Orbisculate – to accidentally squirt juice and/or pulp into one’s eye, as from a grapefruit when using a spoon to scoop out a section for eating; to accidentally squirt the inner content from fruits, vegetables and other foods onto one’s face, body or clothing, or onto that of a person nearby.
D’oh! Adorbs. Chillax. And the classic, bootylicious. All are words that can be found in an English dictionary, but here we are in 2021 and “orbisculate” still hasn’t gotten in. We realize you’ve probably never heard of that last one, as it wasn’t popularized by such cultural megastars as Beyoncé or Homer Simpson. In fact, the guy who thought of it was our dad, Neil Krieger, but we think it deserves to be in the dictionary just the same.
Our father invented orbisculate in college to describe when a citrus fruit squirts in your eye, then proceeded to use it so often when we were growing up that we were shocked to discover it wasn’t in the dictionary (also, kind of annoyed, since we found out when we lost a $5 bet to one of our friends).
This spring, our dad died from COVID-19. The pain hasn’t left us, but neither have the lessons he taught us: to find a way to laugh even in dark times; to follow your own path; and, when you don’t like the solutions in front of you, to make up your own.
So we’re launching a campaign in his honor to get orbisculate into the dictionary. It’s not the standard tribute for a loved one, but he was an unconventional person, so it seems fitting to honor him in this unconventional way. (Plus, we’d like to get our $5 back.)
We also want to help others dealing with loss at this especially hard time, so our campaign will raise money for Carson’s Village, an amazing charity that provides assistance in the immediate aftermath of a death in the family.
We hope you’ll join us on this adventure. We’ll take you behind the scenes of the exciting world of dictionaries and our attempts to break into them. We’ll tell you about our successes and our failures. And here and there, we’ll share the story of a great man and the lessons he taught us.
Here are 3 simple things you can do…
A new word gets into the dictionary when it’s been used by enough people in enough places. So just say the word today — in a conversation, in an email, in a tweet, however you like — and you’ll already be making a difference.
Sign up to let dictionary editors know that it’s high time America had a way to describe that irritating moment of citrus attack.
Mike Hosking interviewed Hillary Krieger this morning.