Alternative Definitions 

Boss : Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early. 

A Classic : A book which people praise, but do not read. 

Compromise : The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece. 

Conference : The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present. 

Conference Room : A place where everybody talks, nobody listens and everybody disagrees later on. 

Committee : Individuals who can do nothing individually and meet to decide that nothing can be done together. 

Diplomat : A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip. 

Etc. : A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do 

Experience : The name men give to their mistakes. 

Lecture : An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through the minds of either 

Philosopher : A fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead. 

Politician : One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after. 

A Smile : A curve that can set a lot of things straight.  


The Washington Post published a contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternate meanings for various words. The following were some of the winning entries: 

Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon. 

Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained. 

Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. 

Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk. 

Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent 

Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie. 

Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp. 

Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller. 

Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline. 

Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam. 

Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist* immediately before he examines you. 

Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions. 

Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts. 

Megahertz (n) A lot of pain 

Hebrew (n)  Strong beer 

Polynesia (n) Loss of memory in parrots


*A proctologist: a doctor specialising in problems of the Rectum. 


© Malta Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language