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Holy Holophrase! Naming Your Favorite Aggravations by El McMeen

Holy Holophrase! Naming Your Favorite Aggravations

by El McMeen

102 pages
Take a common aggravation. Your cat misbehaves. You suffer indignities while driving. At the supermarket. Or at the doctor’s office. You grumble but have an idea: “Holophrasis!” Let’s make up a word to capture our annoyance. That’s this book!

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Category: Humor
(requires Adobe Reader)
About the Book
Take a common aggravation. Your cat misbehaves. Or you suffer indignities while driving. Or at the supermarket. Or at the doctor’s office.

You grumble a bit, but then have an idea: “Holophrasis!” That means using one word to capture the situation! Hmmm. Let’s deploy or invent an amusing word, and have some fun with misery!

That’s just what El McMeen does in this rib-tickling book.
You’ll be LOL and nodding in agreement as you enjoy it!


You are at the grocery store, and another customer is doing dumb things and clogging the aisle.
You have encountered “Dopeandhoggin!”

When your cat refuses to use the scratching pole, she is practicing “Polavoid!”

When the tailgater passes you at warp speed, you are experiencing the feeling of “Mayacopseeya.”

The book also deals with euphemisms – taking difficult subjects and making them sound nice and pleasant. El shares his two favorites in the book, one having to do with airplanes landing and one having to do with drugs (legal ones).

There are plenty of others that will have you chuckling, and making up your own holophrases!


"Delightful book of observations of everyday life ... an engaging style that entertains yet unveils wisdom with the humor."
- S
"Another Title for My Book Club!"
- E
"This book will put a smile on your face and will lighten your heart."
- T
"A high spirited romp. Just what we all need in this stressful time."
- F

I first discovered the holophrase in the pages of the Washington Post, in the years before the Post disappeared into its Bezosian darkness behind a paywall. The paper hosted an annual neologism contest. Most winners were holophrases — that is, a whole phrase expressed in a single word. For example:

"Flatulence (N.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller." And this one, anticipating our need in a pandemic year: "Coffee (N.), the person upon whom one coughs." OK, and one more: "Rectitude (N.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists."

For whatever reason, this linguistic form struck my adolescent mind as very funny, and for weeks after I read the Post's winners I found myself dissolving into laughter at the most inappropriate moments. And that was in the day before we were hiding behind masks.

Well, now my friend El McMeen, doctor of polymathy, has published a book dedicated to the art of making these words. I'm doomed. You probably know El as one of the greatest living finger-style guitarists. (Check Wikipedia on his accomplishments. And listen to the music that's out there!) I pity you if you know him as a lawyer, unless he was representing you.

In Holy Holophrase he invites readers to name their favorite aggravations. The peeves are described in detail, and readers must render them in holophrase. El breaks all human annoyance down into a few categories: cats, motor vehicles (drivertickyouoffitis), doctor's office, and so on.

The book is a sustained exercise in wordsmithing and will delight my friends who have a fondness for cleverness, belly laughs, and poetry. And cats, of course.

- Mike Aquilina


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About the Author
El McMeen El McMeen is a retired New York City lawyer, a graduate of Harvard College and Penn Law School, and an ordained minister. He is an internationally acclaimed acoustic guitarist, communicator, and author, and has shared humor in public gatherings, including as an after-dinner speaker.



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