I’d like to take this unique opportunity to share a new word with you

I love word games. My parents used to play them with us at the dinner table. I’ve been playing one with my kids lately and we’ve been having a lot of fun with it. It has to do with an article I read  in Oprah magazine that was about an interview with June Ambrose.  One of the questions she was asked is, “What is your favorite made up word? Her answer was: “Glamouflage. It’s when you use a bold piece to shield a part of your appearance: big sunglasses when you didn’t have time for makeup….”

I thought it was so cool that I  asked my kids to share what made up words they like. Teenager had several questionable ones that I will not repeat in this blog. Several were related to cross gender such as “shemale.” Middle Schooler shared a couple too. My favorite of hers was, “Con’t.” Can, but won’t. So apropos.

My friend Kathy shared one with me last summer that I really like, “Brocket,” a combination of bra and pocket. That’s where I put my cell phone when I go for a walk or the change I get at the snack bar when I am not carrying a purse.

A few days ago I saw a commercial for Yoplait along the same theme:

I guess we are not the only ones playing this game.

It turns out that my all time favorite made up word is not a silly one and conveniently for this blog post happens to be a combination of Hebrew and Hawaiian.

The unique opportunity to know and use this word is one of the reasons that I love living in Hawaii: Shaloha, Shalom and Aloha. Each is used in a similar way, as a greeting, in their respective languages. But they mean so much more than hello and good-bye. Shalom means peace. Aloha is the breath of life. I like to think that Shaloha means that I greet you with peace, the breath of life.

This is a great opportunity for  you to share some of your favorite made up words. It will be fun.

Shabbat Shaloha.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evelyn
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 16:55:28

    Yep, use my brocket all the time. It was made for cell phones. Wasn’t it? Was too! 🙂


  2. younger sister boo
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 23:13:26

    Our favorite is “fagel” — the fake bagels they sell pre-packaged at the supermarket, which bear little resemblance to a real boiled-then-baked bagel from a local deli.


  3. Betty
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 17:59:26

    I grew up with “mindoo”, and never thought about it not being a real word until I used it on my kids and they looked at me like I was an alien. It comes from saying “It’ll mend you” very quickly with an Irish brogue. It’s especially useful when someone’s caused themselves harm or trouble by doing something glaringly dumb, lazy or stupid. I didn’t appreciate the satisfaction my mom must have gotten from saying it until it popped out of my own mouth. Sort of like an “I told you so” without the condescension 🙂


  4. lauriehanan
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 22:05:39

    Thanks for sharing this word (probably the only word) that blends my two cultures so beautifully. (I speak of ‘shaloha’, not ‘swapportunity’). The words ‘aloha’ and ‘shalom’ are both so deep and rich with meaning.

    One day, in an effort to improve my skills in the language, I was attempting to read a Hebrew newspaper. In an article about an air strike against Lebanon, I came across the sentence “They all returned to Israel in ‘shalom’ “. I didn’t understand how pilots could be said to return from a deadly mission in ‘peace’. I questioned my Hebrew teacher about the sentence. That was when I first learned that the word ‘shalom’ does not mean just the absence of conflict, but it means ‘wholeness’. The pilots returned from their mission ‘all in one piece’.

    I have also learned that when ancient Hawaiians said ‘aloha’ to one another, they were honoring the presence of divine breath in that person. If they had any hard feelings against someone, they were no allowed to greet them with ‘aloha’.

    So, in its fullest sense, the greeting we Hawai’i Jews use so often, ‘shaloha’, is a wish for wholeness of body, mind, and spirit, as well as an honoring of the divinity in the other person. That pretty much covers everything, doesn’t it?


  5. Robert Spiller
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 02:18:32

    This is the only place I know to write you, so here goes. I am the teacher who wrote to you a few weeks ago (I write a mystery series with a schoolteacher sleuth). I was wondering if you received the e-book, Radical Equations.

    Robert Spiller


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