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A Neologism Victory for Greg the Engineer

by Bob Levey

His entry was short and very sweet: "For March neologism, try: trappease," wrote Greg Coxson of Moorestown, N.J.

I'm still trying it, Greg. Trying to find something wrong with it. But I find only things right with it. Which is why Greg reigns as the winner of our monthly neologism contest.

Greg did get one thing wrong: the month of the contest. It's the February installment you won, kind sir, not the March one. I suspect you're too busy not looking gift horses in the mouth to care.

Greg was one of 3,000 make-up-a-word enthusiasts to try the February challenge. It was:

The female of the 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...

Greg's winning word appears above. It's a neat fusion of "trapeze" (in which the queried husband seems suspended), "appease" (which any of his answers might appear to try to do), "trap" (he's caught in one) and "ease" (he may never enjoy any again). Anne Shively of Ashburn submitted the same entry, but later than Greg.

Our winner grew up in Alexandria and graduated from its public schools. He went on to the University of Virginia (BA in physics) and the University of Wisconsin (two graduate degrees in electrical engineering).

Greg works as a radar systems engineer for Lockheed Martin. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons they adopted in Russia: 3-year-old Gabriel and 2-year-old Michael.

Jennifer would like the world to know that she has never flogged her husband with "the fat question." "We don't even have a mirror," she said during a victory lunch of sauteed scallops at Kinkead's.

How did a science guy get so good at words? Greg ascribes it to the Latin classes he took in the good old days at George Washington High School. Nice to hear that a hometown boy made good because of his hometown education. Well done!

Almosts and Nearlies for February were:

Bunundrum: Recent champ Lindsey Croft.

Husbind: Spencer Lu of Germantown.

Fawndary: Jan Verrey.

Syllargeism: Karen Kenworthy.

Adiposer: Manny Smith of Silver Spring, then 11 others.

Quandearie: Edith and Alan Stein of Silver Spring.

Thinquizition: Carl R. Katz of Potomac first, then 14 others.

Ovoid-Dance: Araminta Hammond of Northwest Washington.

Quizmet: Ben Schwalb of Severna Park.

Paunchtiffication: Karen Kenworthy again.

Dissaskher: Brenda S. Holley and Judith W. Wood of Culpeper.

Flabbhergaster: Dan Eckstein of North Potomac.

Wed-Alert: Last month's champ, Claudia Grillo.

Voir Dare: Lynn Haase of Kent, Wash.

Rotundrum: Royce Brand.

Heraskmeant: Paul Kocak of Syracuse, N.Y.

Fatricide: Doug Lamborne and Jeffrey M. Myers.

Heifermation: Jan Verrey again.

Calamatey: Former champ Jayne Townend.

Thinquiry: James Calder first, then at least 50 others.

Cataquizzem: Former champs Joe Bangiolo and Melissa Yorks of Gaithersburg.

Mentrapment: LeRon Bielak of Hamilton.

Spousetrap: Debbie Chite of Olney, Doug Samuelson of Annandale, Kim Bush of Leesburg, Carolyn Kelly Lindell and Roger Hammons.

Fatch-22: Dann Sklarew and Missy Hall.

Savoirdupois: Rina Hakimian.

No-Gainer: Tim Kral of Waldorf and Sharon Clarke of Falls Church.

Venus Guy-Trap: Steve Towne.

Thinderrogatory: Former champ Roger Gilkeson of Northwest Washington.

Testosteruin: Elaine Lawrence of Ellicott City.

Conjugation: Janice Woodward.

Honundrum: Alice Houk of Gaithersburg.

Henigma: Former champ Sidney Secular of Silver Spring.

And a truly great one... Catch 22-24-38: Laurie Jarema.

One of the best months ever, gang. Let's see how you fare with the March challenge, which was suggested by Brendan O'Byrne:

The plastic bars that food stores use to separate purchases on checkout conveyor belts are called... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize is anything but plastic. 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 March contest must be received by March 31.

With that, dear friends, I vanish on vacation for the next 10 days. While I'm away, there will be something new and different in the space my column usually fills.

On Monday, The Post will begin testing four comic strips that are being considered for publication. For details, you can take a look today at the box underneath Dear Abby on the next page.

I'll see you again in these precincts on March 17.

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

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