Says You!, the weekly radio game of "words and whimsy, bluff and bluster," is co-sponsoring a neologistic challenge with Addictionary, the online open dictionary for words that don't exist in the English language, "but perhaps should." (Addictionary calls these coinages "werds.")
The six finalists for the neologism crown are:
Nagivator (pronounced with a hard g): The person in charge of reading the map/directions and telling the driver which way to go and "how" they should go about executing said directions.
Strawphilactic: The little piece of paper that a server leaves on the end of a straw when a non-alcoholic drink is brought to you.
Rejuvenalia: All the products that are found in the beauty and anti-aging aisle of the pharmacy.
Vulch: To hang over a counter or other surface like a vulture, scanning for something you want.
Pluperfection: The nostalgic sentiment that "things were so much better in the old days."
Scunge: The slightly frothy mixture of brown scum, hair, sputum, dirt and other unidentifiables you get left in a ring around baths and at the bottom of showers.
Here's how I'd rate these inventions:
Nagivator makes witty sense when you hear it, but is a little too confusing in print: -gi- in English is usually pronounced with a soft consonant.
Strawphilactic is clever and fluid. But its usefulness strikes me as limited.
Rejuvenalia is a nicely crafted blend ("rejuvenate" plus "regalia"). It piggybacks on the recent popularity of rejuvenile, which is the title of a 2006 book and blog by Christopher Noxon (great palindromic surname, by the way). Rejuvenalia is fun to say and fills a need, but it may be just a tad too derivative.
Vulch is the only truncation in the lineup, and I give it points for attempting something more challenging than a word-blend. Vulch follows the examples of veg (as in "veg out"), natch, and ridic--a popular teen linguistic trend ("The Ling"). Points to vulch for orginality and for a vivid word-picture.
Pluperfection has grown on me. To fully appreciate this word you need to know that the pluperfect is (among other things) the tense of wistfulness: "If only you had been there." It's often called "past perfect." Its secondary meaning is "more than perfect" (the literal translation of plus quam perfectum). Very nice.
Scunge most likely is a blend of "scum" and "grunge," either of which would work just fine. I'm not sure the language needs a new name for this stuff.
My vote goes to pluperfection, with vulch a close runner-up. Register at Addictionary (free) and cast your own vote to see which way the werd wind is blowing. Results will be published Nov. 17.