What a fabulous word! I shunpike whenever possible.
Jul 23, 2018
This week’s theme
This week’s words
Photo: John Glowacki
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with Anu Garg
What does a scarecrow have in common with a pickpocket? A breakfast with a flapjack? They are all tosspot words.
What’s a tosspot word?
Stick a noun to a verb and you have the basic recipe for coining a tosspot word. Two important points. First: the verb comes first. Second: The noun is the object of the verb, i.e. pickpocket is a tosspot word because a pickpocket picks pockets; repairman is not, because a repairman does not repair a man, unless you call your doctor a repairman (better to call him or her a sawbones).
Enjoy this week’s tosspottery. Also try your hand at the wheel and share your creations below or email us at email@example.com.
noun: A side road taken to avoid a toll road.
verb intr.: To travel on a side road.
From shun, from Old English scunian (to avoid or fear) + turnpike (an expressway, especially one with a toll). The word turnpike itself is a tosspot word, from turn + pike. Before a turnpike was a highway, it was a barrier on a road, from turn + pike (a horizontal beam turning on a vertical pin). Earliest documented use: 1853.
“Having safely deposited our daughter in Williamstown, Massachusetts, for the summer, my alluring wife and I decided to shunpike our way back home to Washington.”
Philip Terzian; Little Van, Big House; The Weekly Standard (Washington, DC); Jul 5, 2010.
See more usage examples of shunpike in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.