Antique Junk Drawer

We’re Good At Naming Stuff

This weekend, we went to Tuna to see Memaw and Papa George for Mother’s Day.  Sean really wanted to pack his own bag, so I let him.  When I checked his duffel bag, he had packed some favorite stuffed animals, several books and a Lightning McQueen diecast car.  But no underwear.  Everyone has their priorities.  Depending upon the trip, I might choose books over clean undies too.

When he was finished packing, he zipped up his bag and announced, “I got all my stuff in it!  But I’m going to call it a STUFFel bag!”  Totally cracked himself up.  And his mother too, who loves a good play on words.

With all due apologies to the town of Duffel, we like our name better and will henceforth refer to said bags as stuffel bags.

On the way back from Tuna, as we drove along the local super highway in the HOV lane, it occurred to me that High Occupancy Vehicle is not that accurate of a description because most of the cars you see only have two people in them.  In my view, two is not exactly a high rate of occupancy.

I think they should have named it the MOV lane for Multiple Occupancy Vehicle – a more accurate description, plus the marketing folks could sell it as the “move” lane, playing off the idea that the lane is “supposed” to “move” traffic.  TXDOT should really check with me on these things first.

Note:  Quotation marks in use to denote lame concept and implies eye roll. 

* * * * *

Does your family have any new and improved words?

73 thoughts on “We’re Good At Naming Stuff

  1. Am I really the first comment? See, I’ve already said a different thing on my comment!!! LOL! Yes, my daughter who is 5 has a fascination with certain kinds of words and Chinese culture, thank you “Kai-Lan” (from Nick jr). So instead of saying “fortune cookies” she says “farting cookies” (that’s how it sounded with my Argentine accent she assures me. How nice). She also used to say, “Strawberry Corkcake” and “Hallowing” And “Thumbellina” which in Spanish is “Campanita” but she always said “Patanita”. My three-year-old son just started talking, to my delight. For someone whose kids were born talking this will probably not mean anything, but to hear him speak in both English and Spanish, all of a sudden is a surprise every time I hear him, and I think, how did he learn that? But he started asking me, “What are you talking about?” and “what’ya think you’re doing?” in perfect English. Again, keep in mind that we speak strictly Spanish at home. All of them conjugate English verbs in the Spanish sense, and vice versa, and they have the most interesting translation ideas. They never cease to surprise me.
    Yes, I’ll go, but before I do, Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

  2. Being a Texan, you can appreciate our family’s affinity for good Mexican food. One of our favorite restaurants serves fresh, hot flour tortillas along with the classic chips and salsa. We had a habit of letting our kids have a tortilla with honey and butter as their appetizer, which one of the kids started calling a “Bunny and Hutter”, which is what we still call it in our family.

  3. Yes! One of the many made up words in my family is the word “narf”. Definition: when you laugh so hard that whatever you were eating or drinking comes out of your nose.

    To use it in a sentence: “Betty Jo laughed so hard at that joke that she totally narfed her milk!”

    I didn’t realize that we made up that word until about a year ago. One time my mom narfed a Jolly Rancher! Haha! Ouch. 🙂

  4. Our family word is “hurk.”

    It started out as a sort of onomatapoeic denotation of the sound one would make as one twitched violently, possibly with one arm raised higher than the other, in the aftermath of some particularly traumatic incident, an incident one was forced to endure because its primaries were family members.

    So, on the day you looked in the rearview mirror to see your 8 month old digging a finger full of fruit-cup poo out of his diaper and TASTING IT, and you have to pull over on the side of the road and clean your baby and the carseat and then yourself, you might be reduced to hurking-and-twitching.

    “Hurk” has now evolved into a transient verb, the subject being the instigator of the hurksome incident and the object being the parent (or child). Thus, at the end of my blessedly alone Mother’s Day outing, during which my husband has manfully cared for the 3 year old and the 20 month old alone and unaided, I might walk in the door and say,

    “Hi, honey, how were the boys? Did they hurk you?”

