by Thom Van Vleck
1. Being in a temporary state where one’s mental and physical abilities are impaired by a lack of sleep achieving a similar state to being drunk.
Every year there are new words added to the dictionary. This past year words like “Crap Shoot” and “Demonizing” were added among several HUNDRED others. While the unabridged dictionary just keeps adding new words the concise versions have to trim words to keep balanced. Recent words removed included “Video Jockey” and “Cassette Player”. Some words once commonly used are rarely used and there are words that have been commonly used that are still not in the dictionary at all. They all have something in common and that is someone, somewhere, had to make up a word to describe a feeling or situation. That word either caught on or disappeared from our lexicon.
For years my Mom has made up words when her vocabulary has been lacking. This has been amusing to me and my brother. One of her words is “Befaffeldated” that means she was very confused and surprised. I assume she meant befuddled and exasperated then kind of slammed these words together. She has also used a word I’ve learned is being considered for the Oxford dictionary but didn’t quite make the cut…..yet. That word is “Slickery” and means that there are slippery conditions outside. Again, I think she slammed “Slick” and “Slippery” together and I thought for a long time it was just another one her made up words. Maybe she invented that word and now it has spread across the English speaking world and my achieve “real” word status by being included in the dictionary like other great made up words such as “Humongous” or “Ginormous”. (Yes….ginormous is a word….it passed spell check so it must be a real word).
So, what does this have to do with “Slunk”. Recently I traveled to Scotland to participate in the Masters World Championships of Highland Games. Chad Ullom and Jackson Weightlifting Club members Bill Leffler and Jim Spalding were along. If you’ve ever traveled internationally you may have experienced jet lag. You also end up with these epically long travel times. Chad told me that when he and Al Myers traveled to the IAWA World’s a couple years back they spent 40 hours on the road! They got back Sunday night and Chad had to go to work Monday morning. He said he was so exhausted that he couldn’t function….or was he “Slunk”? So sleepy he felt drunk!
On my recent trip to Scotland I had trouble sleeping on the overnight flight and ended up having marginal sleep for many hours and I jokingly said to Chad that I was “Slunk”. We were all so tired we wondered if we should even be driving and kept taking turns as we caught naps. I got to thinking and there have been many times I have been “Slunk”. When I was in the Marines I was on a schedule where I would work two day shifts the first two days, then two 11-7 shifts the next two days, followed by two afternoon shifts the following two days. I would then get 80 hours off and repeat. I often stayed up between the two day intervals and became very sleep deprived. I once fell into such a deep sleep afterwards that they almost called an ambulance when I wouldn’t wake up!
So, I’m going to try and go viral with this new term to describe that state of being so sleepy that you feel drunk….or Slunk! It’s real, and we need a word to describe it so why not this word. Sure, I’m in it for some personal glory, too. I won’t lie. If this word makes it I’ll probably cut the page out of a dictionary and hang it on my office wall and then gloat to all my friends saying, “I made that up”.
Do you still need to be sold on it? Well, think of all the great ways it can be modified to describe things that we currently just can’t describe with one word. So, if you are so sleepy you feel drunk you are simply “Slunk”. If someone does this often, then you could call them a “Slunkard”. If you plan on doing it then you can say you are going to be “Slunking” or maybe you are going to get “slanked”. If you did it the day before you can say you were “slunked” yesterday. I haven’t figure out “Slinking”…..maybe it’s the time leading up to getting “Slunked”. I haven’t worked out all these details yet….I’m an idea man not a detail guy.
Okay, so you have a new word! The revolution begins. Make me a superstar in the world of Etymology! Start using “Slunk” every chance you get and, please remember….don’t slink and drive! Now, if you excuse me….it’s my nap time. I don’t want to end up a “Slunkard”.