Last month, I heard NPR’s Renee Montagne interview Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah about her new novel, The Book of Memory. During the interview, Gappah talked about “Zimglish,” in which Zimbabweans coin words based on English words:

Jesus_and_Nicodemus_mdBecause we love our Bible—we consider ourselves a very strong Christian country—so we have a lot of phrases that we take from the Bible that we think are English words. So, for instance, Nicodemus is a man, a Pharisee who went to Jesus at night and said, “How can a man be born again?” So to do something “nicodemously” is to do something secretly, under cover of the darkness. So you have politicians condemning the “Nicodemus machinations of the government” and you think, “What?” It’s my absolutely favorite Zimglish word of all time.

So in Zimglish, “nicodemusly” means “to do something secretly, under cover of darkness.”

This, of course, got me to thinking about other possibilities. Allow me to share some I came up with.

“Abrahamly and Sarahly” = to do something that you’re just too old to do, and then laugh about it.

“Gideonly” = to be a total chicken who soars like an eagle.

“Jonahly” = to “progress” from blatant disobedience to petulant obedience, while picking up a great fish story along the way.

“Judasly” = to do something so unspeakable that people talk about it from then on.

“Isaiahly” = to walk around town naked for three years and still have people take you seriously.

“Gomerly” = (a) to be married to a preacher who insists on airing your dirty laundry in public. (b) to have children with really unfortunate names.

“Jezebelly”= to have a dog food named after you.

“Joshualy” = (a) to think the past tense of “fight” is “fit.” (b) to tend to make a really big mess.

“Gabrielly” = to get all uppity, in a heavenly sort of way.

“Jobly” = to wish somebody would give you a break already.

“Pharaohly” = to be ridiculously indecisive.

“Adamly and Evely” = to wish everybody would stop blaming everything on you.

“Solomonly” = to do some really dumb things for someone who’s supposed to be so stinkin’ smart.

“Goliathly” = to be really tired of people saying “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

“Danielly” = to have a way with cats.

“Samsonly” = to bring the house down.

“Bathshebaly” = to wish you weren’t so doggone beautiful.

“Shadrachly, Meshachly, and Abednegoly” = to be extremely cold-natured.

“Esauly and Jacobly” = to engage in over-the-top sibling rivalry.

“Paully” = to have an extreme aversion to short sentences and simple thoughts.

“Lotly” = to make a really bad real estate investment.

“John the Baptistly” = to dress funny, to eat weird stuff, and to talk real loud.

“Ezekielly” = to wonder why people keep asking you if you’ve been to Area 51 lately.

“Beloved Disciplely” = to choose to remain anonymous, only to have most folks assume they know who you are.

“Philemonly” = to be the recipient of a passive aggressive letter.

“Jesusly” = to know the way, go the way, and show the way.

And last but not least:

“MikeRuffinly” = to have lots of people wonder about you. . . .

Want to add to the list? Share yours in the comments.

This post originally appeared at On the Jericho Road.

Michael Ruffin is husband to Debra and father to Joshua (Michelle) and Sara (Benjamin). A graduate of Mercer University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has previously served as a pastor and as a university professor. He lives on the Ruffin Family Farm in Yatesville, Georgia. You can visit and communicate with him at He is the Connections Series Curriculum Editor.

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