The Chicktionary, a book by Anna Lefler

Do you know what a briet is? I do, thanks to the Chicktionary.

Briet, noun
A diet undertaken by a woman specifically for the purpose of losing weight prior to her wedding. Created by combining the words “bride” and “diet” (not, unfortunately, “brie” and the letter “t”), the very coining of this term underscores just how much pressure is on today’s bride to show up looking like a million bucks at her nuptials (which hopefully carry a price tag somewhere south of that figure). Depending on how invested the bride is in the goal of perfecting her figure for her wedding day, she may begin her briet regimen anywhere from a week to twenty years prior to the blessed event.

excerpt from The CHICKtionary

The Chicktionary, a book by Anna Lefler

The CHICKtionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know is a book by the funny, talented, beautiful Anna Lefler. It is, as it sounds, an encyclopedic collection of words from pop-culture and eras gone by, all relevant to today’s modern woman. I read it straight through and got some laughs, learned some new terms, and quite possibly grew a vagina. If you have a sense of humor, you should buy this book!

I asked Anna to agree to an interview, and little did she know what she was getting into . . .

Avitable: Would you be surprised if I told you that I knew 98% of the terms in the CHICKtionary?

Lefler: Dude, I’d be surprised if you didn’t know them. You’re plugged in like that.

Avitable: What type of research did you put into its development and creation?

Lefler: I had a total of two months to create the book, including all research and writing, so I had to jump in and immediately start with the definitions that I knew while simultaneously talking with women in different age groups to collect more along the way. The target number of definitions was 450, so I went for a mix of words and phrases that pretty much every woman would be familiar with, plus some old-school retro terms for fun and – very importantly – as many of the latest pop-culture terms I could find.

That being said, I wrote the book strictly for humor value, and when I learned that it had been categorized as “reference,” I just about died. Then I got to thinking that the publisher’s strategy was genius. I mean, it’s easy to be the funny book when you’re shelved between an encyclopedia and the SAT prep guide, right?

Avitable: What is your feeling about the new trend of compounding words, like cheftestant, celebutante, infotainment, or mangina?

Lefler: I LOVE hybrid words. I think they’re fascinating. I was a linguistics major in college (okay, for a while, anyway) and I thought it was interesting the way language would evolve on the spot to fit some new situation. That seems to be happening at an accelerated rate these days and I think it’s very entertaining.

Avitable: What’s the next step for the book? A word of the day calendar? A movie starring Ryan Gosling just standing around saying “Hey girl, do you know what “greige” means?”

Lefler: First of all, count me in for anything involving everyone’s favorite hot baby goose. As for other future plans, I’ve got some upcoming CHICKtionary appearances on the calendar and those are always fun. Aside from CHICKtionary projects, I’m also finishing up a novel and I’m very excited about that.

Avitable: Speaking of movies, if there was ever one made about your life, who would you want to play you? Who would probably end up playing you? Who would you want directing it? Would it be an adult film?

Lefler: The obvious choice to play me would be Lorne Greene, but sadly, he is no longer with us. The next in line is Brangelina (yes, both of them), but I’m guessing the studio will not kick in for all that childcare, so it would likely be a combo of the person who wore the pink Power Ranger suit and the team that directs that insurance lizard. As for it being an adult film, I’m flattered that you think I could do anything remotely grown up.

Avitable: President Obama will likely leave quite a legacy, but I think one part of that should be a word related to him, Michelle, or the administration that would appear in volume 2 of the CHICKtionary. What would that word be and what would it mean?

Lefler: I would nominate the word “crewed.” Michelle won praise for wearing J. Crew clothing early in her husband’s presidency and has continued to look tailored and current over the last four years. I think the word “crewed” could describe anyone who has a sharp, tailored-but-contemporary style that is distinct and easily recognizable, as hers is. For instance, a friend might compliment you by saying that you look “totally crewed, as usual” in a photograph. (Okay, I just re-read that and I’m definitely using that word later today.)

Avitable: Don’t you hate when you say or type a word over and over again and it doesn’t look right anymore? Like rowboat. Rowboat. Rowboat. Rowboat. Rowboat. Rowboat. Rowboat. Isn’t that weird?

Lefler: Yes. That happens to me when I have to address Christmas cards to people I don’t like. I can not STAND Larry and Roberta Rowboat in particular.

Avitable: What would “avitable” mean in your lexicon? What about “lefler?”

Lefler: Avitable, adjective
The indefinable but irrefutable quality of being able to taunt passersby with promises of hard-won boardgame victories and salty snacks while at the same time mesmerizing them with an almost imperceptible sales pitch for a timeshare in Clear Lake, Florida. Example: “I was trying to find Radio Shack and then, out of nowhere, I found myself playing Bananagrams and eating Triscuits with this fellow who was so…avitable. Well, I’m off to Clear Lake!”

Lefler, noun
The row of bristles located near the beater on a vacuum cleaner that serves to filter out big stuff. Example: “There’s your problem. Your lefler is completely shot. No wonder you’ve been sucking up so many Legos. That’s going to run you eighty, maybe ninety bucks.”

Thank you to Anna for participating in this interview, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of The CHICKtionary!

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23 Replies to “Do you know what a briet is? I do, thanks to the Chicktionary.”

  1. Alexandra

    Anna Lefler.

    What can be seen here is how funny and quick as a whip she is. The real deal with her is her kindness to people.

    I attended a presentation by Anna at the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers’ Conference, and she leaves me without words; that someone with her talent and obvious intelligence, remains modest and approachable, to everyone. She doesn’t think she is above anyone.

    She is impressive. And a rare find.

    Very nice interview here. Thank you.

    I wish Anna so much success. She’s a bright woman who reminds us there’s room enough for everybody.

  2. Heather @ nobody-but-yourself

    Long time Anna Lefler fan, first time visitor. Anna rocks. I have a copy of The Chicktionary and sing its praises whenever the opportunity presents itself. Also sometimes when it doesn’t so much present itself, but I sing its praises nonetheless. (Example of opportunity presenting itself: while strolling through the aisles of B&N or the public library. Examples of opportunity not so much presenting itself but me singing its praises nonetheless: in the next stall over in the ladies’ room. Over the running water of the shower in the locker room at the Y. In the feminine hygiene products section of the grocery store. In the line for Communion at church.)

    I’m just glad that, while I can feel all smug that I’ve known the amazingness of Anna and the fantabulousness of The Chicktionary for aeons now (and the extra “a” makes me extra fancy, FYI), I’ve now found a new, cool blog to read. Anna just doesn’t post often enough, so there’s a gap in my “cool, funny blog” schedule that this looks to fill nicely.

  3. Betty Henry

    I had to put the Chicktionary on the back of my shelf. I couldn’t get any work done. Rather than reading it straight through, I decided to “reward” myself with it. It became addictive. My husband would find me laughing hysterically while sitting at my desk with my dog barking at me because she couldn’t figure out what the deal was.

    It’s a great gift book for all of your girlfriends. And, if you’re trying to thwart the competition, you might send them copies as well. No way they’ll get any work done either!

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