As a linguistics student I could probably phrase this better, but gimme a break–I just finished my first linguistics class and it’s summer vacation! (I’m celebrating by boning up on my Romero; tonight it’s Dawn of the Dead, 70s version.)
Anyway, in the ‘What constitutes ‘creepy’’ thread, someone said (paraphrased) “The [Burger] King is a great marketing idea! Creepy dude in a king costume waiting outside your window to give you a sammich? Awesome!”
That made me think: someday “sammich” may well be the standard, unmarked spelling. And that day will be awesome. My question is this: do we have any modern words that were once considered silly parodies, but are now the accepted spelling in the standard dialect?
I don’t know what you mean by “parody word”. Presumably, most spoken uses of “sammich” are relatively irony-free, and if that ever gets to be the standard spelling, it will have been driven by this, not by any humorous orthographic affectations from those who don’t even actually pronounce it that way. No?
At any rate, though your OP seems to be limited to spellings, the best example I can think of for legitimization of a “parody word” is “cromulent”. I can well see “cromulent” being a perfectly cromulent word at some point in the near future. It’s just so damn useful; sure, there are near synonyms, but when you need the exact connotations, there’s nothing quite like it.
MEBuckner, good call! I forgot all about that. (When I haven’t been reading the columns for a while, the armchair etymologist in me starts stuffing that “President from Oklahoma” nonsense back into my brain.)
There’s an argument to be made for that. And you’re probably right.
Lewis Carrol filled his poem “Jabberwocky” with many invented words such as ‘brillig’,‘slithy’, ‘gimble’ and so on, many of them probably “portmanteau words” (eg slithy=slither+slimy) which were a common fascination of Carrol’s
Of all seven verses and umpteen invented words, for some reason the word galumph , alone, has entered the language. I have no idea why.
(I originally thought that burble counted as well, but dictionary.com seems to think there are instances predating Carrol. And I’m not very convinced about the Jargon File definition in there either)
speaking of nerds - the word Geek has moved from carnival slang to being pretty much a proudly accepted label for a particular subculture. I think there may be other carnie words that that happened to, but I can’t recall any others - maybe “easy mark”?
Insomuch as I’d ever thought about it, I’d always assumed that “quiz” was an abbreviation of “inquisition”, which would seem to make sense in terms of “quiz shows”, but that seems to be wide of the mark, as the word originally meant something like “an eccentric person”.
I suspect that “Okay” = “OK” would fit your criteria. Although there have been a lot of theories about its origins, my understanding is that it’s now widely accepted that it was one of a series of slang terms based upon humorous contractions of misspellings, a trend from the first half of the 19th century. “OK” is supposed to come from “Oll Korrect”, and is the only one of its brethren that survive from that epoch, and has made its way into everyday speech.
How about “druthers”? It’s commonly used, and is clearly still slang, but I’ll bet it’s in dictionaries. It’s clearly derived in a folksy way from “would rather”, and is jokey in its origin.
“Strategery” has come to mean an obviously bad (but earnest) attempt at being clever, and abbreviates the concept of “too clever by half” quite well. If it outlives the current administration, I think it will have a long life, but it’s tied pretty strongly to GWB. If “okay” can make it, then so can “strategery”!
Lots of business and bureaucratic malapropisms are sticky, too – “submittal” (vice “submission”) and “agreeance” (vice “agreement”) pop up all the time within my particular circle.