    And so on.

  5. I still use my maiden name as a play on phrases all the time – with a name like “clutter” it’s easy! My favorite of all phrases was, “Clutter: It’s not just a name; it’s a state of mind!” (Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!) As a little kiddo, I always called ketchup ‘chup’ and oreo’s were known as O-E-O’s … OK, so we weren’t the most inventive folk…

    My cousins were a little more original with their fun names. Like, ‘ung-kung-poo-e-pie’ for chocolate pie. That’s the one we talk about all the time, anyway.

    Thanks for reminding me of these fun phrase memories!!!

  6. “Scratch my underpit,” is a common phrase around here.

    Emme coined, “I can’t feel like it.” A phrase I now use every day.

    “LOOK, a chicken!” Used by the parents when we observe that our children are not listening to us, and instead displaying symptoms of ADD. It is also used by the parents on each other….

  7. Anja’s cheeks hang almost to the same level as her chin (they’re big, in other words). We call them “chumbly.”

  8. Do you happen to remember the Sniglets books? They were books with made up words for every day occurrences or items. I loved sniglets and we try to make them up on our own around here.

    I absolutely LOVE Sean’s “Stuffel Bag.” I love puns and to think he’s only four!! That’s hilarious.

    One made up word at our house is HECTICITY.
    Noun-a state of being hectic,frazzled, nervous.
    “The hecticity of our life right now, with the kids so busy, is really getting to me.”

    Also TRAFFICUOUS (tru-FIK-shu-us) Being in a state of heavy traffic. (Coined by my aunt, when I was a teenager.)
    “Boy, it’s trafficuous today…”

  9. klutzymama, I love that version of the nursery rhyme. I think we ought to finish writing it though. What would a nervous man do in a nursery rhyme?

  10. Since my kids were in their late adolescents right up to this day (youngest is 28 this week) I still get ‘eye rolls’ when I’m ready to head out the door and say…

    “Let’s make like Muppets and be Gonzo”

    But they also now smile too…

  11. LOVE Shawn’s Stuffel bag, and can’t believe my family never came up with it — we SO love the word play at my house! And I, personally, love the Muppets just as much as word play, so I think that Howdy’s getting ‘Gonzo’ is hilarious!

    Being still ‘in the 7’s’ in the morning, I can only come up with one made-up type word we use regularly (though my daughter did tell me this weekend, “You make up words like that ‘recordificate’ guy on the commercial.” I was most pleased to be compared to Frank Caliendo’s George W.’s impersonation!) To make a word more ‘delicate’ than it actually is, we simply (okay, just me) add an -age ending to it. “Um, those pants show a little crackage. You may need to change.” “I would rather not see so much of that lady’s breastage.”

    Then, one time at dinner, we all started ‘narrating’ what people were saying by adding, “She replied mournfully” or “He exclaimed excitedly” or what-have-you depending on what was said. We are JUST that dorky.

  12. Hee hee! That’s great! We play with words a lot in the circus, too.

    We told the kids we were going to the La-Z-Boy store the other day. Buddy pipes up “The lazy bum store?!”

    The name of the store has changed for us for ever more now.

  13. My husband’s name is Rich and we’re make jokes about that. It’s my name not a financial statement. Dad’s the one that’s rich. Etc.

    Not as good as stuffle bag! That’s cute.

    We have our words that the kids said when they were learning to talk……..that have become family words.

  14. Sometimes we say “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you were saying — I was extracted” instead of distracted. Seems to more accurately describe the idea of having ones attention diverted by a 4YO, which is a lot like having your brain extracted sometimes.

  15. Probably our favorite family word is “CARPET”. Ok, it’s not made up but the meaning of it when you well it is “brrrr” or that you’re cold. Because we used to say “brrr brrr” or (bur bur) which is a kind of carpet so now we just say carpet! 🙂 I guess you have to be there!

