Because the existing word hypnagogic means “of, relating to, or occurring in the state of intermediate consciousness preceding sleep,” and hypnopompic means “of or relating to the partially conscious state that precedes complete awakening from sleep,” many people came up with hyp- coinages. Among these were hypnagogignosis and hypnopompignosis (both from Mark Doescher, of Seattle), hypknowsis (Craig Buschmann, of Salt Lake City), hypnagogic suggestion (Ryan Walton, of Boston), hypnosynthesis (Jonathan Gellman, of the Bronx, New York), and hypnologic (Chuck Barton, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island).
Sleepiphany was the coinage most often proposed. Clever, but this word—along with most of the previous ones—has a crucial flaw. A sleepiphany would be the solution a person dreams up, not the time of half sleep that we wanted a name for. Karen Scott, of Austin, Texas, took the requested tack. She wrote, “I like to call the time between sleeping and waking, when the best ideas occur, getting forty thinks.” Cathy Capozzoli, of Kapaa, Hawaii, wrote, “Have you thought of calling the precious time between asleep and awake snorkeling? You are just below the surface, so what you may see is different from what you may see just above.”
Top honors go to Dale Beames, of Deerfield Beach, Florida, for a word that does double duty: twilightenment. It’s apt for the time of half sleep—and as a bonus, it can also mean a solution arrived at during this time, as so many people seemed to want the coinage to do.
Also in December a reader wanted a word for the situation in which children say they’re hungry and ask when supper will be ready, and then have to be nagged to come to the table. Thomas Zappala, of Needham, Massachusetts, and Martin Pietrucha, of State College, Pennsylvania, thought the children must have vamished; Gerry Balsley, of Corinth, Texas, that they famoosed.
Words proposed for this fugitive often came in pairs. Barbara Springer, of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, wrote, “My mother, who was married four times, complained that all her husbands acted in the manner described, and she had a name for it: whining and dining. However, children were not allowed to whine and dine; if they tried, it was called just plain misbehavior and treated as such.” Graham Warren, of New Haven, Connecticut, looked at the situation from the point of view of the children and came up with chide and hide. Clare Broyles, of Phoenix, wrote, “My kids often do the same, and I would term it (since they are kids, after all) bleat and run.” Who could top that? No one did: Broyles takes top honors.
Now DEBRA FARRINGTON, of Hershey, Pennsylvania, writes: My husband is a pack rat; he keeps everything. I am just the opposite. There is no word, however, for the opposite of a pack rat. What would we call people who are good at letting go of possessions, rather than keeping things in case they might— decades from now—need them again?”