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A few days ago, I awoke after about nine hours of sleep with this dreadful sluggish feeling in my mind and body. It was as though I had stepped a half-inch out of reality. This was the result of having too much sleep.

Did you know there is no word for getting too much sleep in the English language? I’ve checked a couple of online dictionaries for too much sleep and nothing comes up. The term sleep deprivation is used for not getting enough sleep, which tends to be a common problem in the United States. Obviously, too much sleep is either a rarity or not considered enough of an issue to grant it dictionary space.

I’d like to suggest a word to at least describe the physical sensations resulting from too much sleep: doppy. This is a word coined by my brother John for exactly this purpose. Don’t confuse doppy with dopey, as the online dictionaries do. It’s pronounced with a short “o.”

When I talked to Erik about the lack of a term for too much sleep, he immediately said, “Yes, there’s a word for that. It’s lazy.” (Funny guy, eh?) And then he suggested I take the term and translate it to Latin because everything sounds better in Latin. Here’s the translation: somno nimis. I don’t know, I think I like the translation into Swahili better: sana kulala.

My brother is a master of inventing words. Along with doppy and nubbins, the word he uses in reference to our children, he introduced us to a new word while he was visiting over the past couple of days. The word is snoobling and it describes the gentle sniffing and nibbling that dogs do upon greeting their people. Our dog Aleksandr spent time snoobling John while he was here. The dog’s nose is his snooble or snoobler.

I love this purposeful invention of words, particularly if the words are evocative of the meanings they are assigned to. While Sarah Palin is a great one for coining new words, her latest being squirmish when she meant skirmish, her efforts to increase the English language would be more fruitful if the new words had appropriate definitions. When Jon Stewart suggested that squirmish sounded like a fight between wiggling worms, that’s when the word went from silly mistake to a legitimate part of the lexicon.

Have you invented any words? If so, what are they and what meaning have you ascribed to them?

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