  16. Ohhh – we have a few but my favorite is “genus”. When my youngest was five (2 years ago) we were watching some kind of childrens educational show about math – this was in Colorado. The TV person asked the TV audience if anyone knew the square root of 256. My older two stared blankly while my 5 year old yelled – “16 mamma! It’s 16!”

    When the TV person announced the correct answer she was quite smug and proud of herself announcing, “I’m a Genus!” So, whenever one of us manages to actually get something right (or not), we announce that we too, are a Genus!

  17. Most of our words come from mispronunciations rather than a well thought out play on words.
    My favorites are:

    “confession” stand: place where you confess what junk food you would like while you watch the game

    “confinement” store: place where you release clothing and other goodies from their confinement

    And I will never think of chocolate the same after a sweet little foster girl we kept. She always called it “chocolick”.

  18. I love how you write this blog. It makes me laugh every day. I followed the link to “tuna” and, even more than “stuffel bag” enjoyed the “unrequited and unopened can of whoopass.” Thanks for another great break from grading purgatory.

  19. Our lexicon is smack-dab full of made up works.

    My son has a “knick-knack-name” – AJ for short.

    My daughter has an issue with spoonerisms and is forever getting words jumbled – one of my favorites that we still use today is “sparking pot” for parking spot.

  20. After a quick trip from NW Ohio to SW Florida (18 1/2 hours), I am totally thankful to God for the HOV lane through Atlanta. Perhaps they should call it “The Tourist Lane”, because otherwise we might be like the MTA (the man who never returned). I can just see the two of us riding around through Atlanta until we run out of gas.

  21. Funny stuff!

    I can only think of mispronounced words that have replaced the regular word in our family.
    -Shrawbees – strawberries
    -chocobilk – chocolate milk

    I’m sure there are more, but I’m not quite functioning at full-speed yet. 😉

  22. My darlin’ 6 year old, when she was about 3 would sing, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, or what she thought it sounded like. It was more like “Tinkle, Tinkle Ittle Staw…I know where you are”, crossed with opera. She was a tad strong spirited back then, okay, she was budding bully who needed reeled in a lot. So when she would get to the, ” I know where you are”, we would crack up because it sounded like a threat to that poor little star.
    We’ve also had a daughter who called hamsters,”Nosters”, magazines: mazageens, we moved to the “crunchy” when we moved out to the country and we went on “spacecations” instead of vacations.

  23. The only one I can think of off-hand (though I’m sure there are more) is “pooparrhea.” Pretty much self-explanatory. Our son came up with it when he was 2 or 3, and it kind of stuck.

  24. Cereal is Cersil because that’s how the kids pronounced it years ago… it stuck.

    A pick-up is a pick-em-up truck.

    Hamburgers are hangaburgers.

    And we wuv each other around here.

    (Oh and I’ve been know to let a few “damages” run around my mind a time or two.)

  25. Our youngest munchkin created the word NEXTERday – which refers to “tomorrow”. We love it and use it as often as possible!!

  26. When my fifteen year old daughter was three, she became obsessed with make-up and all things ‘girl’. During a trip to Meijer’s she kept asking for something that sounded like fiker-pol-nailish. After retracing our tracks she was reunited with the finger nail polish that continues to be one of her favorite things. We still call it fiker pol nailish and I sometimes have to stop and think about how to say it correctly!

  27. I don’t know if we’ve improved anything, but my 3yr old has us saying, “Just Tiddin'” all the time… instead of “just kiddin'”. We say it a lot.

    We say it so much that my younger brother, who is in college, accidentally said it to one of his dorm buddies one day. He said the guy just stared at him.

  28. Oh… and if I’m needing to know if I’ve got a bugger (sp?) I just tilt my head and ask my husband, “I got any stars in my sky?” He hates it.

  29. My 2 year old gets the farmer’s market and Johnny Rocket’s all mixed together and often asks to go to Farmer’s Rocket. I guess that would be where you can get some fresh grown veggies along side your hamburger and onion rings.

