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Last week, I left a message on Wanda’s machine to the effect of, “My family is in the middle of a huge conuberation. Argh!” Wanda left me a message later that said, “I looked up conuberation and it is not in any dictionary. What did you mean by that word?” Blessings upon my English Masters / journalist/ editor friends for keeping me honest.
I looked in my dictionary. There is a conurbation (a continuous network of urban communities; example: Los Angeles). But no conuberation. I was surprised, as I have been using the word for years, mostly with Erika and my brother Joe. Upon reflection, I realized that Erika, Joe, and I all make up new words all the time, and as a result have no problem with using made up words in context. Some of the words get used frequently, and then become a “word” in our vocabulary.
I called Erika and asked if I made up conuberation or if it is a real word, because I know that she and I use it all the time. She told me that I made it up years ago to describe how crazy my family is and that we both now use it regularly in conversation. She said it is spreading to other people.
Here is the official definition that Erika and I have decided upon:
Conuberation: \k&#228n-(y)u-ber-‘a-zhen\ modern Califorian, n: a fit or enactment of crazy, mixed up, hysterical, out of control place, situation or family.
The conuberation is a hybrid of conniption and conurbation.