Not long ago, I was handed a block of text and asked to jazz it up a little. The copy was surprisingly well-written, until I got to the word "impactful."
I'd never seen it before, so I did some googling (pausing long enough to appreciate that "googling" has become a verb). A quick visit to urbandictionary.com confirmed what I suspected:
Impactful: A non-existent word coined by corporate advertising, marketing and business drones to make their work sound far more useful, exciting and beneficial to humanity than it really is. This term is most frequently used in team building seminars and conferences in which said drones discuss the most effective ways to convince consumer zombies to purchase crap they clearly do not need or even want.
I shared my findings with the boss, fully expecting pushback (depending on the dictionary you consult, "pushback" isn't a word, either). After all, I once worked for CEO who was informed that a word he kept using didn't exist. Unconcerned, he had it emblazoned on an enormous plaque in the lobby.
But lucky for me, the boss who suggested "impactful" took things in stride.
"It may not be a real word," he said, "but it should be."
I can't argue with that.
One of my favorite words in the English language is "crazynuts." I'm reminded daily by my iPhone, my email program, and the spellcheck function in my word processing software that "crazynuts" is not a real word.
I don't care.
Because sometimes, there's no better way to tell my gentleman friend how I feel than to say I'm crazynuts about him. If an acquaintance is acting particularly wackadoo (one of my agent's favorite fake words), I can think of no better word to describe the behavior than crazynuts.
Incidentally, while crafting this blog post, I was in the middle of an email exchange with my agent and the publisher of my interactive fiction title, Getting Dumped. When someone used the words "romancy" and "mystery-y," it was all I could do to keep from shrieking, my point exactly!
Do you have a favorite non-word you firmly believe should be a real word? Please share!
And since I haven't given out a free book for awhile, how about I award a signed copy of Believe it or Not to the person with the best fake word?
Share and define your favorite made-up word in the comments, and tell me why it should be a real word. I'll pick a winner at noon on Sunday, April 29 and will announce it in next Monday's post.