A Quick Wordplay Challenge. Fun. Prizes.

Let’s have some fun.

Last night I was watching an episode of The United States of Tara, Showtime’s brilliant Spielberg-produced series starring Toni Collette as a wife afflicted with multiple personalities.

Yeah, like that never happens.

What I saw that inspired today’s idea had nothing to do with the story.  As a background piece of business, an artist character was working on a series of framed posters that took a normal word and broke it into two syllables which, when viewed as two words, had a completely separate and clever meaning.

Like the word warhead, for example.  Split it, and you get war head.  

The image you get from the whole word is a bomb.  The image you get from the separate word is the face of Donald Rumsfeld.

And that’s when it came to me.  This is cool.  I began playing with other words and found the exercise sort of fun.  Not only by coming up with splitable words, but with sarcastic little defintions that apply to the new creation.

Like the word carpet, for example.  Split it into car pet, and you get the image of a dog sticking its snout out the window of a moving vehicle.

Or the word earnest, which, when split into ear nest, brings to mind an image of the stuff growing out of the side of Larry King’s head.

Or — one more example — the word panache.  Split into pan ache, you have the feeling you get when your wife smacks you upside the head with a skillet.

You get the drift.

So here’s the challenge:

Give us your best shot at this.  Or shots.

Come up with a word that can be split into two syllables that, when viewed as a pair of words, have a completely separate meaning than the original word.

To spice things up, I’ll be “judging” not only the cleverness of the word(s) choice, but also the clever defintion of the new term (see examples above) as well. 

Two more examples. 

The word subdue splits into sub due: what happens when you promise someone a sandwich and it’s time to pay up.

The word sublime splits into sub lime: what you stuff into a bottle of Corona beer while traveling in a submarine.  Really.

Okay, not exactly Jim Carey, but you get the drift.

Put your best shot(s) in the Comment thread, and I’ll announce the “winner” next Monday.

Winner of what?  One of my ebooks (your choice) to the first three places.  And bragging rights. 

Tell your friends, everyone is welcome, so let’s have some fun with this.

And remember, on Monday we begin our deconstruction of An Education, a character-driven Oscar-nominated film that teaches us much about story structure in films and novels in which nobody gets blown up or kidnapped.  Just seduced and betrayed.

Donut.  Do nut.  Anybody got a one-liner that one?


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81 Responses to A Quick Wordplay Challenge. Fun. Prizes.

  1. Larry,

    Wow. You picked a topic that really motivated the base, eh?

    If you ever need to promote something, I think you’ve found the way to do it.

    (At the risk of repeating some…I couldn’t read them all.)

    undertow/under tow – When your light duty truck just can’t handle the job.

    cellulose/cell u lose – A condition that boxers often suffer with as a result of repeated blows to the head.

    minefield/mine field – What the settlers told the Native Americans.

    stifling/sti fling – A sexy romp in a pig sty. (forgive the spelling)

    mangrove/man grove – A place where real men are grown, currently in danger of going extinct along with the rain forest.

    foxhole/fox hole – Where Michael Bay will have to crawl if Transformers 3 bombs.

    endlessness/end lessness – The new Gatorade and/or Nike slogan.

    byplay/by play – You’ll have to ask the RNC about that one…

    Maybe more later!

    Take Care,

  2. Mark Halpin

    Incan descent: one’s Peruvian heritage.

  3. Rachael

    Betray: Be tray – The job description of a human sushi tray girl at a fancy Japanese restaurant.

  4. Ron

    @ Chris: minefield/mine field – What the settlers told the Native Americans. …LoL!

    Here’s a shot…

    Nightclub/Night Club – What women use on cheating husbands after dark.

    Foreground/Fore Ground – Your front yard.

    Makeup/Make Up – What writers do.

    Instance/In Stance – What you REALLY think of someone.

    Necktie/Neck Tie – A draw in a neck size contest.

    Dateline/Date Line – Where people stand after being stood up.

    Crossfire/Cross Fire – What Tony Robbins says to his audience during the fire walk.

  5. Brandish – Bran dish…something you eat when things aren’t moving along the way you’d like…

  6. Hi there Larry and everyone reading these,

    I can not believe that no one did one for the word in the title but I did..

