con-tumescense” means a stubbornly unrequited or unwanted boner.