Washington Post Style Invitational (“Mensa Invitational”)

Style invite 1000

The Style Invitational circulates every year as the “Mensa Invitational” – a humorous collection of word play. If you have not encountered this before, it started in the late 1990′s as the Style Invitational at the Washington Post. I gather that MENSA enjoys the humor as well, and to set the record straight MENSA has devoted a web page to “Mensa Invitational” debunked

A Washington Post humor column titled “The Style Invitational” runs a series of popular contests, some of which since 1998 have featured taking any word; adding, subtracting or changing one letter; and creating a new word as well as its definition. As you would expect, many of the entries are clever and relevant — which is probably why someone who is now lost to the mists of time grabbed an early set of winners, changed the title to include a reference to Mensa, and sent it floating out into the Internet ether.

The revised “article” continues to circulate to this day on various Web sites, blogs and social networking sites, as well as in email. Looking at the Style Invitational’s “report from Week 278,” you’ll see that many of the original responses mirror the list of words on the purported “Mensa Invitational” — including “intaxication,” “bozone,” “foreploy” and “glibido.” Since 2005 or earlier, the “Mensa Invitational” has been suspected to be a hoax but no confirmation has ever been made prior to this. So we’re here to debunk this urban legend.

Neither American Mensa, nor any other Mensa entity, has ever been affiliated with The Washington Post’s “Style Invitational” column and/or its contests, to the best of our knowledge. It wouldn’t surprise us if many of our members have entered the contests — and perhaps even have won — but that would be the limit of the interaction.

Because we appreciate their humor, we encourage the enthusiastic wordsmiths who continue to send American Mensa their new words and definitions to read and enter The Washington Post’s “Style Invitational” contest. At the same time, we also heartily encourage them to consider joining American Mensa! We think they’d be at home here.

Word Play Masters Invitational has a section of their site that is continuing the collection of gems. And here is the version of the “Mensa Invitational” that Word Play Masters says is the “original”. Enjoy!

The Washington Post’s Mensa invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the 2009 winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v.. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n.. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of jockey shorts worn by Jewish men

Image credit Washington Post

Style invite 1000

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