This weekend, as I was being massaged by a friend (we were practising for our Thai massage course) I inadvertently made up a new word, which suited its need perfectly and for which, as far as I am aware, a synonym does not exist in the English language. The word?

‘Flopen’: adj applied to joints in a massage context when they are very flexible and open, and therefore a substantial amount of force is required for a stretch to be felt.

For example (and indeed it was in this particular example that the word came into being):

Me to the masseur: ‘My hip are very flopen, therefore feel free to give it some welly.’

It made me think of a handful of other made-up words that I have come to embrace during my life, thanks to the ingenuity of various friends and family. Here is a list of my favourites below, with the story behind each one’s inception:

  1. Frumble – this is a word coined by one of my sisters, for those internal, well, frumbles that you get in your belly due to trapped wind, where it feels like a pocket of air is releasing and bubbling up through your innards. Seriously, it’s the best word I can think of to describe them. Almost onomatopoeic in its aptness.
  2. Eggjaculate – a friend of mine brilliantly used this phrase recently as I sank my teeth into a bacon and egg buttie in a greasy spoon cafe, and was surprised by the runniness of the yolk, which splurted all down my trousers. Of course, it landed in the groin area – it always does, doesn’t it?
  3. Nowstalgia – the feeling of mis-placed nostalgia engendered by viewing photos that have only just been taken. I can’t remember who exactly coined this phrase, but it was definitely formulated during one of countless ‘one-pint-thinking’ brainstorms with my lake district friends in an Ulverston pub, probably following a sweaty Ultimate Frisbee session. It was at the time when digital cameras still elicited an ‘oooh’ of novelty and when people still experienced the sweet anticipation of nostalgia whilst waiting for their holiday snaps film to be developed at Boots, not to mention the inevitable anticlimax when they were finally ready due to the inability of old-school cameras to delete any photos where your double chin eclipsed the shot.
  4. Yogsplurt – in a similar vein to eggjaculate, this is a word I have coined in the past to encapsulate the universal truth that nothing explodes quite so spectacularly as a dropped yoghurt.

I am sure I have many more of these lurking in the back of my brain, being someone that loves playing with words, so if I remember any more I will share them with you. And if you have any that have come to be part of your own adopted vocabularly, I’d love to hear them. The evolution of language is a subject that fascinates me… 🙂 (In fact, the use of emoticons peppering writing is another interesting facet of this – I am not immune to the alleged ‘dumbing down’ of language it seems!)

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