But these are getting much too fancy, don't you think? Top honors go to Allan Crossman, of Oakland, California, who was the first of many readers to propose the neat, uncomplicated coinage fridgety.
The other December fugitive sought was "a term that describes the manner in which two people who dislike each other manage to avoid acknowledgment … when their paths cross in public." Troy Bramston, of Sydney, Australia, wrote, "This is what is known as giving each other the cold shoulder." True—but what fun is that? Doug Donderi, of Toronto, Ontario, wrote, "The best word I know for this is select-a-vision. I do not take credit for this. I don't know how this word came to me—but it does the job, and I have always used it in my self-to-self vocabulary." In fact Donderi has engaged in some ingenious recycling. SelectaVision is the name of a videodisc system that RCA introduced almost a quarter of a century ago. The discs looked like silvery LPs, and contained video as well as audio.
Chris Lazzarino, of Lawrence, Kansas, apparently had no trouble getting into the spirit of this question. He wrote, "Ah, the delight in seeing and not acknowledging your spiteful, black-hearted little enemy! Few dark pleasures are more satisfying than dishing out the silent greetment." Lisa Crocker, of Springfield, Illinois, had a suggestion that, she admitted, "is more like a non-greeting." Her word is hellno.
Katie Fife, of Dallas, coined circumnavihate; Jerry Schoen, of New Salem, Massachusetts, n'approchement; Pamela Halverson, of Raleigh, North Carolina, snide-stepping; and Pat Geoghegan, of Montreal, Quebec, unanimosity. Pamela Stewart, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wrote, "Two people avoiding each other in a social situation? Each is, to the other, a persona non greeta."
David Hochman, of Santa Monica, California, coined near-dis, and Nancy Lewkowicz, of Yellow Springs, Ohio, sneer miss. Stephen Zender, of Hudson, Wisconsin, coined proxenmity, and James H. Ballard, of West Lebanon, New Hampshire, close poxenmity, and Clela Reed, of Athens, Georgia, suggested snubterfuge, and P. Pagan, of Santa Barbara, California, snubbing their foes.
What an embarrassment of riches! But maybe the cleverest correspondent on this subject—at any rate, she who takes top honors—is Karen Sparapani, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, who suggested can't-standoffish.
Now Deborah Ro, of Seattle, writes, "What is the word to describe the moment right before you are about to do something terribly stupid, when everything runs in slow motion as you watch hopelessly? The actions I mean include locking your keys in the car, knocking over a beverage at dinner, or inserting a stack of bills into the mailbox—along with the checks you had intended to take to the bank for deposit."
And Roger Wilson, of Roanoke, Virginia, writes, "Thin women: petite, athletic, slender. Larger women: buxom, full-figured, Rubenesque. Women in between? Medium. Not even dress shops have a flattering word for women who are just right. Please help me before I seek such a woman in a personal ad."