Today’s Dilbert, in which the pointy-haired boss goes portmanteauing:


boss + exercise (in a spelling variant with –ize) = bossercize, formed on the model of the name of the dance fitness company Jazzercise.

In my 8/5/16 posting “Ziplinguists”, #5 is a Zippy strip entitled “Jazzercize”. The inchoative / causative derivational suffix is (very roughly) spelled –ise in the UK, –ize in the US, but for the verb and noun exercise, only the –ise spelling is standard, even in the US.

(I personally enjoy the jazzercize spelling. You can never have too many Zs.)

As for Jazzercise, from Wikipedia:


Jazzercise is a dance fitness franchise company founded by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969 and headquartered in Carlsbad, California [in northern San Diego County].

Jazzercise combines dance, strength, and resistance training with popular music for a full-body workout. The company currently has over 8,300 franchisees worldwide in 32 countries.

Dance fitness classes are mostly taken by women (as in #2), though some men do take them — and many classes are led by men. If they were billed as callisthenics classes (seen as aiming primarily at strength rather than fitness or grace), they’d probably attract a lot of men and very few women. This despite NOAD‘s definition, which does not, in my opinion, capture current usage accurately:

noun callisthenics: [treated as singular or plural] gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement. ORIGIN early 19th century: from Greek kallos ‘beauty’ + sthenos ‘strength’ + –ics.

Callisthenics in ancient Greece were a strictly male activity (aimed at developing strength and agility, to prepare men for warfare), and the association of the word with men — in gymnasiums and military training — continues to this day.

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