Philasyndactylism: A Neologism

The ease with which a person can find a dictionary definition requires merely an internet connection and a visit to or Merriam-Webster online. True wordsmiths may recall when Rich Hall popularized the “sniglet,” in the early 1980’s HBO comedy series Not Necessarily the News; a word which he defined as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should.”

For a fun assignment, our English professor required each student to produce an Oxford English Dictionary definition of any neologism. Here is mine:

philasyndactylism, n.

Pronunciation. fil-a-sin-dák-tul-is-m
American English, derived from the Ancient Greek.

Etymology: American: philasyndactylism, American Slang: philaductoid, Middle English: philiahuntand, German: Vogel-Jäger, Greek: philiasyndactilism

Noun, Modern American English: Of the order or class of webbed foot lovers. An affinity or brotherly love toward humans or animals with webbed toes.

American Slang: A love of ducks, especially cartoon characters.

Middle English: Of a brotherhood of bird hunters.

German: Of or pertaining to hunters of the blue-footed boobie, used in stews, especially a regional boobie-hare stew.

Greek: Of the sect of Ancient Greeks purported to have a higher than expected genetic drift mutation of webbed toes, caused by inbreeding.

duck feet

circa 400 B.C.E. Plato. The Republic, Book 6, The Philosopher King, as translated by C.D.C. Reeve [Socrates to Glaucon: Moreover, we would deny that any unmusical and graceless nature is drawn to anything besides what is disproportionate, excepting of course, philasyndactylism.]

1517 Martin Luther. The Ninety-Five Theses. [92. Were it not for the Vogel- Jäger, some of the most impoverished might have no indulgence to offer, though they deny themselves their only portion.]

1862 Henry David Thoreau. Walden [We who take but a moment of solitude might well understand that certain philasyndactylism that is the rebellion of nature.]

1870 Mark Twain. On the Civil War [We should have been fighting the philaductoids.  They were never ones to run fast, and as long as you stayed away from ol’ Miss’ you stood better than even odds of takin’ ‘em prisoner.]

1968 Warner Brothers. “Ain’t That Ducky” [Bugs Bunny to Daffy Duck:  “It’s duck season!” Daffy Duck to Bugs Bunny: “It’s dithscwimination, I tell ya! No philasynductylism here!”]

2010 PETA website. Philasyndactivism: An Expose [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organization touts its latest inquiries into local duck-hunting organization.]

Feel free to use philasyndactylism as the occasion arises. Kindly refrain from using it willy-nilly.


9 thoughts on “Philasyndactylism: A Neologism

        1. Although…there is some fun in catching misuse; especially when the word used is slightly more obscure, yet common enough that someone tries to use it in an everyday discussion. Sa-wing and a miss!

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