Today is my friend Bryan’s birthday, and so it is fitting that I write this post in his honor about something he will forever be known for.
One Warcraft raid night during a lull in the activities, Bryan and some others in the raid group were chatting about books. I must admit that I wasn’t paying that much attention until just the right moment, when Bryan announced that the book he was reading was “totally not fictionary”.
This caused an eruption of laughter. You must note that when you hear laughter on Ventrilo (the voice chat program), the laugher must depress a key and hold it in order to have his or her voice heard. So everyone thought it was funny enough not only to laugh out loud, but to broadcast that laughter to the rest of the channel.
Another member of the raid group, Cari, who works as a librarian, practically burst into tears of hilarity that you could hear in her voice. “The next time someone asks for a book,” she barely managed to say, “I’ll ask if it’s fictionary or nonfictionary.”
Rather than just being a synonym for “fiction”, this word has actually been adopted by the community and turned into a different word altogether. Bryan’s initial humorous mispronunciation has been reanalyzed as a blend of “fiction” and “dictionary”, and now occupies a unique unfilled niche in the English lexicon. If someone appears to be making something up, they are asked if the “found that in the fictionary”. If someone creates a new funny word, they are encouraged to “submit it as an entry in the fictionary”. There are countless other uses of this word that I probably have missed, but overall it seems to carry a meaning of “a book containing all things that aren’t real”.
Of course, the fictionary itself is, in fact, fictionary. So far.