Yesterday I actually used in conversation these two new, if inelegant, terms, invented my me:

1. BURNIE, as in “When I turned the corner, I smelled fumes, but it didn’t smell so much gassy as it did burnie.” Homphone: the proper noun ‘Bernie,’ as in “Don’t Bernie me!”

2. GYMMIE, as in “Without the blue protective mats on the wall, the church’s multi-purpose room would look a lot less gymmie.” Homophone: the proper noun ‘Jimmy,’ the lock-picking term ‘jimmie,’ and the singular of the chocolate sprinkles synonym, ‘jimmies.’

Yes, I recognize that adding an ‘-ie’ to a noun does not a new word make (and does the speaker sound like a 6-year-old make?!), but, hey, that’s why I’m a writer and not a professional orator. Thinking about it, I have a feeling that I’m more of an -ie person than an -ish person, though I do dig words like ‘cartoonish’ and ‘impish.’ Then again, those are real words. At least I don’t use the non-word ‘ish,’ as in “Sure, I’m working now…ish.”

So here’s what I want to know. When it comes to made-up words, are you an -ie person or an -ish person?



  1. memyselfandotherthings said,

    January 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    It depends on the word.

    For example I quite happily say: “that cake tasts a bit muffinish” however the beans we had to tonight where a bit “off-y”…

    So reassuring one is not alone.

    Oh and I thought you sounded like Yoda (sp?) from Star Wars.

  2. scheirmad said,

    January 19, 2010 at 9:52 am

    You know, you’re right. It does depend on the word. ‘Beethoven-ish,’ yes. ‘Beethoven-y,’ not quite.

    Reminds me of the Delawarian/Delawarite debate on an old, old episode of the TV show Taxi.

    In case you’re interested, there’s more on -ie words in parenting at

    Don’t we all sound like Yoda sometimes?

  3. Monica said,

    January 19, 2010 at 10:18 am

    This post cracked me up. 🙂 I don’t think I do either ie or ish really. I liked the post you referenced (parenting and ie/y usage). My kids never really used baby talk and I think that is because I don’t remember using it with them. Sometimes I might slip up and say puppy for a grown dog though. I’m only human, right? 🙂

    • scheirmad said,

      January 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      Interesting. I totally say ‘dolly,’ as in “Jake, have you decided which dollies you’d like to bring on the trip?” The dolly thing is a throwback to my Grandma, who died 30 years ago. Jake is such a good sport about it. He’s 11, and I guess he figures that if he still likes his stuffed animals, he might as well let me call a spade a spade.

  4. Lorraine said,

    January 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    My personal favourite is adding “able” as in: “The dried glue is binable”.

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