    WORDPLAY~~~ word play~~ The endless distraction that most writers suffer with.
    man one: “So what did you do today?”
    man two: “Not much, I spent all day word playing.”

    and from that definition……

    ENDLESS~~~ end less~~ The fear every writer has when their story is done.
    “I just finished my story but I am worried that my end is less then is could be.”

    I hope you all have a great Memorial weekend.

    WEEKEND~~~ week end~~ when a writer can not spell and forgot to use spellchecker
    “I just don’t know how to change the week end to my story.”

    SPELLCHECKER~~~ spell checker~~ the most dangerous job at whizard school
    boy “What happen to Sam?”
    girl “Oh, he was the last spell checker and one went really bad. *shutters* “You don’t want to know. Good luck!”

    Ok, I think I am done.

  7. Heathen: Infidel domestic fowl, burned at the stake for lack of belief. Best with unleavened bread coating and potato side.

  8. Rich Irvin

    OK, I’m a hog, so I beg your indulgence:

    Tangent / Tan gent – a man with a bronze complexion
    Banking / Ban king – forbid a sovereign from entering
    Madden / Mad den – a lair of angry bears
    Subjoin / Sub join – enlist in the Navy
    Address / Ad dress – a hot little cocktail ensemble on sale
    Mustache / Must ache – the inevitable consequences of too much exercise
    Cowskin / cows kin – a bovine’s relatives
    Dotted / Dot ted- put marks all over Theodore
    Rancher / Ran Cher – entered Sonny’s ex into a political race
    Dozen / Do zen – participate in Buddhist meditation
    Wontons / Won tons – hit it big in a sweepstakes
    Tricot / Tri cot – a canvas bed for three
    Breakfast / Break fast – bolt for the door
    Doughs / Do ughs – vocalize your discomfort while lifting weights
    Reindeer / Rein deer – steer Santa’s sleigh
    Unicorn / Uni corn – the last kernel left on the cob
    Onrush / On Rush – atop a conservative talk show host
    Subsoil / Sub soil- dirt on your U-boat
    Fanfare / Fan fare- cool off your bus tokens
    Panties / Pan ties- things to make your cookware look more formal
    Dogwoods / Dog Woods – follow Tiger everywhere he goes
    Drawstring / Draw string – sketch twine
    Crowbar / Crow bar – a place where blackbirds like to hang out after work
    Beatable / Beat Able – what Cain did
    Leadership / Leader ship – the first boat in an armada
    Hurtfully / Hurt fully – ache from head to toe
    Seemed / See med – espy your prescribed capsule
    Cowhide / Cow hide – what a scared Guernsey does
    Pigeon / Pig eon- an eternity for Porkie
    Button-down / Butt on down – sitting on a goose

  9. Aboriginal/ Ab original: What your gut looked like before a lifetime of drinking beer.

  10. Oh to hell with it, this one’s from my childhood.

    Himalaya – Mom baked him-a-laya cake

    While I’m at it, let’s do…
    Child hood – Billy the Kid

  11. Sandy

    Block ade = What the kids called the lemonade stand

  12. Rapport = Rap Port – to sing rhyming lyrics on the left side of a boat.

    Slamming = Slam Ming – chant heard at a Chinese wrestling match.

    Disabling = Disa Bling – term used when you’re showing off your flashy jewelery.

  13. Walter

    ZOOLOGICAL: Zoo Logical (ever reasoned like an animal before? The outcome is usually logical, but in the level of the denizens of zoos.)

    While you were busy trying to win one of Larry’s books, I was busy doing my own wordplay, which is, in fact, zoo logical. Look below:

    why do we say [abomiNATION instead of abomiCOUNTRY]; [inSULT instead of inSUGAR]; [misTAKE instead of Mis KATE]?

    Now that’s zoo logical.

  14. Walter

    When I hear WARSAW (war saw), I wonder if the capital of Poland is some kind of WMD.

  15. HOGWASH: Hog wash (bath a pig)

    COSSET: Cos set (a group of cosines)

    CONNOTE: Con note (a deceitful/tricky note)

    ISLAND: Is land (how my kid brother pronunces island)

    INWARD: In ward (inside a hospital ward)

    ZIPCODE: Zip code (Larry, don’t you think we’d have more female hackers if our slacks’ zips came with codes?)

