Style Invitational Week 1474: Hyphen the Terrible
Combine parts of hyphenated terms to make a new term. Plus winning ‘prefix’ neologisms.
By Pat Myers
February 3, 2022 at 10:02 a.m. EST

Click here to skip down to the winning "prefix" neologisms from Week 1470

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
▲ Di-rector + doz-ens: Rector-doz: A sermon so boring that even the pastor falls asleep. (Beverley Sharp)

Assess-ment + in-formation: Assessin: Someone who kills good ideas by saying, “I think we need to study this more.” (Jeff Contompasis)

Hem-orrhoid + mem-oir: Hemoir: A life story that comes to a painful end. (Lawrence McGuire)

Here’s a look-through-the-paper contest that The Style Invitational used to do all the time, but not for more than five years. This week: Combine one side of a hyphenated word or phrase with one side of another such term — either side can be the end or the beginning — to create a new term, then describe the result, as in the examples above from Week 1196 in 2016. AND! Both halves of the term must come from the same issue of a newspaper (The Post or another one) or published the same day on its website, from Feb. 3 through Feb. 14. It can be in an article, headline, ad, whatever, as long as both parts come from hyphenates — anything with a hyphen. Include the hyphenates you’re using, as above. (See the entry form for more notes on formatting, etc.)

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Feb. 14; results appear March 6 in print, March 3 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a true rarity: It’s the very first model of the Style Invitational Loser Mug for runners-up, made in 2007 and recently regifted to the Style Invitational Prize Bunker by 364-time Loser Dave Zarrow, who has been an Invite runner-up, I swear, 49 times (though mostly before we gave out mugs). Designed by Our Own Bob Staake, the mug features a brain-region diagram with “dinner,” “sex,” etc., and of course the largest lobe, “The Style Invitational.” Best of all, it bears the contest-winning slogan, submitted by both Chris Doyle and Beverley Sharp for Week 715: “This Is Your Brain on Mugs.”

Our first Loser Mug, first issued in 2007, and regifted to be this week's second prize. (The Washington Post)
Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Fool Frontal” was submitted by both Jesse Frankovich and Kevin Dopart; Beverley Sharp wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, published late Thursday, Feb. 3, at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago ...

Fool Frontal: ‘Prefix’ neologisms from Week 1470
In Week 1470 the Empress saluted (i.e., stole from) a contest from the old New York Magazine Competition in which you insert a “prefix” — really, anything of a syllable or more — before any word in a name, phrase or title.

4th place:
PassWORDLE: High-stakes game where you have to remember your login info in six tries. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

3rd place:
ForGETTING TO KNOW YOU: At the senior center, you get to meet new people every day! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

2nd place
and the toy plush vaccine vial:

NiTWITTER: The Former Guy’s new social media platform? (Frank Mann, Washington)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
UnZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH: Step 1 in boys’ toilet training. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Failed start-ups: Honorable mentions
PedanTIKTOK: Insufferable videos featuring nitpicky grammar quibbles, but at least they’re only 15 seconds long. (Jesse Aronson, Arlington, Va.)

SarDINING CAR: Breakfast rush on the Acela. (Mark Richardson, Takoma Park, Md.)

SliMY PILLOW GUY: Maybe not the best adviser on ethical issues. (Drew Bennett, Rogers, Ark.)

StereoTYPEWRITER: When you’re writing a novel “old school” — complete with the ditsy blond secretary, the jolly fat guy, etc. (Mike Swift, Crawfordville, Fla., a First Offender)

THE dumBEST IS YET TO COME: Louie Gohmert announces a run for president in ’24. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

MisheGOTHIC ARCHITECTURE: Pointy arches, ribbed vaults, stained glass, flying buttresses — enough already! It’s only a doghouse. (Arnold Berke, Chevy Chase, Md.)

A vieWING AND A PRAYER: The funeral following a “hold my beer” stunt. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

BBSEE YA!: “Auntie Beeb” attempts to shed the network’s prim image with a zingy sign-off. (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

AOC3PO: She’ll debate you in over 6 million forms of communication. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

EsCHEWBACCA: For the Wookiee, no nookiee. (Mike Ostapiej, Ravenel, S.C.)

