April Fools' Day 2022 is here, and although in previous years we have presented you with slick, pre-packaged goofs, this year we decided to get interactive with it. Hence, our inaugural round of Members' Dictionary! We gave you a list of obscure words. We asked you to compose fake definitions for each word. Boy oh boy did you deliver. Once we had your responses we shared them and asked you to vote for your favorites.
Below are the words, your definitions, and the real definitions at the end. The top three most-voted-for definitions are bolded below, and the members who wrote them will receive a small trinket of appreciation.
Thank you to everybody who played and made this so fun! We've got half a mind to do this again sometime...
1. Having the swift, effortless grace of a small, bounding ungulate. 2. Having the quality of being a combination of two or more disparate musical instruments such as bagpipes and a piano or bongo drums and an oboe. 3. Ornate written version of Pig Latin. 4. Indecipherable, as in calligraphy. 5. Roman-Greco. 6. Ancient Greek dancer. 7. Someone who breaks out into uncontrollable calypso dancing at inopportune times. 8. Ancient people of the former Greek island of Callipygios, which was abandoned as a result of flooding. Now used as a term for someone who skips town at the first sign of trouble. 9. Expert calliope player. 10. Elfish spirit that inhabits a calliope.
Real definition: Having beautifully proportioned buttocks.
1. Psychological syndrome involving obsession with the euphonium and other large brass instruments. 2. Malady in which the sufferer can only speak in words heard in the past several hours. 3. Kind of euphoria tarnished by not knowing "who is 'em." 4. Faulty euphemism that antagonizes. 5. State of good psyche. 6. Self-ascribed nickname. 7. Kind word. 8. Opposite of Hemingwayism. 9. State of happiness experienced while referring to things in other terms. 10. Word or phrase used to describe the texture of ambient noise.
Real definition: An affectedly elegant literary style characterized by elaborate alliteration, antitheses, and similes.
1. To play a wind instrument with the toes. 2. Fancy dancing. 3. Courtly game of steal-the-shoe. 4. Pedal used on a large hand-operated loom to shift the warp and woof. 5. Small bird endemic to Nova Scotia, often seen as a symbolic companion of Canadian lobster fishermen. 6. Turtle-shaped foot rest. 7. Energy unit required to put one toe on top of another with no hands. 8. Foot foot footly. 9. Protruding end of an oxen yoke designed to keep hanging objects from falling off the ends. 10. Extender placed at the end of a bed during colonial times to allow tall people to rest their feet while sleeping. (Congratulations to Elizabeth Stone-Sterling!)
Real definition: To waste time, to talk nonsense, or noun version of same.
1. Science and study of the genode, the entire set of network points on the internet. 2. Study of clothes dryer lint. 3. Magnum opus of Herr Frankenstein. 4. Study of how to make marionettes’ heads go up and down. 5. Poetry passed on within families or clans. 6. Common sounds used by infants shared across cultures such as baba, dada, and mama. Hence the source of the name "Dadaism" adopted by the early twentieth century Surrealists. 7. Study of genomes. 8. Study of beginnings. 9. Methodology for organizing similar ideas or objects. 10. One of Scientology's chief competitors.
Real definition: The practice of playing music to grapes on the vine, believing that it will influence the flavor of the resulting wine.
1. Cheese that oozes out from the bread in a grilled cheese sandwich. 2. Tossing and turning in the night. 3. Breast-feeding a baby named Jack. 4. Rancor. 5. Throwing insults at one's opponents. 6. Ramblings of someone considered to be mad, often spoken in low tones to themselves. 7. Act of casting croutons onto Caesar's salad. 8. Over-excitement while using playground equipment. 9. Process of converting fat into muscle as a result of anaerobic, weight-bearing exercise. 10. Form of dictation carried out under the influence of Kentucky bourbon.
Real definition: False boasting or claim, especially one detrimental to the interests of others.
1. Children's table at early Thanksgiving celebrations. 2. Poor Mayflower passenger. 3. Smaller relative of the Peregrine Falcon. 4. Journey to the center of Beacon Hill. 5. Lesser-known survivor of the Mayflower expedition who had few descendants. 6. Pilgrim who has not yet proved their mettle and stoicism to the community and thus has not earned the right to wear a buckle on their hat. 7. Method of halving halls. 8. Individual who has strayed from the path to redemption. 9. Gamut of the unsavory aspects of the Pilgrims' lifestyle personified, as in "my Lower Pilgrim says yes, I will have more turkey, please." 10. Floor you keep meaning to visit, but you're not sure what's down there. Are you even allowed down there?
Real definition: The lowest level of circulating stacks at the Boston Athenæum; medium and large books on the left, small books on the right.
1. State of powerful hunger following an academic examination. 2. Ointment for curing rough elbow. 3. Disease at exam time. 4. Prescription drug whose commercials play while you're watching television with Grampy. 5. Inner workings, as of a machine. 6. Test-taking diva. 7. Male truthfulness. 8. Imaginary drug that one feeds one's brain before cramming for tests. 9. Having a long, cylindrical shape. 10. Rare but good attitude toward standardized tests.
Real definition: Of or relating to turtles.
1. Describing a herd of various equine mammals that contains one single donkey. 2. Dumb answer. 3. Describing inexplicably bad behavior. 4. Not silly. 5. Royal we. 6. Decision made unanimous because the decider made it alone without seeking someone else's input. 7. Absolutely not asinous, no way, no how; never was, never will be. Forget about it! 8. Characterized by the appearance of prominent veins. 9. Well thought out. 10. Having one nose hole. (Congratulations to Ted Chaloner!)
Real definition: Uniformly asinine.
1. Renowned scholar of, and/or expert in, the art of taking leave. 2. Person who is able to purchase the most goods for the least money in a coupon contest at a grocery store. 3. One recognized for valor. 4. Speaker at a funeral offering well wishing commentary on the cycle of life. 5. Lead valet at a hotel. 6. Leaver par excellence. 7. One who studies top achievers. 8. Very old valentine, a valentine emeritus. 9. Kid who didn't get the best grades in high school but somehow managed to survive four years with no major emotional scars. 10. Person who has never parked their own car. (Congratulations to Thomas Rankin!)
Real definition: Sickly or weak person, especially one who is constantly and morbidly concerned with his or her health.
1. Small, unidentifiable object that one fears to throw away because it might have fallen off something larger; usually found in a drawer or under furniture. 2. Powerful sneeze! 3. What a French basketball player hopes for on a free-throw. 4. Continental donkey, familiarly. 5. Grassy vale in a depression. 6. To smack oneself on the side of the head when one realizes something obvious one should have known a long time ago. 7. Small stool in the corner for students who disobey in class. 8. Divinely audible wee small noise made by the fall of a sparrow. 9. Term of respect for an individual who works successfully to broker peace between warring factions. 10. Cartoonish sound made by an Athenæum member when they realize how much time they just wasted and whack their laptop shut.
Real definition: the hybrid offspring of a male zebra and a female donkey.