Ad-lib (verb, adjective, noun)- to improvise, to speak or perform spontaneously without preparation

A couple weeks ago I was once again babysitting for friends. For breakfast, their daughter had a Yoplait Original harvest peach yogurt (18g of sugar), immediately followed by a strawberry Go-Gurt (another 8g of sugar). There was a one-line Mad Libs on the frozen yogurt tube. She asked me to play. It honestly took me five minutes to understand what she wanted me to do: to fill in the blanks, but to do so improperly. The word game has one player promoting others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in the story before reading the sentences aloud. The outcome is often comical.

The name Mad Libs was inspired by ad-lib, which is a shortened Latin word ad libitum for “at one’s pleasure.” Ad-lib is used in various industries for the process of making something up as one goes along. In sheet music, ad libitum indicates the performer or conductor may take liberties with an aspect of a song, like tempo. In medicine, ad-lib means “as desire.” A fasting patient may be given a doctor’s order to not eat any food but “water ad lib.”

After breakfast and a finished Mad Libs, we walked to Havard Square and paid a visit to the World’s Only Curious George Store where I found a Mad Libs book. Here’s my second attempt: Frida Kahlo was an ergonomic, Mexican loofah. She was famous for dressing in wizened clothing and for geodesic self portraits. Her bidet style was known as Fluffernutter-ism.




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