In Grammatically Correct, Anne Stilman casually uses the word “bafflegab”, a word I had never heard before. I immediately looked it up. It means almost exactly what you’d expect, given that it looks like it’s had two perfectly normal words grabbed and stuck together. If you know what “baffle” means, and you know what “gab” means, it’s likely you can figure out what “bafflegab” means—even if you don’t rush to a dictionary.

I immediately texted “bafflegab”—followed by “I love it!”— to several friends of mine who I knew would appreciate it. To my surprise, some of them had already heard of it. But my ego was moderately assuaged by others who texted back, asking me to explain.

In a similar vein, I was stoked to discover a word I’ve always loved is also in dictionaries. Robert A. Heinlein coined the word “grok” in his seminal science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. I’m not going to provide a definition for this word either (I think part of the fun is looking it up), but now I can use it freely without quite so much risk of being considered a nerd. I think it’s very cool that it’s moved into a more mainstream audience.