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE One-THIRD KIND: Earthlings are relieved to discover that the visiting aliens are two feet tall. (Duncan Stevens)

AntiGONE IN 60 SECONDS: A top title in the CliffNotes Extreme Speed Ancient Classics collection. (Elliott Schiff, Allentown, Pa.)

DaDA VINCI: A student of Leonardo who added mustaches to the portraits. (Greg Dobbins, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

CriMEA CULPA: The apology Ukraine will never get from Putin. (Chris Doyle)

AusTEN-FOUR: The CB channel for the Long-Haul Truckers’ English Lit Book Club. (Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.)

DateLABRADOR: Each canine rated the other 4.5 out of 5. Update: No further sniffing. (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

DeJOY TO THE WORLD: “When your gifts arrive two months late, it’s like Christmas all over again, right?” (Sarah Walsh)

Q-TIP OF THE ICEBERG: A teeny-tiny part of a teeny part of a much, much, much larger problem. (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.)

ForeGONE WITH THE WIND: Frankly, my dear, Rhett never did give a damn. (Gordon Cobb, Marietta, Ga.)

PrenUP ON THE ROOF: An older, wiser Carole King knows it’s not enough to ask if he’ll still love her tomorrow. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Low-CALIGULA: An insanely tyrannical diet coach. “You’ll have FOUR grapes …” (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park, Md.)

HairBALL AND CHAIN: Your emotionally demanding pet cat. (Milo Sauer, Fairfax, Va.)

EuroTRASH TALK: “Can you believe it? She paid $30,000 for one kilo of that caviar, and it wasn’t even golden. And I heard she colors her shoe soles red.” (Roy Ashley, Washington)

InterMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: When there are still three big musical numbers to go before you can get to the bathroom — will you self-destruct? (Sarah Walsh)

IQANON: No intelligence to be found on this group. (Richard Franklin, Alexandria, Va.)

iRON RIVERA: The only coach who can withstand Dan Snyder. (Frank Mann)

ForGETTYSBURG ADDRESS: “Fourscore and — dang, how many years ago was it? — anyway, no matter …” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

InsERECTILE DYSFUNCTION: Isn’t it sad to see those far-right groups feuding? (Bruce Reynolds, Grand Rapids, Mich.)

RePENTHOUSE: The least pleasurable porn magazine ever. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

MastoDONALD: A huge, primitive creature, often found bellowing near swamps, that sadly is not yet extinct. (Stephen Gold, London)

McMANCHIN: A large if undistinguished edifice purchased with coal profits. (Mark Richardson)

TarMAC AND CHEESE: Takes al dente to a whole new level. (Jonathan Jensen)

TeleporTED CRUZ. A pleasant daydream. (And more proper than defenestraTED.) (Jonathan Paul)

THE braggART OF THE DEAL: “I aced my dementia test.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

THE SIXTH nonSENSE: “If you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.” — Rep. Andrew Clyde (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

TiktOK BOOMER: What your kids say when you ask, “What the heck are you watching?” (Chris Doyle)

wiNO PASSING ZONE: Oh great, just when the road gets curvy. (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)

WE BUILT THIS ToxiCITY: “The Story of Twitter.” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

McCarTHY WILL BE DONE: Rep. Liz Cheney’s secret prayer. (Fred Shuback, Silver Spring, Md.)

SnOBJECTION: The appendage “sn” is a mere consonant cluster undeserving of the name “prefix,” and in fact the rules of this contest insisted on a full syllable. (Jonathan Paul) [Indeed. Not to mention that the common noun “objection” fails to qualify as a “name, phrase, title, etc.” — The Empress]

DisroBE OUR GUEST: What you hear at a Chippendales audition: “Disrobe our guest, disrobe our guest, doff his shirt and bare his chest!/ Do it now, then drop his trou/ To see if he leaves you impressed.” (Chris Doyle)

WannaBE OUR GUEST: Song parody that didn’t get ink in The Style Invitational. (Mark Raffman)

And Last: I ALONE CAN preFIX IT: Trump declares certain victory in Week 1470 of The Style Invitational. (Chris Doyle)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Feb. 7: Our contest for road sign or barbecue marquee messages. See

DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.