We were old....and now we're even older
January 25, 2008 6:17 AM   Subscribe

My 4 friends and I had been planning a combination 30th birthday party to be announced as our "sesquicentennial" (that is...five thirty year olds = 150 years). Now, we seem to have added a sixth honoree to the party (six thirty year olds = 180 years). So....now what do we call it? My best guess so far is after the cut.

My best guess, based on the info here and here, is "octogincentennial." Does that sound correct to anyone else?
posted by divka to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Based on this info, I'd call it an octadecacentennial.

Add two more and you can call it a double-dodecacentennial!
posted by googly at 6:43 AM on January 25, 2008

Technically you multiply each part. So octogincentennial would mean 8000 years (8 x 10 x 100). Hexatrigentennial would literally mean (6 x 30) and be fitting especially describing the sum and it's parts (rather than Trisexagennial, 3 x 60, or Binonagintennial 2 x 90).

So I'd go with Hexatrigentennial.
posted by yeti at 6:45 AM on January 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

Based on this info, I'd call it an octadecacentennial.

If I saw "octadecacentennial" out of context, I might interpret it either as 1800 ( (8+10)*100 ) or 8000 ( 8*10*1000) years, but never 180.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:58 AM on January 25, 2008

Hmm. Good point, DA.
posted by googly at 7:08 AM on January 25, 2008

Having a recreational interest in both numbers and language, I figured I'd be able to easily come up with a suggestion. After some research, I (slightly disappointingly) realized that the prefixes you used (octogin- and cent-) were in fact the best for the job. The only question is in which order you would want to put them. Using this construction, you're looking for 100 + 80. I am not a linguist, and this is not a description of actual etymologic practice, but rather an amateur attempt to build a rule to ascertain a rule that describes existing words and extrapolate to create a new invented word. There seems to be a tendency (but not a universal rule) to put the smaller number first for numbers between 12 and 17 (e.g. "duodecagon", "hexadecimal", and "triskadekaphobia"), as you have.

For multiples of a hundred, however, you get a multiplication effect as in "bicentennial" and "tricentennial". I don't see a strong reason to expect this multiplication habit to continue indefinitely considering the bizarre flip-flopping that happens. This kind of screws things up.

Yeti: While multiplication happens for preceding the prefixes "centi-" and "gen-" with small numerical prefixes, it doesn't happen for "deca-" so I would hesitate to call it rule and declare anything "technically" here, especially in application to preceding "trigen-". However, if we decide there aren't any sufficiently compelling rules to be drawn from previous examples, having a prefix that means "six thirties" is more elegant for this party than one that means "one hundred plus eighty".

Googly: You seem to be mixing up multiplication and addition here. This is not something I oppose on principle, but I can't see a rhyme or reason to your logic. Why does the "octo-" compound the "deca-" while the "octodeca-" is only added to the "cent-"?

I was only able to find one site on the internet featuring such constructions for anniversaries, and they used the opposite construction, "centioctogintennial", which sounds less stylish than yours. They also don't give any explanation for their construction methods, so I can't tell if they have a good reason or not.

Upon preview, I have modified my comment to take into account other's comments.
posted by ErWenn at 7:10 AM on January 25, 2008

sesquicentennial is too cool of a word to not use. i'd call it the thirtieth anniversary of the sesquicentennial
posted by lester's sock puppet at 7:15 AM on January 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

since there's apparently no standard word, anything you use is going to have to be made up, so why not make up something fun? if you split 180 into three 60s and use "sex" for the six, as in "sextuplets", then you get "trisexadecennial". then you have entree to jokes about trying sex only once every ten years at your age.
posted by bruce at 8:13 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree with the reasoning of Hexatrigentennial, but I'd go with Sexitrigentennial because it sounds cooler, some might even say sexier.
posted by cardboard at 8:37 AM on January 25, 2008

How about a 6:30 wake up call?
posted by iamkimiam at 9:31 AM on January 25, 2008

"The Great Sesquicentennial, Also Featuring [name of sixth honoree]"
posted by arianell at 9:54 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

SuperBirthday CLXXX.
posted by mumkin at 11:22 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can you tell this 6th honoree that they're fucking up a perfectly good Waiting for Guffman reference?
posted by butterstick at 1:34 PM on January 25, 2008

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