  30. am,
    I think your comments were even funnier than your post this time! I am still laughing and can’t think of anything better to add!

  31. We have tons of them but I have to run so I’m just going to give one, inthe spirit of Sean’s “stuffle bag”. When my niece was about Sean’s age she used the words “goosecase” and “boosecase”. Now the entire family uses both words alternately, which makes us oh-so-popular in airports and hotels, especially in foreign countries.

  32. My Peanut came up with the word “burr-bie,” which means cold. As in, “Brrr! I’m cold! I’m burr-bie!” Also over the winter she invented the concept of “cheek muffs,” which are ear muffs which extend to cover your cheeks. (“I wish I had cheek muffs to keep my cheeks warm!”)

  33. We like to use a few of the little kid-isms that have come from my middle son’s mouth over the years.
    New York = “Yew Nork”.
    Instead of asking for another serving of potatoes, you can ask for another “load” of potatoes.
    And interchanging the names of meat, poultry and fish at the dinner table is always acceptable, a teasing tribute to this child’s persistent inability to keep’em straight. (May I have more chicken? Well, it’s beef, hon’. or I like the beef! Good, but it’s chicken…)

  34. My daughter has been learning the “Ken Tomandments” (10 commandments). Never ceases to crack us up when she starts reciting them to her sister.

    We also have the word “mi-s-ell” which is a contraction of the words “might as well” (pronounced “MY-sel”).

    Oh, and if we aren’t excited about something we’re “welmed”, i.e., not overwhelmed and not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

  35. My kids are now teens, but we are still singing this song–just the way they did.
    You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
    You make me happy when skies are grapes.

  36. Whenever we are in a crowded area, my eight year old declares it “very bunchy”.

    My youngest daughter (three) calls capri pants – “paparika pants”.

    So heaven forbid we are in a bunchy place with our paparika pants on!

    I love stufflebag though!

  37. Sorry, I had to come back to read these comments which are hilarious! Since last night I wasn’t thinking straight, today I remembered my 3 yo calls the Chocolate Milano Cookies “chocolew”, so now we all call them that. And sssssanacks, ssssanakes, and so on with al words that start with “sn-“. A couple of years ago my little girl started singing “a-be-bah-yoh” over and over. It wasn’t until recently we realized she was singing the backyardigans’ song. I’ve caught my husband singing it while he’s shaving…

  38. Yep! When DS #2 was a toddler we took the boys bream fishing (you know with poles and corks and worms or crickets). He, being a toddler, had to be told when to pull in his fish. We would say, “Taylor, you have a nibble.” He would always indignantly say “I know, I know!” It was a couple of weeks later when he found a cork on the ground that we understood why he was so irritated…he said “Look Mom! I found a nibble!” From that point on, corks or floats were always referred to as ‘NIBBLES’ at our house.

  39. I thought of another one. It’s a made up word not of my blood family’s, but my church small group family. It’s the word, “Shamba,” pronounced “shahmba”. The made up meaning is “My soul agrees.” It can also be used like a spirital “woo hoo!”.

    You know after a really good time with the Lord, or a really awesome time of worship or an incredible unexpected blessing comes? And your soul wants to say “yay God!’, but that doesn’t seem quite sufficient? That’s when the word Shamba is best used. Anytime you want to say, “Yes Lord! My soul agrees!”

  40. No one in my family knows the correct words to the song “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne, so we sing it this way.
    Why’d ya have to go and make things so complicated, I see the way you’re actin’ like you’re somebody else gets me frustrated… when life’s like this you, you fall and you crawl and you break and you take what ya get and ya turn it into honestly I promise me I’m never gonna find your bacon… no.. no… no!
    I hope one day she will find his bacon…

  41. I help teach the four year old choir at church and one of the boys asked to sing “Crazy the Lord.” It took me and the other teacher a few minutes to realize he wanted to sing “Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, halleluia, Praise Ye the Lord.” So now we all call that song Crazy the Lord.

