When I was a little kid, apparently one night we had stuffing with our dinner. For totally unexplained reasons, I referred to this as “conrad.” My family cracked up and it became canon; stuffing in our house just always got referred to as conrad from then on.

A few months ago, my oldest daughter (for equally unexplained reasons) referred to mashed potatoes as “matesh.” Similar laughter, similar adoption of the term.

Now her younger siblings call it that, too. Why not correct them?

Because inventing words is awesome. Life continues to change and evolve, and we often don’t have words for new concepts or experiences. Sure, we have a good word for blended up potatoes with butter on them, but it’s good practice to be able to impose your own terms on a wild and chaotic universe.

Someday everyone will encounter something that they have a hard time defining. Being able to put your own definition on it can be a fantastic way to add clarity to your communications. Thus evolves our shared language, and we get better at sharing ideas with one another.

That makes the world go ’round.

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