I have exciting news. I know you remember how hard I was working last week. I’m certain you recall that I was working on a solar proposal for my company, Mr. Sun Solar, to solarize southwest Portland. Well, if you do recall that, you can read minds and should be in the circus, because I didn’t mention it. I was just grousing in general.
However, specifically right now I’m saying that my company got the bid. To show his appreciation for my part of the effort, designing and editing the 17 page bid and making it pretty, my boss had a plaque made for me, which really touched my heart. He presented it during our company celebration, so I read the inscription out loud.
“For Outstanding Achievement
Solaize SW Portland Proposal”
I stumbled on the word “solaize” and he said, “They misspelled solarize.” To which I said, in a voice like a brotha: “We gonna sola – ize southwest Portland” kindof drawing out the “ize” into a long whisper-like sound.
Everyone at the office got a laugh out of that, which makes me think I should do standup comedy.
I can’t blame the plaque company, it was probably the first time they’d ever seen the word. It’s a made-up word, after all. Well, I think it’s made up, but I’d better check with Google….. I’m back, and I’m wrong. It’s a real word. Here’s what Google says: “(Physics / General Physics) to treat by exposure to the sun’s rays.” I’m not curious enough to question the difference between Physics and General Physics, but if someone else wants to, have at it.
Anyway, I was going to continue this blog talking about how we make up words to suit us but you’d never find them in the dictionary – words, for instandce, like “solarize” – but now I’m screwed.
Still, there are a bunch of words that appear to be made up. Super-size is one of them. I’ll look that up….. Just as I suspected. No mention of this in a dictionary. McDonald’s gets all the credit for this made-up word.
I have been known to make these words up myself. To appear cute and funny to my kids, if I’m putting a spread of pure yellow fat on a piece of toast I’ll say, “Do you want me to butterize it?” They show their amusement by rolling their eyes. They do that a lot around here, which makes me think I should do standup.
In my head, I’m trying to think of other words I could make up with “ize” and I’ve discovered something very interesting. One syllable words don’t work very well when they’ve been ized. If I want to shovel an organic material around a new plant, saying I’m going to “dirtize” it doesn’t sound right, whereas “fertilize” sounds great. If I’m going to throw a ball really really fast, saying “speedize” it sounds weird, but saying I’m going to “rocketize” it sounds just right. Here’s one more. If I have some grape juice and I want to conduct an experiment by letting it sit out a few days, I could say I’m going to “wine-ize” it, but it will sound better saying “fermentize” it. I’ve actually conducted this exact experiment before, and what ends up happening is that I “fruitflyized” it.
Oh what fun! Don’t you just love playing with words?!! I bet I could do a whole standup routine about this one suffix. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know where and when I’ll be performing.