LA Weekly

[LA Weekly] 15 Food and Dining Sniglets: Your Daily Vocab Quiz

By Daina Beth Solomon Wed., Dec. 28 2011 at 11:00 AM

The English language is rich and extensive, but sometimes we wish there were more words — especially about the joys and quirks of food and dining experiences. For that, we have “sniglets.” Sniglets were first created in the early ’80s by humorist Rich Hall on the TV show Not Necessarily the News. He defined a sniglet as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should.” The neologisms that appear in Hall’s various sniglet dictionaries express common experiences in ways that are often hilarious and useful. Many consist of word combinations, others of altered spellings. Some are just nonsense. What of “sniglet?” tells us that the word is “said to be derivative of obsolete sniggle, to snicker.” Perhaps it’s true. Other dictionaries only give its modern meaning: to fish for eels.

These days you’ll find Hall’s sniglets not only in his books but also around the web. We’ve chosen 10 of our favorites and created five new ones. Any mashup specialists out there? Add your own sniglets in the comments. And if you know the derivation of “sniglet,” let us know about that too.

15. Burgacide (n): A hamburger’s death leap through the slots in a barbeque. (From Rich Hall,

14. Chipfault (n): The stress point on a potato chip where it breaks off and stays behind in the dip. (From Rich Hall, Krishna Kunchithapadam.)

13. Dessertation (n): A waiter’s litany of what’s on the dessert cart. (From Melissa N. Hayes-Gehrke, Dr. Melissa N. Hayes-Gehrke’s Homepage.)

12. Disconfect (v): To sterilize the piece of candy you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, somehow assuming this will `remove’ all the germs. (From Rich Hall, Ziplink.)

11. Expresshole (n): A person who goes through the grocery store’s 12-item express lane with 22 items. (From Rich Hall, Ziplink.)

10. Frigerobics (n): Leaning, bending, and stretching while looking into the refrigerator.(From Melissa N. Hayes-Gehrke, Dr. Melissa N. Hayes-Gehrke’s Homepage.)

9. Genderplex (n): The predicament of a person in a restaurant who is unable to determine his or her designated restroom (e.g. turtles and tortoises). (From Rich Hall,Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe.)

8. Musquirt (n): The water that comes out of the initial squirts of a squeeze mustard bottle. (From Rich Hall,

7. Mustgo (n): Any item of food that has been sitting in the refrigerator so long it has become a science project. (From Bert Christensen, Bert Christensen’s Cyberspace Home.)

6. Peppier [pep-ee-ay] (n): The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want ground pepper. (From Rich Hall, Ziplink.)

And now, a few of our own…

5. Aquajammer (n): A friend of the peppier, the aquajammer’s sole purpose is to approach one’s table with water refills or fresh glasses every few minutes.

4. Gadgetation (n): The heart-racing sensation of entering a store stocked with shiny cooking gadgets, such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, or Surfas.

3. Headtwisty (adj.): The stiffness experienced after craning one’s neck around a restaurant to see: a) celebrities, b) the chef, c) the server, d) the bathroom, e) the specials menu on a far-away blackboard.

2. Reservignation (n): The acceptance of defeat and disappointment after one fails to secure a table at the newest celebrity chef restaurant.

1. Untensil (n): A fork, knife, spoon, spork or chopstick that’s been bent out of shape in an effort to relieve tension.


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