“Is ‘orbisculate’ a word? The late Neil Krieger’s children want it to be.” That’s the title of a recent Boston Globe article.
“Hilary Krieger, now 43 and an editor for NBC News’s THINK, was 24 when she used it with a friend… ‘We were eating fruit – I believe it was oranges – and I said, it ‘orbisculated on you.’ [The friend] was like, ‘That’s not a word. … My first feeling was pity. Like, this is going to be embarrassing when he finds out that this is a word.'”
Except that it wasn’t. It was a creation of her father. “Neil Krieger was a scientist and entrepreneur. After 20 years teaching neuroscience…, he founded West Rock Associates, a biotech grant recruitment firm. He was committed to civil rights activism and was involved with the Boston chapter of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality).
“Krieger died of complications from COVID-19 on April 29. He was 78.
“Now his adult children are on a mission. They want ‘orbisculate’ added to the dictionary, to honor their father. (Also, it’s a perfectly useful intransitive verb, they say.) They’ve launched a website with a petition to dictionary editors.”
And on the website is the post How to Break into a Dictionary.
“The way a word qualifies for inclusion is when it’s being used by a lot of people. Dictionaries employ scores of editors to scour the English language for new words and check whether they’re being used often and widely. And like many things, the best way to get a word used widely is by word of mouth…
“But there was, of course, a catch. Dictionary editors only count certain types of uses of the word: When it’s used in context. That means that references to the word as a word, rather than employing it for what it means, don’t get added to their count.”
OK. “I hold the Friskies cat food can away from me when I open it, lest it orbisculate on me.” BTW, this is true.
The Krieger family is “also selling T-shirts with the word on them; all proceeds benefit Carson’s Village, an organization that helps families with resources right after a loss (the group does everything from helping to coordinate burials to setting up obituaries, for free).”
I am sympathetic because I’m a big fan of the word lunaversary. It’s made it into the Urban Dictionary, but its example is terrible. “Our 4-month lunaversary is on Saturday.” NO! “Our fourth lunaversary is on Saturday.” Yes!
The Merriam-Webster people are looking at the ‘-iversary’ word part. “Monthiversary (with its variant monthaversary) to be the strongest contender for full establishment in the language.” [SHUDDER!] Mensiversary would be OK, I guess, but one loses the sense of the insanity of new love.