Thursday Writing Prompt No. 108

Windowbox flowers in Bath, England.

Windowbox flowers in Bath, England.

Winter in the Washington metro area is pretty dull. We don’t get enough snow to make it enjoyable or pretty, but we get enough to make commuting dangerous and even more annoying than it already is. Once the leaves fall from the trees at the end of the year, my husband takes to calling it “squag season.”

That’s one of our made-up words, and although the Urban dictionary has plenty of definitions for it, none of them match how we use it. Think of the cluttered mess of tree branches curled about by naked poison ivy vines and coated with fungi. Then sprinkle a few piles of unremarkable brown leaves over the mess. Add in dead grass, and no panoramic landscape to call a “vista,” and you’ve got an idea of what our version of squag means. It’s not photogenic by any means.

So that brings me to today’s Thursday Writing Prompt: make up a word. I used to work with a woman who hated the idea that her husband made up words. “It’s not in the dictionary!” she’d say. Talk about uptight. Language is all about making up words, and words are the writer’s medium of choice.

So go ahead — make up a word, or several words. And then use it in a short descriptive paragraph that highlights what the word means to you. You never know, but your creation might make it into the next edition of the dictionary. Try submitting it to the Merriam-Webster  “New Words & Slang” page.

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