or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, December 07, 2008


English is very happy to hand you a toolkit and let you assemble the language yourself, as long as you know what you're doing. Endearingly, it has a sizable collection of suffixes that you can use to indicate that something is similar to, or has the qualities of, something else: "-y", "-ish", "-esque", "-oid", "-like", and "-ed" are just some of them.

Yesterday we passed an A&W and there was a sign announcing a new kind of burger, the Uncle Burger, to go with the rest of the family they've had for ages: the Papa Burger, the Mama Burger, the justly famous and delicious Teenburger, and so on. (Do they still have the Baby Burger? They did when I was a kid.) And the tagline for the Uncle Burger, which is made of sirloin steak:

The Burger Family just got Sirloinier.


Perhaps a hard-liner would balk, but I think "sirloinier" is enchanting. I mean, if you want to describe something as having the qualities of--or, in this case, including--sirloin, why shouldn't you take advantage of one of the language's more charming features, coin the word "sirloiny", and then proceed to transform it into the comparative and the superlative with "-er" and "-est"?

Okay, sure, it's advertising, and advertising copywriters have a bad habit of mangling and otherwise corrupting the language ("chocolatey", anyone?). I don't care. It's not a word that's going to enter popular usage, but for a neologism, it's just right.


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