word sale

One of my more entrepreneurial students is trying to earn a little cash by (BrE, informal) flogging* a word on eBay. Here's a bit of her sales pitch:
The perfect gift for wordsmiths, linguists and bookworms this Christmas.
Buy your loved one their very OWN word! This auction is for something really special: a wonderful personalised gift for the pain who has everything.
I am a Linguistics student and writer, and I will exquisitely craft an original, 100% unique word for the winning bidder. They can show it proudly to their friends, knowing that this word is their very own and made specifically with them in mind. And if you desire, I can use it in writing and encourage others to do so. Eventually, it could even become a recognised word with your own name featuring in a dictionary definition!
The word will land on your doormat within 5 days of auction end, presented beautifully with a professional definition and an essay explaining how it was made, in full linguistic detail!
I'm very happy to report that she has used a fair bit of the terminology from our course (Approaches to Meaning) in her eBay (BrE) advert/(AmE) ad, and she's used it all correctly. Thus, I believe that I can and should endorse her wordsmithing business. (I hereby endorse it!) But as I try to stay out of business transactions with my students, I'll leave it to someone else to bid on her word. Starting bid is £9.95. Or you can skip the bidding and buy it outright for £100.

*As far as I can tell, the 'sell' sense of flog is BrE. (Note the BBC (BrE) programme/(AmE) show Flog It! ) AmE does have the related sense 'to promote relentlessly'.


  1. for the pain who has everything
    Is this a Britishism that I'm not aware of?

    Seriously though, is that link broken, or has the auction been revoked?

  2. pain that has everything looks to me like pain in the **** that has everything. Choose your own body part.

    The link is broken; it looks like http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200053993696 should work, or just search for auction number 200053993696.

  3. Whenever I post a comment on this blog (at least until I'm banned from doing so), I have to type some letters from an image-file into a box called word verification. These words are, it seems to me, all new coinings, and ideal for auction. At the moment I'm looking at pythm, which my virtual dictionary defines as the repeated movement made by a snake to mesmerise its victim before pouncing. Bids start at £9.50.

  4. Ooh. Here's another: zfrqk, which Gogonas's Albanian Lexicon describes as strong drink made with fermented ewes' milk and soot. And it can be yours for just £24.95.

  5. Alright, I'll stop after these latest Blogger security codes (all available at a reserve-price of €75):

    strrbp, Irish, small cup
    oswzz, Aboriginal, Australian landmass
    snuocq, Mongolian, short sleep on horseback interrupted by falling from saddle
    zxmeucpf, Czech, used pocket-handkerchief
    lppzy, Polish, popular effervescent drink
    dmeijs, Dutch, ceremonial stick used in parliament
    xptotr, Basque, unlicensed software user
    hlwudfob, Welsh, pornographic keyring
    dwhri, Cornish, digestive malfunction
    vowcoula, Transylvanian, popular blood-sucking songstress
    eowfhx, Tibetan, expletive
    cwfujoq, Scottish Gaelic, insult

  6. I'm reminded of the IrishAmerican Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, supposedly so-called because they used to play at Molly Malone's in LA and felt like they were 'flogging a dead horse' in doing so.

  7. The link to the site is now fixed.

  8. "Aboriginal", Paul?

  9. JaƋari queries my "aboriginal". In my style-book, if the person is joking around, they're allowed to be a bit loose with terminology in an attempt at comic effect. I'd similarly use "Eskimo" if I knew it'd get a laugh, though without any malice or disrespect. I'm not sure if there is a Transylvanian language, or at least one called that. Apologies for offence caused.

  10. I'm happy to report that the student now has a bid!

  11. Great news about the bid. Vowcoula strongly tipped to sing for her country at next year's Eurovision. Still awaiting firm expression of interest (and €75 cheque) for dmeijs from Dutch tweede kamer. Quite a lot of apparently abusive email from the Gaeltacht which, mercifully, I can't understand.

  12. How much for a word that's only 50% unique, or doesn't your course address the definition of "unique"?

  13. It's a course in Linguistics, not a course in language prescriptions.

  14. Over on the maverick thread, you'll see news of Mad Queen Bess's acquisition of thisgodlesscommunism's new word for £9.99, as well as coinings of wordjonesing and eBymology. With just a couple of weeks left till the BrE festive season/AmE holidays, I'm offering murphology, the study of Irish word-structure, at a very attractive €49.99 o.n.o.

  15. You've stolen my word (or at least its form), Paul! I tell my students that they get extra (AmE) points/(BrE) marks if they call morphology murphology. If that takes off, I can guarantee my name in the annals of linguistic history.

  16. Flog/Flogging in Mirriam-Webster

    a : to beat with or as if with a rod or whip
    b : to criticize harshly
    : to force or urge into action : drive

  17. This is the only way I have ever heard the word flog or flogging to mean here in AmE.

    To Flog your log, boys do this to themselves *wink,wink*

    I really took a flogging on that one.

    I got beat up on, beat down. either literally or with words.


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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)