by alyssapelish

I’ve got an essay up at Identity Theory, about my formative years playing the language game called Balderdash.

In the game of Balderdash (which is just Mattel’s rendering of the old parlor game called “Dictionary”) there is a single word printed on the front of each card. Something you will have never seen. Perhaps schenkfelder, or allocochick, or sialogogue. Words so obscure that no one at the table will have encountered them – not even my father, who, having done the Times crossword puzzle every day of the week, long before I entered the world, seemed to me a repository of lexical bits and bobs. But Balderdash words are the white elephants, the curios and forgotten imports that lurk in the vast storehouse of the English language.