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Neologism Bridesmaid Moves Up at Last

by Bob Levey

The 46th time was the charm.

Hank Wallace, of Northwest Washington, has entered our monthly neologism contest since it began nearly 18 years ago. By his calculation, he has made bridesmaid status 45 times. Don't even ask if that's a record. It's a Record-with-a-capital-R.

But now that the October contest is history, so is Hank's status as runner-up. He has burst into the winner's circle with one of the better made-up words it has ever been my pleasure to behold.

The October challenge, faced by Hank and about 3,000 fellow wordsmiths, was:

If Bill Clinton were ever to encounter Monica Lewinsky again, that meeting would best be described as a...

Hank's winning entry:

Creepeat.

In case you have forgotten, Monica Lewinsky labeled the president "The Big Creep" during her famous tell-all phone calls to Linda Tripp. Therefore, a repeat with The Creep sounded to me like a clear winner.

Hank Wallace was born and raised in Middletown, N.J. He worked as a newspaper reporter when he was still in high school. If there were any justice, that would explain his skill with words.

But he ascribes that talent to his parents, Irv (an optometrist) and Florence (an optician). His mother is "extremely analytical," said Hank, over a victory lunch of fish at McCormick & Schmick's. His father has "a sense of whimsy." You might say that, between them, they gave their son an eye for language (groan!).

Our winner is trained as a lawyer, but he hasn't practiced since moving to Washington in 1980. He runs a seminar series called "Write and Speak Like the News." The idea is to clean up the way people communicate. To judge from "creepeat," one guy's language doesn't need any cleaning whatsoever. Well done!

Almosts and Nearlies for October were:

Thwanthong: Bob Wise, of Columbia (former champ Jayne Townend submitted "Swanthong").

No Beret-ner: Jay Raman.

Cele-beret-ion: Lisa Lukacs.

Internlewd: Mark Gilder, of Gaithersburg.

Re-groping: Hannah Fisher.

Deja Rue: Mary Frances Ryan, of Capitol Hill, first, then many, many more.

Mistryst: Michael Mandelblatt, of Takoma Park.

Re-vamp: Neal Miller, of Portland, Ore.

Wrong-dez-vous: Greg Coxson.

Many-lust Destiny: Dave Prevar, of Annapolis.

Dresstiny: Former champ Marlene B. Cohen, of Columbia.

Return Tripp: Len Greenberg, of Sterling.

Lust Cause: Steve Rochon.

Trollapse: Former champ Tom Witte, of Gaithersburg.

Reincarnalization: Jean Houston, of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Crassignation: Ruth A. Almeida, of Arlington.

Trippst: Cathy Malcomb, of Owings Mills, Md., and the team of Alan D. Lichtman and Jonina Duker, of North Bethesda.

Retern: Steve Kopstein.

Randyvous: Gene Stewart, of Arlington, Clarence M. Johnson, of Beltsville, Jack Carey, of Reston, former champ John O'Byrne, of Dublin, and Tom Witte again.

Lewaison: Noelle Martin.

Tryst of Fate: Aileen Childers, then many more just like hers.

Grryst: Arva Jackson, of Potomac.

Rueunion: E. James Lieberman.

Paramourons: Ben Franklin, of Leesburg.

Fatal Compli: Sandy Modell.

Blueper: Jenni Arnett.

Downtern: Tom Whitehead.

Moniculpa: Marian Carlsson, of Lexington, Va.

Deja Who?: Sidney Secular, of Silver Spring.

Spreeunion: Howard Walderman, of Columbia.

Non Sexuitur: Neal Shawen, of Falls Church.

Reinternment: Lynn Roussey, of Silver Spring, and Howard Schneiberg.

Disasthim: Ernest L. Ruffner.

And Deja-Woooooo!: Pat Chapin, of Rockville.

That'll do it for the president, after three months of neologizing about him. For the November challenge, we turn our attention to the only thing better than love or lust: food.

Losing weight is a national obsession. But some dieters don't give it their all. What do you call people who eat a six-course meal and wash it down with diet soda "because I'm watching my weight"? (Click to see winning entries)

First prize consists of (what else?) food: a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sanely close to Washington. Diet soda will be served on request.

Contest rules: You may enter as often as you like, on one piece of paper or several. Joint entries are welcome. So are entries submitted by fax (202-334-5150) or e-mail (leveyb@washpost.com). Entries must bear day and evening phone numbers, including area code(s). All entries become my property. Entries will not be accepted by phone or returned. In case of duplicate winning entries, I'll choose the one I receive first.

Please mail entries to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071. Entries for the November contest must be received by Nov. 30.

© 2000 Bob Levey (leveyb@washpost.com).
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.


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