grammarIt’s a new year and a re-start on my Word of the Week posts. Why not start off with a neologism—a made-up word. One that I hope characterizes the year ahead: lollapalooza.

As a neologism it’s prone to suffixation. (Yea, I just made that up.) By that I mean you can find palooza attached to almost any other word that can be used to describe an extraordinary or unusual event, person, or thing. You might also find it spelled lollapalootza or lollapaloosa. Either way, it’s a great way to refer to an extravanganza of any sort.

While the word has been around since the 19th century, it entered the North American lexicon in the early 1990s. It’s the name  Perry Farrell gave to idea for a traveling music festival designed to showcase alternative music groups. Lollapalooza is also the name of a short musical piece composed a few years later by John Adams for the British conductor Simon Rattle’s 40th birthday. You have to admit, just the combination of sounds and syllables in lollapalooza sounds like a party.

The Lollapalooza tour declined, but the popularity of the word did not. It ranks right up there with the one-syllable neologism, nado (Sharknado), for the frequency with which it is appended to other words. Consider these which turned up in a recent Google search:

  • latkepalooza (presumably a latke-eating binge),
  • clampalooza (likewise an over-the-top clam bake),
  • datapalooza, (presumably the behind-the-scenes effort to fix,
  • preschool palooza—a Pinterest board for, you guessed it, all things preschool
  • Purple Word Palooza day—one creative teacher’s ploy to celebrate the word purple in her students’ writing.

Make up your own, but here’s to a palooza of a year in 2014. May yours be extraordinary in every way.

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