Today I learned about Gadsby, a novel written without the use of the letter “e”. Apparently this sort of thing is called a lipogram. I was reminded of one of my favorite stories by Edgar Allen Poe, X-ing a Paragrab.

In the same vein as my surprisingly popular post on the opposite of synergy, I’m looking for the opposite of “lipogram”. Unfortunately, I’ve had no luck in my search. I was originally led astray by numerous sites that incorrectly attribute it. Wikipedia says that it is from ancient greek “λειπογράμματος” and says that it is of lipo- and -gram. They are far from alone, but they would appear to be incorrect. “Lipo-” means fat, and “-gram” means letter, and “fat letter” is seems more likely the opposite meaning of lipogram.

OAD and Phrontistery agree that

“Lipogram” is a backformation (a word created by removing suffixes and prefixes from a prexisting word) from the Greek adjective lipogrammatos, meaning ‘wanting a letter’. The term is a combination of lip-, a weak stem of leipein ‘to leave, to be wanting’, and gramma, grammat- a letter.

From what I’ve read, it looks like “lambano” is probably the most reasonable greek word to turn into a prefix, and it has derivative forms of lempsis and lepsis (think narcolepsy). Based on my almost complete lack of understanding of Greek, I’d propose “lepogram” as a similarly backformed word to describe the missive of Mr. Touch-and-go Bullet-head. It’s unfortunate that it is so similar in spelling and pronunciation to its antonym, but this is logolepsy; we can’t compromise correctness for the apathetic.

Is there a more correct construction? Do we already have a word to describe this? Let me know!

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