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The Family Member Who Wins It for Claudia

by Bob Levey

Yes, said Claudia Grillo, without the slightest hesitation, there is "one in particular." She's a dyed-in-the-wool family member, and "she'll know who she is."

Now you do, too – the member of Claudia's family whom all the other members dislike. But that "one in particular" has now propelled Claudia to a brief, shining moment of fame. She has won our January neologism contest.

The January challenge, to which Claudia and about 3,000 fellow make- up-a-word enthusiasts responded, was:

The one relative that all the other relatives hate is called a...

Claudia's winning entry:


That's "nincompoop," obviously, with "kin" welded onto the front of it. How neat. How perfect.

Our winner has been a Washingtonian since the age of 4, when she arrived here from Bolivia. She attended National Cathedral School, Bryn Mawr College and the University of Maryland.

She lives in Rockville and works as a paralegal for the Food and Drug Administration. She's the wife of Carlos Aguilar and the mother of their 3-year-old son, MarcAndreu.

"I had a gut feeling I'd win," said our winner, as she downed a flatiron steak sandwich and the occasional french fry at Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda. I had the same feeling as soon as I saw her entry. A standout. Congratulations.

Almosts and Nearlies for January were:

Bloodzilla: Jan Verrey.

Carp-uncle: Peter Pover of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Repellaunt (and similar forms): Betty Y. Edge of Vienna first, then 11 others.

Nephewrious: Nancy Ferris of Durham, N.C.

Evil Kinevil: Neil Shawen of Falls Church.

Relashun: Mary E. Hornsby of Normandy Park, Wash., first, then a throng: 45 identical entries.

Funkle: Karen Kenworthy.

Hate Males: Dan Eckstein.

Abhorraunt (and similar forms): Carl Katz first, then the deluge: 23 more just like his.

Genotripe: Jim Taylor of Alexandria.

Clanathema: Carole Lyons of Arlington.

DNAin't: Karen Kenworthy again.

Auntie Depressant: Karen Kenworthy yet again.

Bumkin: Cindy Weldon of Gainesville, then 14 others.

Auntithesis: Jean Stewart of Northwest Washington.

Auntagonist: Spencer Lu of Gaithersburg, Kimberly McLaren, Lori Spak, Ed Drake and the team of Edith and Alan Stein of Silver Spring.

Skuncle: Ron Cannizzaro of Reston, Nancy Greenblatt of Laurel, Jim McKain of Great Mills, Md., and Harise Poland.

Kindread: An all-time winner for ties – 47 of them. Suzanne Zolldan of Vienna was first.

Kinathema: Teg Allen.

Kinkersore: Richard Stromberg of Front Royal, Va.

Kinsufferable: Collier Irvin of Reston.

Hellative: Alan Gross of Alexandria, barely ahead of 15 others.

In-Flaws: Carl Schwan of Great Falls, Ben Jennings of Hoboken, N.J., and Chuck Lindell of Alexandria.

Auntiegeddon: Natalia Soriano.

Nixed-of-kin: Rich Koffman of Bethesda.

Dissendant: Melody Yavener of Potomac.

Revilative: Bob Patrick first, 11 others tied for second.

Heirhead: Former champ Marlene B. Cohen of Columbia.

Groan-pa: Gerald Kahn of Bowie.

Persona Non Grandma: Tom Owens of Bowie and Debra Stracke Anderson.

Pa-riah: Randall Hawkins of Arlington.

Kintrarian: Recent champ Jonathan Hutson of Montgomery Village.

Clantagonist: Kelly Erno.

Skuzz'n: Deborah R. Smith of Bethesda, Michael Levy of Silver Spring, Paul Sisco, Mary Hornsby again and Jan Verrey again.

Mother-in-Craw: Mary Hornsby yet again.

Hater Familias: The team of Herman N. Cohen and Carolyn Grillo of Rockville.

Nemesister: Dotty Wolf and Nancy Ferris again.

Toxkin: Becky Reickel of Walkersville, Md.

Smellative: Jack Elliott of Ashburn.

Auntie Pesto: Gilda Del Signore of Northwest Washington.

And a true sidesplitter... A Success: H.E. Cross Sr. of Silver Spring.

Really exceptional, gang. Let's see if the neologistic hot streak carries over into the second month of the year. Here's the February challenge. It's based on a suggestion by Warren Wood.

The female of a couple is getting dressed for the evening. She cruises up to the male of the couple in her fancy new dress and asks, "Does it make me look fat?" This no-way-to-win question is called a... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize is guaranteed to make you look fatter than you were before you sat down. It's a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sanely near Washington.

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 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 February contest must be received by Feb. 28.

© 2003 Bob Levey (
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

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