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Apr 12 2012   11:57AM GMT

So, this guy walks into a bear…

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

A guy literally (literally literally, in fact) walked into a bear the other day because he was so engrossed in texting. Now bears, especially the ones in the half-ton range, are not particularly known for their stealth. They don’t tiptoe and — to put it bluntly — they smell. If you don’t see them coming, you’re apt to either hear them or pick up their, um, scent.

 Our Californian did none of the above. What he did do, when he finally wrenched his gaze from his mobile, was run like hell. (Not advised, of course, because although not stealthy bears are surprisingly fleet of foot.)

We really need a sniglet for people roaming the streets so engaged with their cell phones that they’re oblivious to their surroundings. A sniglet is a term that isn’t in the dictionary but should be. Essentially, it’s a licence to make words up. But only when you really need to — and it has become apparent that we really need a word for this common phenomenon.

A while back, a couple of readers sent a message (which we read responsibly seated at our desks) suggesting that we needed a sniglet for this very phenomenon, not necessarily bear-related but for the common state that would make an event like this possible.

We’ve had a few suggestions: cell-outs, phoneys, cellots, cell zombies, i-blivious… but nothing that really seems to capture the phenomenon perfectly.

Come on — stop texting and playing Angry Birds for long enough to send us a sniglet!

Comment here, tweet to @tao_of_grammar or email us.

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