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Is ‘Syzygy’ a Real Word? What Does Syzygy Mean? [SATIRE]

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross, Getty Images

It sounds like something out of Urban Dictionary, fo shizzle, but there is a long history behind the word “syzygy.”  And yes, it is a real word.  (Note that your author acknowledges that at least one phrase in this paragraph is being used incorrectly, or at least inappropriately for her age.  We press on, nonetheless.)

The spotlight was on the word during a press conference held by the Wisconsin Badgers in the crux of March Madness.  Sophomore basketball player Nigel Hayes helped test the audio equipment by saying, “syzygy” into the microphone.  What happened next will live on – much to Hayes’ chagrin – forever.  But the real news, at least in the eyes of some linguists, is that a word popular in the 1600’s has been brought to the forefront of popular culture, courtesy of the NCAA.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Wisconsin Basketball Star Suffers Wildly Embarrassing Moment

For the purpose of achieving some redemption for Hayes, photos of his stellar achievements on the court are being peppered into this post lest his unintentional and untimely flirtatious utterance overshadows either his performance or galactic vocabulary.

Photo Credit: Duane Burleson, Getty Images

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary the word “syzygy” originated in the 1650’s from “syzygia,” which meant the “conjunction or opposition of a heavenly body with the sun,” or the “yoke of animals, pair, union of two, conjunction.”

And if you think that there is no use for “syzygy” outside of the celestial realm, crowdsourced  Urban Dictionary credits contributor Blue Canary with the following definition provided on July 8, 2005:

“A word very valuable in situations where you are playing Scrabble and wish to temporarily infuriate your opponent with your apparent complete disregard for the simple dictionary-based rules of the game, only to have them remark in your favour with a certain astonishment when they discover it really is a word.” 


Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images

Merriam Webster offers the following, speculating that the first use of the word “syzygy” was around 1847:

“the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system”

And, for the record, Syzygy is also a rock quartet (comprised of musicians Carl Baldassarre, Sam Giunta, Paul Mihacevich, and Al Rolik in Ohio) and a word board game which is like a big crossword puzzle with letters that are similar to Scrabble tiles (

Since the alignment of objects in the solar system is regarded with particular significance, especially as the effects of one planet on another have been studied throughout history, “syzygy” is a word that cannot be disregarded.  Just ask Nigel Hayes, who may very well wish that the world paid less attention to his attraction for an apparently beautiful woman who happened to be orbiting his world during his cosmic proximity to a microphone. 

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