‘The Made-Up Words Project’ Chronicles Our Weird, Personal Vernacular

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You likely use your own strange words among your family and friends, with etymologies referring back to your early development, inside jokes, and misunderstandings. For example, my mother still laughs about how I spent my formative years calling hot dogs “dot dogs.” Illustrator Rinee Shah (whose previous collection, Seinfood, we featured here) created The Made-Up Words Project, a series of drawings that take these private colloquialisms and share them with the broader community. Check out some of the illustrations after the jump, and see how many end up in your own vocabulary.

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Chicken Milk

Definition: water

Source: “As a child I only wanted milk, so my dad gave me water but called it chicken milk.” — Ivan C., Marlboro, New York

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Deli-shoes

Definition: delicious

Source: “This hamburger is deli-shoes.” — David K., Los Angeles, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Schmerfed

Definition: to vomit

Source: “Timmy schmerfed all over the couch and passed out on the bathroom floor.” — Jonathan W., Austin, Texas

Image credit: Rinee Shah

The Quincy

Definition: A small defect in our bathtub. Like a small brown burn mark.

Source: “Somehow, it became known as ‘The Quincy.’ We tried to avoid touching it. I remember sitting in the tub terrified of it. My mom would say ‘It’s just The Quincy, it won’t hurt you.'” –– Robbie W., Riverside, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Pasta-Fagioli!

Definition: You’re in trouble!

Source: “My grandma always said it in a raised voice. We thought it was a bad word so we’d say it to other kids at the park when we were mad at them and we always got weird looks. I realized later that it means pasta and beans in Italian. ” — Katherine R., Playa del Rey, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Schmoodle

Definition: A state of over-ornamentation. But almost in a tacky sense.

Source: “Jennifer’s sweater would be cute if it didn’t have all that schmoodle on it.” — Jonathan W., Austin, Texas

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Soupies

Definition: homemade sausage

Source: “My dad used to hand me one of these glorious sticks of meat at dance recitals in college when everyone else’s father was handing them flowers.”— Maura M., Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Yonies

Definition: Good vibes that you send out.

Source: “Send good yonies, Timmy’s dad is in the hospital.” — Drew H., Menlo Park, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Gotchies

Definition: underwear

Source: “He stripped down to his gotchies” — Maura M., Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Ho-Po

Definition: pillow

Source: “Did you pack your ho-po for your sleepover?” — Laura S., Palo Alto, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Geedunks

Definition: snack food

Source: “We’ve got some geedunks on the kitchen counter if you want a snack.” — Matt W., San Diego, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Barking Spider

Definition: a fart

Source: “Timmy, did you smell that barking spider?” — Kevin R., Newport Beach, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Mouse Hands

Definition: When you stick olives on the tips of your fingers.

Source: “When we were kids we used to put black olives on all ten fingertips and called them Mickey Mouse hands. Mouse hands for short” –– Dickie G., San Clemente, California

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Frubie

Definition: tipsy

Source: “I’m feeling a little frubie from that third beer.” — Matt B., Minneapolis, Minnesota

Image credit: Rinee Shah

Dupa

Definition: butt

Source: “Check your dupa, I think you sat in something.” — Maura M., Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania