Style Invitational Week 1480: Oh, you don’t really mean that
Give us fake definitions for obscure words. Plus winning Googlenopes and ’Yups.
By Pat Myers
Yesterday at 9:45 a.m. EDT

To galp, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is NOT to glug down beer on your way down the Matterhorn, it's actually to gape or yawn. We don't care. (Bob Staake/Illustration for The Washington Post)

Click here to skip down to the winning Googlenopes and Googleyups

GALP: To chug a stein of beer while skiing down the Matterhorn.

It’s been a full decade since the Empress put up a list of obscure words and asked you to be proudly ignorant of their meanings. Since then, some generous downsizing neighbors thought of her and her weird job, and gave her their “Compact Edition” of the Oxford English Dictionary — in which the complete text of the full-size version (10 volumes, 15,490 pages) has been “reproduced micrographically” as 4,116 pages of ittybittyeenyweeny text, which you peer at, still squintily, with a big magnifying glass included in the two-volume slipcase. So the E dove in at random to produce the following list, which is augmented by similar words offered by Loser Mike Gips, who’d suggested she bring back the contest. This week: “Define” inaccurately and humorously any of the words in the list at the bottom of this column, as in Bob Staake’s example above (“galp” actually means to gasp or yawn). Feel free to use it in a sentence or otherwise be funny. Meanwhile: Do you know the real meaning of any of this week’s words? Well, good for you. Go fladge your fankle.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, March 28; results appear April 17 in print, April 14 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a big fat electronic Easy button: Push this big red button, and it will announce, “That was easy!” It’s perfect for that moment you might want to brag just for a second after making that big sale, or if you need a bit of reassurance after deciding to eat those last three doughnuts, or after dumping your significant other — just think how quickly you’ll be reviled by everyone you meet!

When you come in second in this week's contest, push this button to brag. (acoustic geometry)
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 “’Nope Fiends” was submitted by both Tom Witte and Jesse Frankovich; Chris Doyle 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, March 17, at, in which I share some classic ink from previous OED contests.

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago ...

’Nope fiends: Googlenopes and Googleyups from Week 1476
In Week 1476 we asked you to hunt for some Googlenopes — phrases that, in quotes, generate no search results — as well as some Googleyups, phrases that are surprisingly or ironically out there. There was also the occasional Googlewhack: a phrase that evinced one single hit. All of the entries below checked out when the Empress tried them; search results aren’t always consistent for everyone, it seems.

4th place:
All Googleyups: “Ted Cruz looks like a gerbil.”
“Ted Cruz looks like a weasel.”
“Ted Cruz looks like a hedgehog.”
“Ted Cruz looks like a mosquito.”
Googlenope: “Ted Cruz looks senatorial." (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

3rd place:
Googlenope: “The Palm is too fancy.”
Googlenope: “The Inn at Little Washington is too fancy.”
Googleyup: “McDonald’s is too fancy.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

2nd place and the water bottles labeled ‘bong water’:
Googlenope: “His comb-over fooled me.” (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Googleyups: “Was Abraham Lincoln a real person?” (3 hits)
“Is Homer Simpson a real person?” (6 hits)
“Is Joe Biden a real person?” (3 hits)
Googlenope: “U.S. education is the finest.” (Richard Lorentz, Woodland Hills, Calif.)

The end of our ’nopes: Honorable mentions

“Putin’s playful side.” (Dave Silberstein, College Park, Md.; Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

“Dan Snyder is my favorite …” (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

“I do CrossFit, but I don’t like to talk about it.” (Marty Gold, Arlington, Va.)

“Washington, D.C., snow preparation” (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

“Your mama’s so fatuous …” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

“I wish I’d saved my sweater vests.” (Scott Ableman, McLean, Va.)

“I wish there were more trailers before the movie” (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

“Small Costco jar” (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

“I wish my husband watched more football.” (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

“Not enough people post their Wordle results.” (Andy Schotz, Hagerstown, Md.)

“That Facebook comment changed my mind.” (Frank Mann, Washington)


“Sisyphean vicissitudes,” a Googlewhack that showed up in the New York Times (no surprise) sports section (surprise). (Bill Swedish, Arlington, Va., who last got Invite ink in Week 45, 1994)

“Stinkbug salsa,” “dung beetle gravy,” “cockroach pâté,” “gerbil pot pie”: all ’Yups. (Jonathan Jensen)

“How many calories in a squirrel?” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

“Toad whisperer” (6,290 hits). Also: “Horned toad whisperer” (2) (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

“Vegetables are smarter than fruits.” (Michael Cohen, Greenbelt, Md.)

Googlewhack: “A wet mule never flies at night.” (John Klayman, Bradenton, Fla.)

Googlewhack: “Breathtaking muumuus.” (Jeff Contompasis)

Googlewhack: “I don’t leave a trace on the Internet.” (Kevin Dopart)

Googlewhack: “I learn a lot from infomercials.” (Richard Lorentz)

Googlewhack: “Underwear-sharing near me.” (Kevin Dopart)

’Yups & ’Nopes

Googleyup: “Donald Trump swimwear” (over 1,000 hits)
Googlenope: “Bernie Sanders swimwear” (Ann Martin, Brentwood, Md.)

Googleyup: “Bluegrass bassoon”
Googleyup: “Death metal dulcimer”
Googlenope: “Dixieland harpsichord” (Jonathan Jensen)

Googleyup: “I enjoyed my colonoscopy” (10 results)
Googleyup: “I enjoyed my root canal” (1,300 results!)
Googlenope: “I enjoyed watching the new ‘Sex and the City’” (Mark Raffman)

Googleyup: “I found my soulmate on Tinder.”
Googleyup: “I found my soulmate on Bumble.”
Googlenope: “I found my soulmate with Date Lab.” (Jesse Frankovich)

Googleyup: “‘Maus’ banned in Tennessee”
Googlenope: “ ‘Mein Kampf’ banned in Tennessee” (Kevin Dopart)

Googleyup: “Clothing-optional bar mitzvah.”
Googlenope: “Clothing-optional bat mitzvah.” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

Googleyup: “I wish I had done more drugs.”
Googlewhack: “I wish I had drunk more beer.”
Googlenope: “I wish I had donated more to charity.” (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)

Googleyup: “Trump praises Putin as genius” (19,900)
Googlenope: “Putin praises Trump as genius” (Drew Bennett, Rogers, Ark.)

Googleyup: “Donald Trump has a sense of humor.”(8 hits)
Googleyup: “Mike Pence has a sense of humor.” (3 hits)
Googleyup: “Vladimir Putin has a sense of humor.” (3 hits)
Googlenope: “Dan Snyder has a sense of humor.” (Frank Mann)

Googleyups: “I miss my long commute”; “I miss my cubicle”; “I miss my boss”
Googlenope: “I miss my staff meetings” (Scott Ableman)

Googlenopes: “Tucker Carlson denounced white supremacists”; “Tucker Carlson denounced racism”; “Tucker Carlson denounced discrimination.”
Googleyup: “Tucker Carlson denounced epidemiological models.” (Duncan Stevens)

And Last: Googleyup: “Ink is what I live for” (3 hits, about tattooing) (John Klayman)

And Also Last: Googlenope: “Jeff Bezos reads The Washington Post” (Jesse Frankovich)