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A Sweet One Wins Missy Neologistic Honors

by Bob Levey

Do you shake that itty-bitty packet, Missy Hall?

"Yes, I certainly do. Every single time," she said. Thus was born a neologistic winner for May.

Missy, who lives in Glasgow, Ky., was one of about 3,000 word-maker-uppers to take aim at our monthly neologism contest, where I pose a situation and ask readers to coin a word to describe it. When the smoke had cleared, I judged her entry best in show.

The May challenge was:

What do you call the little shake that people give a packet of sugar or artificial sweetener to settle the contents before they rip it open?

Missy's winning creation:


You'll pardon the pun, but that's a mighty sweet one.

Missy found a way to put "sucrose" and "oscillation" together, much as coffee and a packet of sugar are put together in a thousand cups. For her pains, Missy wins a free lunch, at a restaurant of her choice in the Washington area. We agreed that she'd redeem the prize as soon as she's in this area to claim it, or as soon as I'm in Kentucky.

Missy, 32, is a recruiter in the southeastern United States for R.R. Donnelley, the giant publishing company. How did she latch onto Levey's neologism derby? Her story will gladden the hearts of my bosses (you do have hearts, don't you, gang?).

"I read The Washington Post online every day," Missy said. She got into the habit of reading The Post on paper about 14 years ago, when she began college.

A political science professor "required me to read a major newspaper every day," Missy said. She chose The Post because of its political coverage, got the Postie habit and has never lost it.

Missy says she'll never lose another habit: entering this contest. Long may she wave. "Sucroscillation" is a very, very good brainstorm.

Almosts and Nearlies for May were:

Shakedown: William Van Berg of Rockville, Ed Geisler of Vienna , William Steier of Kew Gardens, N.Y., Geoff Young of Harwood, Janice Brown of Palmyra, Va., and the team of Jaspreet Guram and Rebecca Ferguson.

Glucoax: Don Gatling of Gaithersburg.

Fructoss: Jill H. Wilson of Chantilly, recent champ Ronald Jackson of Northwest Washington and Herb Sargent of New York City.

Saccharasank: Priscilla K. Kirby of Oakton.

Shoogie: Sam Mecum of Lancaster, Pa.

Ahhhscillation: Former champ Sidney Secular of Silver Spring.

Sweet 'n' Lower: Joe Godles and Becky Bond.

Preripquisite: Bill Deye and Jeff Short.

Sucrifuging: Jean B. Stewart of Northwest Washington.

Dextrosterity: Howard Harrell and (with a slightly different form) Thom Watson.

Carbogyrate: Carolyn Goldman.

Confectioneering: Don Gatling again.

Prepouration: Jim Taylor of Alexandria, Sally Stokes and Caroline Hull.

Aspertamp: Peter Pover of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Aspartremor: Marc LeGoff of Northwest Washington.

Aspertaming: Nancy Ryback of Burke.

Sucroflick: Ray A. Stevens.

Predispoursition: Alice Velky of Bowie.

Anripitation: Dr. William J. Rauch.

Nutraswing: Amy Brannon of Springfield.

Nutra Swat: Former champ Cathy Smith Caviness of Clifton.

Sackerin': Bernard J. Lechman of Cumberland, Md.

Sacchawringing: Bill Mandle of Silver Spring.

Sweettledown: Jayaram Rajaram of Owings Mills, Md.

Drop Flick: Edward C. Nykwest of Reston.

Pre-Tear-Natural Shake: John Held.

Thwaccharin': Neil Shawen of Falls Church.

Sack-Re-Lodge: Phil Frankenfeld of Northwest Washington.

Low 'n' Sweet: Matt Pernick of Oakton.

Conflicktion: C.J. Liotta of Laurel.

Pre-Dumptual: Phyllis Jones.

Tearantella: Former champ Tom Witte of Gaithersburg.

Habit Tap: Debbie Smulski of Sterling.

And Anteclumpmax: Clarence M. Johnson of Beltsville.

Really excellent, gang. Let's hum right along to the June challenge, where we pay tribute to one of the classic pastimes of the sixth month, graduation:

At the beginning of every graduation, the assembled throngs are asked not to applaud until ALL graduates have received diplomas. But it never fails. A few people will shout out, "You're the greatest!" or "I love you, baby!" as a family member walks across the stage, reaching with the left and shaking with the right. These shout-out graduation scofflaws are called...

First prize is as traditional as a cap and gown (and just about as expensive): a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sensibly near Washington. The winner will not be allowed to shout out until all courses are served, and all plates are removed.

Contest rules: You may enter as often as you like. 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 June contest must be received by June 30.

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

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