09 September 2011


People like to use words incorrectly.

When that happens, a different group of people likes to make a lot of noise about how they used the word incorrectly.

I tend to fall into the ladder of the two groups.

(Pause for reaction.)

Not only are people using real words incorrectly, they've been given the luxury of inventing words which are subsequently misused. It's a little irritating. English, being what it is, makes it easy to tack a suffix onto a word and create a new one as if by magic.

Alcohol the noun becomes alcoholic the adjective with two letters.

Not really germain to this article but still a strategy is the prefix. There are believable truths and unbelievable untruths and any other number of words that are totally changed with a handful of letters.

English formally lacks an infix but anyone who's ever seen something un-fucking-beliveable or re-Goddamn-diculous may disagree.

At any rate, suffixes seem to be the biggest offenders of fake word creation and so suffixes are what I'll be covering.



If I have bursitis, that means the sacs between my joints are inflamed and I'm probably in a bit of pain. If it's bronchitis then my bronchia is inflamed and painful and so on and so forth. This suffix means that something is inflamed. Swollen, maybe.

So what the hell is senioritis? It's general malaise associated with being a (high school, usually) senior and people like to use it as an excuse for why they spent a year not doing anything. What it doesn't mean is that their senior is inflamed. Regardless, this seems to be everyone's go-to for "general problem":

Boy have I got a case of caption-itis!


How about -osis. Or -sy. Or -sia. Like, halitosis is the condition of having bad breath and leprosy is the condition of being a leper. And anesthesia is the condition of "a wanting of feeling". So right there you've got seniorosis or seniorsy. Which both sound much cooler.

I'll go ahead and knock out those search results as well. That first one has a bad case of Rufusy, the second one has Vancouverosis and that last one has a upgradesia.

Oh and if you're curious, I searched for ["bad case of" *itis]. Without the brackets. Try it and you can write lazy articles too!


I mentioned alcoholics before. The suffix "-ic" can mean, among other things, "having some characteristics of". This is pretty clear cut. It means that something relates to or has characteristics of alcohol. Like, an alcoholic beverage. It's also come to mean (in the context of the word alcoholic) someone who's addicted to alcohol.

But then we also get chocoholic, gasoholic, workaholic and any other number of variations meaning "addicted to".

Yep. Here's another one.

So okay, if an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol then maybe I'd greenlight like something like "chocolatic" or "petrolic" or like...

I don't know.

Maybe you would just say "I'm really addicted to shoes."

This person really likes Polish people. 

Oh - using "ic" to mean that you've got an extreme (excessive) proclivity towards something may be unique to alcohol. Someone who's really into fire is a pyromaniac and someone with an extreme thirst (for booze) used to be a dipsomaniac. People who like... nymphs... are nymphomaniacs. Anyway you could probably get away with shoemania or polishmania or really anything else.

I swear, I'm just trying to help.


Wait come back! This is one people seem to use correctly all of the time. It always triggers a pretty visceral reaction when you hear it -- people understand you're saying there's a lot of something.

So when someone's talking about Vote-a-rrhea or one of the 33,000 sites mentioning blogorrhea as an abundance of blogs, they're getting it right!

Man there's blogorrhea everywhere.

Your task, then, is to exhaustively research medical conditions and make sure that whenever you use a fake word, you're using it correctly.

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