"Mensa Invitational" debunked

A Washington Post humor column titled "The Style Invitational" runs a series of popular contests, some of which since 1998 have featured taking any word; adding, subtracting or changing one letter; and creating a new word as well as its definition. As you would expect, many of the entries are clever and relevant — which is probably why someone who is now lost to the mists of time grabbed an early set of winners, changed the title to include a reference to Mensa, and sent it floating out into the Internet ether.

The revised "article" continues to circulate to this day on various Web sites, blogs and social networking sites, as well as in email. Looking at the Style Invitational's "report from Week 278," you'll see that many of the original responses mirror the list of words on the purported "Mensa Invitational" — including "intaxication," "bozone," "foreploy" and "glibido." Since 2005 or earlier, the "Mensa Invitational" has been suspected to be a hoax but no confirmation has ever been made prior to this. So we're here to debunk this urban legend.

Neither American Mensa, nor any other Mensa entity, has ever been affiliated with The Washington Post's "Style Invitational" column and/or its contests, to the best of our knowledge. It wouldn't surprise us if many of our members have entered the contests — and perhaps even have won — but that would be the limit of the interaction.

Because we appreciate their humor, we encourage the enthusiastic wordsmiths who continue to send American Mensa their new words and definitions to read and enter The Washington Post's "Style Invitational" contest. At the same time, we also heartily encourage them to consider joining American Mensa! We think they'd be at home here.