illyinktum exhibit A

noun, a person in a foul mood; usually one that tends to put others around them in a bad mood as well (pronunciation:  ill-e-ink-tum)

I’m pretty sure that this word will  be a new one for many of you.  In fact, I tend to believe that this word is a “family specific” word that was created by my mother or her mother.   Since its not in the dictionary, I’ll use it in a sentence for you:  “Little Susie Sassafras is an illyinktum today because she didn’t take a nap.” It’s actually a pretty appropriate word for its definition if you analyze the word structure  – yes, that is English teacher talk.  Dissect it with me:

ill – a great word for a person in a bad mood
ink – that bad mood spreads around to other people “staining” their mood
tum – an abbreviated version of tummy (stomach) and in the history of the word bad moods were often attributed to poor digestive health

Although my mother’s use of this word is often in reference to a child, I did encounter my very own illyinktum in the form of an adult today.  To protect the innocent I shall call him/her “Pat.”  Unfortunately, I work with Pat and he/she is a very unhappy person and strongly feels that those around him/her should be as unhappy as he/she.  Pat tried to “stain” my mood today.  Sensing her “digestive issue,” I calmly attempted to help her out, but no matter what I suggested or did, it did not assuage his/her illyinktumness.  This might be a mood that lasts all year, so I will be avoiding the illyinktum at all costs or be so perky and joyous that it makes her even more illyinktumish! (Sorry I couldn’t resist.)


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