The Funniest Word in the World

My roommate grew up in Vietnam which means that he sometimes expresses things in a way that can be a bit unexpected. Recently, for example, he informed me that I am “a little bit mental,” further going on to categorize my individualized level of insanity as being at around 3-1/2 out of 6[1.].

While I don’t necessarily know that his diagnostic scale would be corroborated by the DSM-5, I can’t dispute that I do have what I like to charitably refer to as “quirks.” My sleeping habits, for example, offer a range of curiosities. Typically I am a very deep sleeper, and I often have vivid quasi-lucid dreams; anyone who has ever slept in the same room as me can also inform you that I talk in my sleep not infrequently[2.]. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this morning I awoke laughing loudly because for some reason I was thinking of what I maintain, now and forever, is the funniest word in the English language.

Before I reveal this word, I need to first insist that it is indeed a real word that I did not coin, though I may in fact use it more than any other English speaker simply because of its hilarious properties. It was actually originated by one Theodor “Ted” Nelson, the same guy who also came up with the word intertwingularity, among others. So you know it has to be a good one… and indeed it is.

So I’m going to present this word now in a rip-the-Band-Aid-off fashion so as to preserve as much of its shock value and random hilarity as possible (which I fear I’ve already drained almost entirely by vamping for four paragraphs).

Ladies and gentlemen, drumroll please…

I give you…



Before I give you the definition of this word, allow yourself to mull it over for a second. For me, the first thing that comes to mind is a tableau in which anthropomorphic multicolored dildos with Muppet-like eyes and mouths wearing air traffic control-type headsets are seriously conferring with each other about technological concerns of some kind. (This being the first thing that I think of is strong evidence, I believe, that I likely have a brain tumor.) I think it is also amusing to point out that every syllable in the word is in fact a homonym for another word[3.], a fact which allows me to use the word “homonym” while chuckling like an eight-year-old.

What Dr. Nelson was describing when he coined this term in the mid-1970s (of course it was coined in the 1970s… everyone and everything was perverted then) was the concept of… er… “pleasuring” someone else vis-à-vis some distant electronic means. I assume that he was imagining devices that resembled assorted vacuum cleaner attachments, presumably with bundles of multicolored wires sprouting from them in inopportune ways, that one would… “insert” or, I dunno, “lodge?” in personal nooks and crannies, or “apply” or “attach” (I’m really trying to keep this all G-rated) to one’s wiggly bits. Once this installation process had been completed, the involved parties would ostensibly connect (no pun intended, actually) to each other via their respective Atari 800 “computers” with attached acoustic coupler modems[4.] and type commands to activate their partner’s junk. Literally.

Alas, teledildonic technologies don’t seem to have materialized, though to be fair I also haven’t really done any research to determine if this is actually true. I assume I’m right since you don’t really ever hear people talking about remote-controlled genital diddlers; also, the risk of inadvertently electrocuting body parts that you really don’t want to electrocute seems fairly high, what with the potential introduction of… fluids?

Okay, this has gone too far.


  1. Two days after I published this he claimed I “forgot” what he said, as he had upgraded me to a 4.[]
  2. One time while vacationing in Las Vegas for a few days with my friend Sharon, apparently I shrieked loudly in my sleep and woke her up screaming too. I had no awareness that I had done this until she angrily informed me the next day.[]
  3. “Tell,” “a,” “dill,” “don,” “icks.”[]
  4. Phone cradles. Matthew Broderick’s character used one in WarGames.[]