New Word Challenge: Blissinforming the maubling saganauts

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Our New Word Challenge, an invitation to readers to submit neologisms for inclusion in Collins' new online dictionary, provoked a flood of entries, demonstrating the full range of IoS readers' wit and inventiveness.

Our New Word Challenge, an invitation to readers to submit neologisms for inclusion in Collins' new online dictionary, provoked a flood of entries, demonstrating the full range of IoS readers' wit and inventiveness.

Deciding on the winner and the five runners-up proved to be as entertaining as it was taxing for the three judges: author Nigel Rees, familiar to Radio 4 listeners as the man who devised and chairs the ever-popular Quote ... Unquote quiz; Jeremy Butterfield, the editor-in-chief of Collins English Dictionaries; and Suzi Feay, Literary Editor of The Independent on Sunday.

Would they go for "pollutocrat: one whose affluent lifestyle gives rise to a high level of pollution" (Martin Quick of Stroud)? Or "blissinform: to misinform in the hope of avoiding unnecessary pain" (Helen Moss of Cambridge)? What about "punnegrines: the wrinkles that appear on your fingers and toes if you stay too long in the bath" (Susannah Phillipson of Oxford)? Or "misterogyny: the hatred of men" (Jo Morrison of Slough)? Then there was "corketry: the art of making articles, especially models, from wine corks", which Donald McDonald of Perth submitted complete with illustrations.

In the end, the word that emerged as the winner was "geribanger", submitted by Mary Cousins of Usk in Monmouthshire. "A woman who furthers her career by seducing older men of influence and power" was Ms Cousins's definition. All three judges loved "geribanger", with Jeremy Butterfield believing that amid much punning and witticism, this word had the best chance of actually catching on. "Geribanger" thus finds its place in Collins' online Living Dictionary, and Ms Cousins receives the first prize of a Collins dictionary and a Collins thesaurus.

The five runners-up were: Jim Trimmer of Kingston-upon-Thames for "gaity: that proportion of the community made up of gay persons"; Vera Lustig of Walton-on-Thames for "saganaut: elderly, middle-class person with predilection for educational travel"; David Poulter of Lowestoft for "mauble: a verb to describe boring, interminable conversation"; Paul Stronge of London N16 for "emailancholia: depressed and miserable state of mind arising from overuse of computer emails"; and Anna Bristow of Wirksworth in Derbyshire for "nibling: a generic term for a niece or a nephew". They will each receive a Collins Gem dictionary, with its 15-page supplement of new words.

The Collins Word Exchange, a new website which invites anyone to contribute to the dictionary, can be found at www.collins.co.uk/wordexchange

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