Sniglets: Words With Power

A "Sniglet" is any word that should be in the dictionary, but isn't. For example: Bovilexia--the uncontrollable urge to lean out the car window and yell "moo" as you pass a herd of cows (you know who you are). This concept was introduced by Rich Hall in the 1980's, and I've always loved the idea. Just make up your own words--because words have power. This is especially true in our daily professional lives, and sniglets hold the key to new successes.

Neologisms and Sniglets

Consider that every word at some point or another was a new word, or neologism. I personally like the word "Sniglet" better, just because its more fun to say and neologism sounds like I'm taking the SATs or involved in clinical trials. Language has evolved over time, and every year we add new words to the dictionary. We do this because we are constantly finding better ways to say what we mean.

We also do this because words have power. Words are the most artful and important mechanism available to us to shape our environment. To influence. To invite. To invoke. For example, if I say the word doorway, it creates an image in your mind. Now think about how the image changes if I say passageway. Technically, these are synonyms, but the words create entirely different images.

Not too long ago, I showed up at work early and snow had blanketed the parking lot. Since there were no other cars, I took my best guess at where to park. By the time I came out in the evening, the snow had melted and it struck me: I was Shmarking. Shmarking is the awkward moment created when there's snow on the ground as you're parking and then you come out in the evening and the snow has melted and it just looks like you don't know what the hell you're doing. Feel free to use it. We've all done it.

With that said, I have used Sniglets to help define my business life as well. I use them regularly. Innovation and Sustainability are two very important, but very played-out words. I use Sustainovation. It's what I do. The concept that innovation must be made sustainable, and that sustainability could and should be innovative.

Great Business Sniglets

There are a multitude of great business Sniglets I've heard or created, and I want to share some of my favorite business ones here (thanks to the many people responsible for creating and shaping these):

  • Blamestorm: To sit around in a group discussing who is responsible for the latest failure.
  • Ledzecutive: A middle-aged businessman who still plays in a rock-and-roll band, or would like to.
  • Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.
  • Namenesia: Remember everything about a person except their name.
  • Voluntold: Being volunteered to do something by your boss.
  • Adminisphere: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
  • Drainchild: Not all brainchildren work well so we need a word for a bright idea that drains resources without benefit.
  • Truthiness: Resembles or has the elements of truth, but isn't 100% true.
  • Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
  • PIPs: Previously important persons. You'll always hear about how important they used to be.
  • Bureaucracide: Death by bureaucracy, often by thousands of small paper cuts.

I'm confident that at least one of these words you've heard or used before, and my hope is that even more will find their way into your daily vernacular. So if you lack the words to say what you mean, just make it up! Since words have power, don't be without your unique voice, or be limited to those sad words in the dictionary. So Snigletize your life and share your favorites here.

Team Us.

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