  42. One of our words is suitify A cross of “does that suit you and are you satisfied”. ” Does that suitify you?” My other favorite is when the kids have an attitude, we say ” Lower your altitude, your flying to high”.

  43. My boys (5 & 3) call their 1 year old sister’s attempts at drawing “dribbling,” and I can’t bear to tell them it’s really SCRIBBLING. Haven’t checked out the etymology of scribbling, but it sure looks like dribble!

  44. Not so long after a family reunion on my father’s side of the family, my maternal grandfather passed away. Because it was Christmastime, many family members were off work and able to make it to the funeral. My young daughter kept calling it the “refuneral”. Grandpa would have liked that.

  45. I used to work with a silly girl who was famous for getting song lyrics wrong. She was a big fan of Prince and his song “Little Red Corvette.” Her version was “Pay the Rent, Collette.” LOVE that and sing those words any time I hear the song.

  46. Being an American abroad can be pretty funny. My grandson was attending a local pre-school. Now, I need to explain that ‘p’ and ‘f’ are used inter-changablely here in the Philippines. So when he got home and his mom asked him what he had done in school, he replied, “I got to make a crap!” Since both parents are not all that keen on the crafts kids are caused to make in such situations, the name has stuck!

    My third son, who as a 2 1/2 year old was kind of afraid of chickens, was looking at a picture of a big old turkey. I asked if we should get one of those. He looked nervous. I said, “They don’t have teeth.” He looked at the picture mulling this over and finally said, “Got sharp lips!”

  47. My now five year old used to talk about lasterday, you know, the day that just happened? Now, we refer to lasterday at my house and she corrects us, saying, “no mommy, you mean yesterday!” I think lasterday totally works better, kinda like stuffel!

  48. Here at the Casa, the go-to non-word is squatcha.

    squatcha: (n) stuff, crap, trash, junk.
    How was that squatcha I made for dinner?
    Can you move all your squatcha?

    We also have prosity. My mom always said to me ‘what’s that got to do with the price of tea in china?’

    So, I’ve always said it. I only found out a few years ago that what the kids couldn’t figure out was what the heck was ‘prosity,’ because (as a testament to my horrendous Texas accent) what they were hearing was ‘what’s that got to do with the prosity in China?’

  49. I have two or three for you, thanks to my youngest daughter:

    1. Doing preschool flash cards about baby animal names with my then-3-year-old – Me: “Hayden, what do you call a baby sheep?” Hayden, without hesitation: “A BEEP!” Me: ROTFL. (Get it? Baby + Sheep = Beep!) Oh, mercy….

    2. We’re in the car driving somewhere and Hayden (probably age 4 at the time) says, “Mom, I need a drink. I’m HICCING UP!” Gotta love it.

    3. Background: I decorate cakes for friends sometimes. Setting: my mother-in-law’s house, at the dinner table Situation: trying to get my 3-year-old to eat pot roast, mashed potatoes and peas so as not to insult said mother-in-law. She takes a bite! I say, “See, Grandma’s a good cook.” Hayden replies, “And you’re a good CAKER!”

  50. I just had to stop lurking (as I’ve done for almost a year now!lol) and tell you, when my youngest was 3 years old, and asking “what’s this? What’s that?”…Marc asked me “mom? they call these arm sleeves, (as he’s pulling on his completley pulled out of shape
    hand me down shirt sleeve) right?” and of course, I said, yes…then Marc picked his leg by his pant leg,
    and said “so why arent these called FOOT
    SLEEVES?”…ok, got me there….and here I am 27 years later, still pondering over that most innocently, but brilliantly asked question…

  51. ohhh one more…sorry…I am an identical twin sister and am the second born…My mother loved telling us these stories of how funny we were as children, …Mom’s favorite story was, when people asked me my name or my twin sisters name, I would say “she’s Bobbie and I’m the Other Bobbie”….I still have cousins calling me “Other Bobbie”…………lol makes me laugh now remembering stories mom would tell us…I lost Mom last Aungust and as it still hurts, thank YOU for making me smile as I send a kiss up to heavan for mom!

