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Once again, Zippy plays with English morphology. This time it's -ity day in Dingburg:

We get happyosity, based on happy, extended by the accented variant of unaccented -ous; and rapturosity, either similarly derived (from rapture) or based directly on rapturous. Both have been invented a few times by others:

Rapture w/Cilantro and Risotto: I've just renamed this delicious dish, still lingering in tastebud memory from Sunday dinner. Shrimp and scallops cooked in chili oil, garlic, and cilantro. Lemon risotto. Rapturosity, indeed. (link)

If you would like, I would more than happy, even approaching rapturosity, to invent more adjectives to describe you! (link)

Bugfixes, new toys, and all-round happyosity. (link)

Are Americans so preoccupied with unhappiness that the majority of us would rather watch a news program about suffering, than one about happyosity? (link) [Blog posting entitled "Multihappyologist: One who studies many, much happiness"]

Playful -(os)ity formations have attracted occasional attention here on Language Log, beginning with the Snickers nougatocity coining here. This one, with the extension of the base, has an unusual spelling, with C rather than S. Following right on my nougaticity posting came Ben Zimmer on the example that probably started the playful -ity fashion, the noun bogosity, built on the slangy adjective bogus, treated as if it had the adjective suffix -ous.

Then followed seriosity in a Get Fuzzy cartoon, in a posting that also mentioned furiosity and fabulosity. All three are straightforwardly based on adjectives with the suffix -ous. They stand out because the suffix -ity isn't really productive (though there are models like curiosity).

Finally cameZippy, with the extended noun randomosity, based on random. And now we can experience morphological happyosity and rapturosity again.


  1. ellis said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

    "Then, brothers, it came. Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh". What Alex's distinction between gorgeousness and gorgeosity was I have no idea, but I do like this passage (hence its immediately coming to mind seeing 'happiosity').

  2. Tanja said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

    I'd say -ity is productive, just not so much in the -osity pattern; formations in -ability seem to abound. It's also somewhat marked for register.

  3. empty said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

    "Reciprocity" is an odd example, isn't it? Most non-jocular instances of -ocity are from -ocious words.

  4. Nathan Myers said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

    "Velocity" is an odd island.

  5. William Lockwood said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    Seems pretty straightforward to me, Mr. Myers:
    Velociraptor -> Velocity (having some quality similar to that of a killing machine)

  6. dhd said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

    My favorite instance of this lately is the strange Mandarin-English hybrid slang term "niubility" – the property of being "niu" or "niubi", i.e. awesome or excellent (but that's not what it literally translates as!) Don't know if anyone actually uses "niubility" or if it's just an Internet joke though…

  7. GAC said,

    November 15, 2009 @ 9:45 am


    I always tought 牛B was more like "bold/ adventurous" than awesome (ChinaSMACK has some examples of it being used disparagingly — some things are too niu.)

  8. GAC said,

    November 15, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    PS: I am not avoiding a sensitive character, I couldn't find it in my IME, hence writing 牛B instead of finding the actual character. Stupid Microsoft IME.

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