    COMPACT: Comp act (the act of giving something such as a ticket away free)

    RATBAG (an unpleasant person): Rat bag (a bag for stuffing rats)

    RATTAN: Rat tan (imagine a rat going for sun tanning)

    RAT-ARSED: Rat arsed (with arse like that of a rat)

    CHARLIES (stupid persons): Char lies (if we could char/burn lies, the world would be a better place.)

  16. Paul Melamud

    Hey, the rules said 2-syllables, are you allowing multiple?

    Well, either way… here’s what I came up with today:

    firedrake – (v) having let someone go for immoral workplace behavior; (n) the person thusly axed
    firmamental – see hospital, a psychiatric
    flippant – toddler pajamas with snaps in the rear to allow nighttime toilet usage
    marmot – the act of breaking your word
    mastiff – zombie’s mother
    passport – road rule for getting by slow-moving vehicles
    seven-score – the Borg implant in a Voyager crew member
    zealot – farm for Indian corn
    zoomed – fast-acting horse pill

    One of these (you can guess which) led to a three-fer. I offer it here for amusement, as your rules asked only for a 2-word split:

    bullmastiff – being cowed during a petty argument with one’s mother

  17. Speedometer = Speedo Meter – A device used to measure underwear.

  18. Booking – Boo King – to express displeasure for a member of royalty.

    Dipthong – Dip Thong – to immerse an undergarment in a liquid such as water, guacamole, or Cheez Whiz.

  19. jennifer Stevenson

    Dogma. Dog Ma: A female dog (birch) who is nursing puppies.

  20. jennifer Stevenson

    Correction…bitch. Not birch. You get the idea….

  21. ONSET (the beginning of something): ON SET (a place where a film or television program is filmed)

    SPOILAGE (waste resulting from something being spoiled) : SPOIL AGE (the average age when kids begin to learn bad things)

    WARRING (at war with each other): WAR RING (a battle field like a boxing ring)

    WARRANT (a legal document often used by cops): WAR RANT (talk or complaint about war. Or perhap battlecry)

    RAPID (happening or done very quickly and in a short time): RAP ID (an identity card given to rap artists)

    WAGON: Wag on (to continue waging)

  22. Kelly

    After I quit rolling on the floor at some of these, I have two.

    Cat Astro Phe- what it costs to send kitty into outer space.
    Hay Wire- it holds bales together.

    Thanks for the chuckles.

  23. Pingback: Wordplay: And the winner is…

  24. Gabi

    re-fer: what your cat does to your newly cleaned slacks.
    re-ferral: what your cat gives your clothes so you won’t forget them

  25. you have some great responses here to your contest! I followed you over from ProBlogger… and since I do a little proofreading for a living, I couldn’t help but notice you have a couple of typos – defintion (twice!) Sorry to be critical, really loved your post!

  26. Jim

    Manage – Man Age – The actual age of a man, actually ever man, which is that of a Jr. High boy.

  27. http//mike211.livejournal.com

  28. I’m not a writer, just a foodie blogger (sometimes), but I came across this post thanks to my PB subscription. Great suggestions, I am now rocking my brain to figure out how to implement some of them.
    In the meantime, I’ll play with the grownups:
    Teen aged: Had a teen? Then you’ve Aged.
    Rep tile: someone who sells tile
    En tire: where your rims go

  29. 1. abstain (ab stain): What I found on the front of my shirt after an unfortunate mishap changing my son’s diaper.
    2. teepee (tee pee): The result of #1.
    3. breakfast (break fast): What I will do next time to avoid the trajectory.

  30. nothing — “no thing”: definition of a eunoch.

  31. Karen

    This is not exactly your word play but it happens all the time so I couldn’t resist:

    Nunavut ( ᓄᓇᕗᑦ) is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada. – It’s literal meaning is “our land” with the emphasis in the Inuit mind firmly on the our. Properly said in Inuktitut it sounds like new/na /voot.

    If you listen to most people in the rest of Canada, they say it as none/of/it. Exactly how much the Inuit plan to give us.