  52. Ah, so now I learn that Duffel Bag actually comes from Duffel, to wich I live very close!


  53. “Gray-doh” is that mass of stuff of indeterminate color that you are left with once your toddler has hopelessly smushed together the various colors of play-doh to which he has access.

    “Chair Chow” is that stuff left over in his booster seat that your kid will eat even though it’s no longer something that could be considered food.

  54. Awf-fries = French Fries

    fum it= smell it

    brefkist= breakfast

    baboo= pacifier

    All of these words were developed by 2 adorable toddlers that are now amazing 15 and 18 year olds that call me mom!

  55. I had to laugh at Tami’s “NEXTerday” for tomorrow, because around here we refer to yesterday as LASTerday!


  56. Tuna? Really? I saw that the Tuna guys — you know the two guys who write plays based in Tuna, Texas — had a new production out in Fort Worth and urged my daughter to go…

    But you have a personal connection?

  57. Hideous and odoriferous – hideodorous so ugly is stank.

    Guess and estimation – guesstamation If my guesstamation is correct dinner should be done in…

    Moral necessity – it’s so right you just have to do it.

    I can’t think of any others although I know we have more.

  58. My son calls Christian music CDs his GOD CDs! He would sing along to “He is exhausted the King is exhausted on High” and my reply was, “I’m sure he is son, I’m sure he is”.

  59. damn-baids, instead of band-aids. Bones instead of Jones. And Abel packs just like Sean does, only he’s a few years older. So don’t expect it to end anytime soon.

  60. The two lines that run from under your nose to your upper lip are called “Sub-lap-pages”…subnasal lateral parallel ridges! My husband and his roommate made this up in college after drinking.

  61. Don’t have time to read the comments, but I will come back. I bet you have some good ones. My husband calls my feet, “stinkers”. My little stinkers, yeah yeah yeah!! I think it’s funny, though it makes me blush!

  62. My son dubbed the “Waffle House” as the “Awful House” when he was 2. Hmmm.

    My daughter did not wear bathing suits to swim in. She wore “baking suits.”

    Oh those wacky zany kids.

  63. My granddaughter came to visit one time without her “swimming soup”. I, of course, had to ask her about it several times as she was just so gosh darn cute and so serious about telling me that she didn’t know why they didn’t pack her swimming soup. My brother, as a toddler, explained some behavior as happening because he was confused, he was “all fused up”. We use this explanation to this day, although he’s been gone for several years, and Mom no longer always remembers who I am, she still smiles that knowing smile when I say it’s ok to be “all fused up”.

  64. LOVE the stufflebag; that is so very accurate!
    In our family, I can only think of two at the moment though I’m sure there are many more:
    My youngest (4 1/2) called donut holes with cinnamon, “Cinammon Rolls.” I think that’s appropriate.
    In the winter, we do a lot of “snowveling” (snow shoveling) around here.

  65. When my son was small it was a treat to go get a “hamberguber at burber king” or go to “Frucky Chicken” – We still call Kentucky Fried Chicken, Frucky Chicken and he’s 29 years old!

  66. Been thinking about this fun post, and then the other day, my 3-yr. old said he had a “stummy ache”–stomach? tummy? It’s hard to make sense of our wacky language sometimes.

  67. In our family, we don’t make up words. We delete them. I think we are down to about 28 total words, and when a new word is required, we refer to it as a whatchamacallit, a what’s-his-name (or what’s-his-face), a thingie, or the like. Any time we are running a quick errand, we just say “I’m running to the top of the hill.” What store? For what? WHAT HILL? No one knows. We’ve been saying it like that since my mom was a child.

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