When a Typo Becomes a Word

by Marzipan Macbeth

Several people we (Herself and I) know like to play with words. Mostly, we prefer to play Hunt The Word, looking for exactly the right word with all the right nuances. But sometimes it seems like there isn't one in English — or at least it isn't readily to be found in dictionaries or in the thesaurus. And sometimes there are typos that look like a word, but aren't in the dictionary. In the space between these two frustrations, new words may be born.

We're writing a book. Some of the people in the book are part human, part faery. After months of trying to think of a name for this sort-of-species, a typo burst on the scene and it just sounded right. In an instant message, someone typoed "humna" instead of "human". It was just right — almost human, but not quite. So we began using the word in my story.

Then we had a thought. What if "humna" already was a word, perhaps commonly used in another language? And what if it meant something entirely inappropriate? Scary idea! So, of course, she googled "humna". At first, we didn't find much useful, but then in the Urban Dictionary we came across this:

Humna (n.) A person who is extremely annoying but lovable as well. Usually Humnas are very unique and odd. They tend to have large eyes and crazy laughs. Humnas are far from normal and aren't always well liked. It takes a special type of person to understand a Humna, but in the end they make for good company. A Humna is very entertaining and once you get to know a Humna you can't help but to fall in love.

Unfortunately, they didn't give the source of the word, but it will do just fine.

We blame the characterization of "extremely annoying" on the general human tendency to be irritated by anything they don't understand. And "wild laughter" would have been more appropriate than "crazy laugh" — "wild" as in untamed, unstudied, unrehearsed, "wild" as in natural, effervescent, free. But still, it's all a matter of personal perception of and reaction to the fae.

Wouldn't it be funny if our book became popular and "humna" eventually crept into the language as a half human/half faery? Or at least, half-faerylike?

Please to know, our copyrights are all in Herself's name in the Earth World. Can you imagine? They won't let a lovely wee chat sith dos legally hold a copyright. How silly is that?

© Copyright January 2015 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

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