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Today, watching Toronto city council in action and live-tweeting it, @cityslikr tweeted, “Crowdsource: We need a word that describes being surprised but not being at all surprised. Anyone? Everyone?”

Several people made suggestions, most of them portmanteau words and the remainder based on humorous reanalyses. My first effort was subprised, which I wasn’t altogether satisfied with. Surprise is actually formed from Latin parts meaning ‘overtake’; replace the sur with sub and you get parts meaning ‘undertake’ – but in this case the sense seems really more like ‘underwhelmed’. But that’s not what @cityslikr had in mind.

I knew just what was intended. I’m sure you know too. The city hall instance that provoked the question was not likely a pleasant surprise, but the same word could serve equally well for a pleasant one. I think of the time when a very capable, intelligent, calm, steady, and devout young…

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