Mar 12, 2015

I have noticed that there is a tide of pens and pencils that flow out of my bag, the tide usually being out when I want one. I have also noticed that people take my pens but that, sadly, I can be caught taking the pens of other people. Which of us is in a position to cast the first stone when it comes to this crime of the pen-dependent age?

And so I greeted the contribution of kleptopeniac from a Macquarie Dictionary correspondent with delight. It is a word we quite possibly need. Perhaps it will help to stamp out the practice if the perpetrators can be labelled and vilified. There is not enough evidence to include it in the dictionary as yet, but perhaps the condemnation will grow and the kleptopeniacs will be recognised as such.

Tell us what you think about the word kleptopeniac. Leave a comment for us below.

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Karen M - March 19, 2015, 3:07 p.m.

If what goes around comes around, I don't see why kleptopeniacs should be villified. Think of it as a rare and enjoyable non-monetary transaction in our increasingly market-oriented world. (Is there a word for people like me who leave a trail of pens -- not to mention other impedimenta -- behind us. Apart from 'vague', that is.)

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Sue - March 25, 2015, 4:57 p.m.

To reflect the varying strengths of the predilection, perhaps we could add hypa-kleptopenia for a small tendency, hyperkleptopenia for a big habit, and hypokleptopenia for something less than hyper. I think you and your correspondent are onto something here. How about adding to the range: kleptostuffiac for loved people who take a fancy to your stuff like a plate or a tool (and internally declare it surplus to your requirements); kleptotoysiac for the little ones who are involuntarily drawn to others kids' favourite things; kleptoclothesiac for the sibling who loves your gear; kleptoMaciac for the klepto who keeps taking your iPad; and kleptoplagiac for those who appropriate others' ideas.

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Bob - April 14, 2015, 2:26 p.m.

I love Sue's list of variations on the theme. What would be the term for someone who compusively pockets other people's lighters after borrowing?

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