Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Dictionary of Funny Dream Words

Over at my online forum, we are having fantastic fun playing a fresh version of the Dictionary Game. If you've never played the Dictionary Game, it goes like this: you open a fine fat dictionary, pick an obscure word, then call on the players to come up with a definition. Sometimes an erudite or lucky player will know the precise meaning of that arcane word. But the real fun is in making something up. In scoring (at least in my family) you vote for the entertainment value of the proffered definitions, above their plausibility.
Now, we have improvised a superior version of this game, and this is what we are now playing, with terrific gusto, on the forum. In the Funny Dream Words game, the dictionaries we use are our personal journals. We start by re-viewing the old reports (see my "Journal Times" post, below). We extract those mystery words, names and phrases - in known or unknown languages - that we never managed to decode. Then we offer these to others to track or define.
A funny word from a dream can open all sorts of territory. It can provide a clickable link to another culture or another world. It can reveal a new technology, or the grammar of elvish. It can open a connection with a person (hitherto unknown) on the other side of the world, or with a forgotten ancestor. It can be the hook that pulls in a song or a story or a painting, even a whole novel. And this is all streaming, fresh and spontaneous, from our own dream lives. But we often miss our messages, and someone else - through an intuitive flash, or a few minutes googling, or by hitting the books - can often help us hear what we couldn't make out, and see what escaped us in an apparent jumble of syllables.
The most fun part, as in the old Dictionary Game, is when the other players, who might otherwise be foxed by a funny word, start making things up. To give you a feel for how this goes, here are the definitions I suggested for five of the dream words posted at the forum over the past 24 hours. Only the first came with any context.
Morolli Novia (a dish demanded by an angry restaurant patron)

Morolli Novia [n]: odoriferous rum-drenched dessert named after the fiancee [novia] of Sal "Bankroll" Morolli, Miami restaurateur currently serving 6 months for postmortem abuse of Julia Child.
Sir Percy Belay
Belay, Sir Percy: Last baronet of Limpley-in-the-Hole, Somerset. Antiquarian and minor versifier in the style of the "silver poets" of the Elizabethan era. Best known for his "Response to the Nymph's Response to the Shepherd" (a reference to the famous poem by Sir Walter Raleigh) into which he worked his family name, of disputed (nautical and perhaps piratical) origin:
Belay the world and keep it young,
So we may feast with tongue to tongue,
Belay the sun so you are moved
To live with me and be my love
The Australian slang expression, "It's time to point Percy at the porcelain" is said to derive from his erratic bathroom habits.
Source: Burke's Minor Nobility and Silly Upper-Crust Names
Ursula Le Dean

Ursula K. Le Guin has been awarded the title of Dean honoris causa by the College of Fantasists because of her advocacy of truth-telling by fantasy as well as her own fantastic body of work. The citation refers to her Introduction to the English translation of The Book of Fantasy (compiled by Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo and Adolfo Bioy Casares) where Dean Ursula states:
The central ethical dilemma of our age, the use or non-use of annihilating power, was posed most cogently in fictional terms by the purest of fantasists. Tolkien began The Lord of the Rings in 1937 and finished it about ten years later. During those years, Frodo withheld his hand from the Ring of Power, but the nations did not.
The judges especially commend Dean Ursula's observation that "Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities serves many of us as a better guidebook to our world than any Michelin or Fodor's."

Pay Uht
Pay Uht [n}: Kotror pidgin for "pay dirt." Negotiable in two forms: (1) as rolls of "cash", typically strung on cords and worn around the midriff; or (2) as dried cakes of yak dung. Most commonly used to purchase shashtree [yak offal delicacy] or swee balak [dessert custard, mixed with fermented mare's milk, sometimes resulting in death by sugar or alcoholic poisoning]. reference: Commercial Traveler's Pocket English-Kotror Dictionary, 3rd hipflask edition.
Interalicia [n]: A mode of travel in the multiverse that includes stepping through mirrors, diving down rabbit holes, and shrinking or growing at fantastic speeds, inter alia. See works of Lewis Carroll.


Anonymous said...

Love this Robert! Somehow you've made my morning.
I've just woken up from muddled dreams of broken glass earrings, a drenched piano, unintelligible corporate phone conversations, and the world's fastest human (a woman, in case you're wondering).

And some choral music and some frightened animals, and an EL train being operated/driven backwards.

Wish I could submit a new word out of all this- to join in the fun- but unfortunately not today.

Laba ryta- Ginta

fran said...

