For example, the other day I was driving down the road and got stuck behind someone going a good 15 mph below the speed limit. I couldn't go around the car because I needed to stay in the right lane so that I could make a right turn into a parking lot. The car in front of me was already going slow--in and of itself a frustrating experience--but as we got closer to where I needed to turn, the car in front of me kept going slower and slower and slower... until I shouted, "Enough of this ridiculosity!" Yes, road rage gets the best of us. Not only did I shout in my car at the driver in front of me, but I also experienced a momentary lexical gap in my vocabulary.
After my outburst, I started a conversation with myself (I was alone in the car) that went something like this:
Hmm... Ridiculosity doesn't sound like a real word. But what is the noun form of ridiculous? I'm fairly sure we have one because we'd need a noun to describe a ridiculous situation without using complex phrases full of modifiers when one word could sum it all up. The go-to suffix for making nouns tends to be -ness, so is ridiculousness the word I'm looking for? Well, that just sounds ridiculous. There's far too many s sounds in a row for that to be a good word. Ridiculousness... ridiculosity. I like ridiculosity better, but something is telling me ridiculousness is actually the word.When I got home, I went to my handy Mac dictionary, and--sure enough--ridiculousness is, in fact, the noun form of the adjective ridiculous. However, I think we should start a campaign that any adjective ending in -ous should form its noun counterpart by using the -ity suffix (thus changing the -ous to simply -os when spelling out the whole word). Words like ridiculousness, incredulousness, and marvelousness just sound wrong. Don't ridiculosity, incredulosity, and marvelosity just sound better?