Click on the links below to see citations of orbisculate in the media and on personal websites.  



After learning about Mission Orbisculate, members of Orbisculation Nation have contacted us from around the world to share words their own families invented and to note how our dad's love of language was experienced in their family as well. We initially wrote a post about the phenomenon on our blog (since retired), but as the words kept coming, we decided to honor them -- and their creators -- with this dedicated section of Does your family have a word that should be added to the list or a reflection to pass along? Tell us about it at

Anthony A. Matthews, D.V.M..jpg

Anthony A. Matthews, D.V.M.


I lost my dad, Anthony A. Matthews, last April 21, 2020. He was 84 years old. My dad made up a word that all 13 of us kids thought was also a real word. We used it “normally” until we got older and people would ask what the heck we were talking about. That word was “floogie”: fuzz or lint or particle that one would find on the carpeting.


As you can imagine with 13 kids, money was scarce growing up. We did not have a vacuum cleaner. In fact, we didn't even know it was normal to own such a thing. My dad would regularly “employ” us, each with our own little dish or container, to pick up as many floogies from the living room carpeting as we could find. It was a contest, with a prize of knowing you were the winner, and we did this at least weekly.


As an adult, I use this word -- no longer embarrassed knowing that it is “not really a word” -- and I have taught my children to use this word, and they have passed it on to others.

Martha Matthews Fellman


In middle school, after a sleepover, I sat down for breakfast with my friend’s family. They offered me orange juice, and I asked if it was the kind with flickers. They were dumbfounded. Surprised, I explained that it was the little pieces (of pulp, as a normal-person would apparently say) that stuck to the glass and in between your teeth.


Annoyed by their laughter, I went home and told my mom, Lynn, that my friend’s family had never heard of flickers.


“Oh,” said my mom, looking guilty.


“What?” I asked.


“That’s because I . . . made that word up.”


“You can’t just MAKE UP words!”



Lynn and Kathleen


My dad made up a word when we were kids, woompus (I never saw it in writing, but that’s the phonetically correct spelling). A woompus was a big bird that came out at night, looking for children who are out after dark. If he found one, he would sweep it up and carry it away into the night. Yeah, I know, kind of creepy, but it scared me straight.




List of media citations of the word orbisculate:

​(Have you seen our word out there in a place not mentioned below? E-mail us at

  1. The coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 in America. My father is one of them. (NBC News)

  2. Neil Krieger, 78, biotech consultant who fought for civil rights (JTA)

  3. My Word: Words and prayers from a pandemic bubble (The Jerusalem Post)

  4. Is ‘orbisculate’ a word? The late Neil Krieger’s children want it to be. (The Boston Globe)

  5. Worthy Reads (JewishInsider)

  6. ‘Orbisculate’: Boston natives launch campaign to add word to dictionary in memory of late father (WHDH 7 News)

  7. Siblings Campaign To Add Father's Made Up Word to Dictionary (WBZ Radio)

  8. ‘The Prom’ and What’s Making Us Happy (NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour)

  9. Living Through Corona: A Word For Dad (WBUR Radio Boston)

  10. Citrus Is My Therapist (Food & Wine)

  11. Words of the Week of the Year 2020 (Because Language podcast)

  12. Heavenly Bottom (Bananas podcast)

  13. Blursday, doomscrolling, and the words of 2020 (Christian Science Monitor)

  14. Coining A New Word (WBZ’s Connoisseurs Corner)

  15. Local siblings seek to get late dad’s fake word in dictionary (Magic 106.7)

  16. Here’s juice in your eye. There’s a word for that. (Washington Jewish Week)

  17. Nightside With Dan Rea (iHeartRadio)

  18. 500,000 Covid deaths means 500,000 families like mine denied a proper goodbye (NBC News)

  19. Orbisculate: How a made-up word became a way to honor a father lost to Covid (Forward)

  20. A family is trying to get 'orbisculate' into the dictionary to honor their dad who died of Covid-19 (CNN)

  21. Family Of COVID-19 Victim Wants To See 'Orbisculate' In The Dictionary (NPR's Morning Edition)

  22. Family hopes to get citrus-squirting word 'orbisculate' into dictionary to honour father (CBC's As It Happens)

  23. US family wants to honour dead father by getting his word in the dictionary (NewstalkZB's The Mike Hosking Breakfast)

  24. Syracuse grad tries to get ‘orbisculate,’ a word invented in CNY, added to dictionary (

  25. Ever heard the word Orbisculate? You will soon! (HIS Radio)

  26. Family Wants Late Dad’s Made-Up Word, “Orbisculate,” In Dictionary To Honor His Memory (Tank's Good News)

  27. La Prima Cosa Bella (La Repubblica)

  28. A family is trying to get 'orbisculate' into the dictionary to honor their dad who died of Covid-19 (Summarizer)

  29. In Memory: The People Behind the Pandemic (CNN)

  30. Their dad died of covid. Now they’re trying to get the clever word he made up into the dictionary. (The Washington Post)

  31. Kings and Kingmakers (Unholy)

  32. You can’t look it up… yet: Siblings seek to honor late dad with ‘orbisculate’ (Times of Israel)

  33. The Authoritarian Impulse (Stay Tuned with Preet)

  34. Stand Clear of the Squirting Fruit: ‘Orbisculate,’ Coined by Late Alum, Forges Path to the Dictionary (Cornell Daily Sun)

  35. Tale of flawed fictional dictionary a delight (Winnipeg Free Press)

  36. Sarah Silverman & José Andrés Help Siblings Get ‘Orbisculate’ in the Dictionary (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)

  37. Siblings seek to honor father who died of COVID-19 by adding his made-up word to the dictionary (CBS Evening News/CBS Sunday Morning

  38. News of the Week: Long Walks, Ernest Hemingway, and Have You Been Orbisculated Lately? (Saturday Evening Post)

  39. To Coin a Phrase (Cornell Alumni Magazine)

  40. Words With Friends Adds ‘Orbisculate’ to In-game Dictionary in Remembrance and Celebration of Neil Krieger (BusinessWire)

  41. Siblings Seek to Honor Late Father by Adding His Made-up Word to the Dictionary (WFXB Fox TV)

  42. You don’t know what ‘orbisculate’ means? (Plus 61J Media)

  43. City Updates Housing Element on Orbisculate Day’s Eve (Citrus Heights Messenger)

  44. Children of Covid Victim Try to Add New Word to Dictionary in Memory of Their Father (MSNBC's Deadline: Whitehouse)

  45. Warning: This Fruit May Orbisculate (Reader's Digest print edition)

  46. Alum Memorialized with Campaign to Promote His Made-Up Word (Cornellians)