These are great fun, Robert! For me this has been a nice reentry into my dream journals. While looking for odd words and names I've stumbled upon a few things that I didn't realize were puzzle pieces and I'm looking forward to working with those. Seems like great undertaking for the end of the year, instead of making proposals for the coming year one can review dream journals with fresh eyes. And have fun with it, too!


Robert Moss said...

Hey Ginta - To a space alien, ndewly arrived and unfamiliar with the Chicago Loop but with a implant providing instant translation and comparison of all human languages , "EL train" would qualify as one of those funny phrases. A GOD-train, being driven backwards, yet? And what would that mean? A time loop, even the end of history? Hmmmm.

Fran, thanks for joining our game with gusto. To review is literally to re-view, and that'c certainly a great thing to do as the year turns.

Worldbridger said...

Ndewly the space alien arrived in Chicago with a broken translator.

"Pregathi," such word verification is impossible!

Anonymous said...

You are so sharp! EL-train. Hmmmm.

And how about Drenched Piano as either a dessert (Alternating layers of a) booze-soaked sponge cake, b) vanilla custard, and c) bitter chocolate ganache molded in a loaf pan lined with (again booze-soaked) lady fingers, and the whole thing drizzled/iced with bitter chocolate glaze.

Or some sort of alcoholic drink (not being much of a drinker, I would need some help with this)...perhaps served with a vanilla bean in the glass.

Not even remotely in the intellectual/spiritual realm of your EL-train revelation, but good for refreshment, eh?

Cheers- (i mean Sveiks)

Grace said...

Fun game! I'd love to try a drenched piano drink! Now I'm inspired to journey back to last night's dream, a blue chevy from the 70's, a crazy, bouncy teenager in the front seat beside me, I'm driving her somewhere, but she won't stop talking, we drive through space, not a road, the air around us is yellow/orange, when I drive in my dreams I drive through "freed-up freeways" of astronomical light.

Wanda Burch said...

I'm enjoying hugely the funny words forum game. I am particularly enjoying the wonderful dreamy banter back and forth between the dream-llectuals and the resulting literary masterpieces. My favorite is still Sir Percy Belay. My only offering so far turned up an association with "Lay, Lady, Lay" and Albatross for my funny word, Layatross.

Robert Moss said...

Hello again Ginta, and Worldbridger, and Grace -

A Drenched Piano for dessert in the right little jazz club would be fine as long as you are careful not to get "pregathi" during the buzz of booze and chocolate that generally follows. My 2033-model trans-implant defines as follows:

PREGATHI[adj] condition of having been made pregnant by a denizen of Agartha [q.v.]Highest reported incidence is on backward-moving trains on the Chicago EL between December and March.

AGARTHA [n., proper name] legendary subterranean realm described by Hollow Earth believers.

Anonymous said...


...and speaking of interesting words, I rather like the one Google just presented to me for Word Verification in order to post this comment: sessesis. Has a certain satisfying sibilance.

Robert Moss said...

SESSESIS [n] In Middle Agarthan, a term used for reproduction by traducianism {colloq., "shooting spores") similar to the projection of slime mold spores from cluster state.

Source: Hollow Earth Handbook with Agarthan Glossary.

Savannah said...

Love these Robert! I just can't stop grinning at this game -tossing around everyone's mystery clues and juicy writing prompts, as well as skip-hopping through my own journals to the tune of "su ku tua loo, my darlin" (Kotror playground rhyme). Last night yielded "recurring antidotal disease" -- a phrase possibly stemming from the common belief that too much giddiness belongs in the Kotrors (likely fueled by a recent unfortunate incident involving too much swee balak and an ill tempered mare). A few rounds on the L train backwards should fix that. Regretfully I thought I would have no immediate use for "pointing Percy at the porcelain," which is sure to become a classic but to my rescue came google's verification word "phwort" - as in "phworting it out" or letting the p's and q's land where they may (as long as they're pointed at the porcelain). Okay, so glad I got to blurt that out at least once...

Worldbridger said...

Google verification seems to be joining in the game ... mine was "defutill" which means "abandon hope forever."

Source: one slight sideways step from here.

Carol said...

It is a fun game. I have been singing Lay, Lady, Lay, layatross my big brass bed all day and visualizing an albatross draped across a large brass bed. My dictionary has kotror different from Savannah's, but I guess it is Fran's word so I won't go to battle on that one. Dream-llectual, a very good word.

Robert Moss said...

Sounds like Google's verification apparat has been thoroughly penetrated by a cadre of inter-galactic wordslingers eager to join in our game!

Anonymous said...

i was just reading your previous post about the "antique" dreamcatcher and - farther down - about the little girl (little silver) who cried out to Tapir - - just wondered if you know the actual name of that girl in japanese?

thanks -- ginta

ps: next word from Google: guleyst. definitions, anyone? I rather think I remember something about it being a robbery (heist) carried out by either a solitary ghoul or team of ghouls? or was it a verb... killed (iced) by a ghoul?

Savannah said...

Kaspar Guleyst (1745-1812). Flemish composer and recent postmortem recipient of the Luno award for his comedic intergalactic fugue Good Boos and Ghoulash (available on Channel 3-EYE, or selected ouija boards).
So I hear anyway, but I hear a lot of things...

Robert Moss said...

I watch Channel 3-EYE with an unblinking third eye, though I gave up the ouija board when the table got up and walked out of the house when I was still of a very tender age. I stopped cooking goulash when one of my daughters, then aged ten, called me from the other side of the Atlantic and asked "What were you cooking last night? It smelled really bad."

The last bit is no joke. There's olfactory ESP as well as other kinds. In that period I would pick her up the same way, across the same distance - in a whiff of a cheap little-girl cologne she once got me to buy for her.

Helen Adams said...

'It's a multi-layered cryswylil.' I stared down at the gleaming metalic object in my hand. 'Oh Right.''What does it do?''Try it and see - press here.'I pushed down and waited. In the back of my head a door opened, and a small chirpy character waved cheerily. 'Come along or you'll miss the tour - hurry along now.'I obeyed and found myself teetering on the edge of a piece of purple torphoryr that curled through the sky to infinity! I stepped out onto its smooth glistening pluminess, and entered the first portal eager for fresh adventures!

Robert Moss said...

Now, where DID I put that cryswylil? I don't think I understood the instructions corrrectly (the were written in Low Mabinogi). Now I have heard the tiny walrus tones of Helen's tour guide must try again to get the back of my head open. Oh, stilton and sausages! Pulling boxes out of a cupboard, I just released several flying tomes from a portable book aviary, and they are flapping round my study. I wonder whether my spare tesseract can work as well as the elusive cryswylil. I long to venture out on that smooth glistening pluminess that lies before us.

Karen Kay said...

Tee Hee..... love it Robert !
There is an English radio comedy program called 'I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue' where they play the dictionary game. It is hilarious.

Looking through my old journals I found one entitled 'I was a teenage ja-all junkie' ........ perfect for this game ..........

Extract from Report
The Teenage Ja-all Junkies
by Cynthia Smits. [1]

This study was made possible by funds generously supplied by the Coca Cola company.

I began this study as a result of working with a teenage sixteen year old who I will refer to as John.
After initial contact with John we discovered many teenagers with this similar condition of saying 'yes' to everything and called them the 'ja-all' junkies[2].

This study led me on a similar investigation to Morgan Spurlock who created the film 'Supersize Me'[3], My own research led me to Starbucks and examined the consequences of drinking too many Lattes, Mochas, Cappuccinos and muffins on a cross section of our community.

We discovered our group of teenagers, were mainly affected by Ja-all syndrome. They found themselves not being able to say 'no' to any opportunity that presented itself. This habit in itself became a kind of drug and the teenagers had to be counselled long after Starbucks usage had ended.

Other new conditions discovered in other sectors of our sample include 'your'e not going out wearing that'-all, 'no-all' and 'what do you think I should do?'-all.

[1] Cynthia Smit – Head Reasearcher and Psychologist at the 'Foundation for Useless Studies'
[2] Ja is the word for 'Yes' from my home language Afrikaans and is pronounced 'Ya'.
[3} Morgan Spurlock's film 'Supersize Me' , investigated the consequences of living on a diet of Macdonald's food for a month.

Robert Moss said...

Very funny, Karen. I do know some "no-alls" and I'll keep that tag in mind. Hard not to feel sympathy for a Foundation for Useless Studies. Oh, dear, am I revealing symptoms of a ja-all?

Carol said...

Gladjan: google word verification, cleverly disguising the goddess- warrior of happiness, who is a fierce protector of good feelings in the midst of winter. She extends handshakes to all with reckless ( or is wreckless?) abandon.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Gladjan - I am delighted to see that our game with dream words has spawned a boisterous new baby game. This is a great way to enliven what was - until yesterday - the tedious little chore of copying hard-to-see letters from an alphanet soup.