Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Neologisms (new words and phrases) 2014

Thomas Jefferson on Neologisms  “But if dictionaries are to be the arbiters of language, in which of them shall we find neologism? No matter. It is a good word, well sounding, obvious, and expresses an idea, which would otherwise require circumlocution. I am a friend to neology. It is the only way to give to a language copiousness and euphony.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820)

To a writer, the use of neologisms is a conscious decision. You ask yourself, “Does this fit my character, the times, and does it express what I want my character to say to move forward the plot?” “The cat’s meow” does not belong in Slaughterhouse Five nor does “poshitis” make sense in Jane Eyre. Here is a list of some current neologisms. Some will become an integral part of the American English language and others will fade like cheap lipstick. is an excellent resource for neologisms.

DIGITAL DETOX—period when a person, in order to decrease stress, stops using electronic devices

DIGITAL AFTERLIFE---what remains of a person online after their death

PLANET HACKING—geo-engineering methods intended to mitigate climate change

MULTIGEN—groups includes people of several different ages

CULTURED LEATHER—leather grown from skin cells

POSHITIS—back pain from carrying in the crook of your arm an oversized handbag

WIKICELL—type of edible food packaging

ZENWARE—internet technology designed to make users calmer

CRONUT—cross between a doughnut and a croissant

MEM—image or piece of ext that helps you remember something

MEH—uninteresting especially conversation on-line

FRANKENSHOES---really ugly shoes

FLATFORMS—flat shoe with a high, thick sole

HOBOSEXUAL—sexually active person who hops from one partner to another

BROMANCE—strong, nonsexual friendship between two or more men

ALCOLOCK—device on a car that locks the engine when a driver has consumed too much alcohol

DWEETS—drunken Tweets

PHUBBING—snubbing someone in a social situation

TWERK(ING)--dance in a highly sexual, provocative way

LISTICLE—a magazine article written like a list

PINKWASHING—practice of using the color pink to indicate a company has joined the search for a cure for breast cancer (from Susan B. Komen Foundation)

CUPERTINO EFFECT—computer automatically types what it thinks you meant to say; ‘fraud’ instead of ‘Freud’

SLACKVISION—practice of clicking multiple on-line petitions for political reasons

SELFIE—picture you take of yourself to post on a social media site

EX—former; he exed his girlfriend last night

IFNIK—person who lives, works and plays conditionally. He gives several reasons he will or will not join “if….”

VIDEOCRACY—power of visual images in contemporary societies that have a crucial impact on the consumer-- “I want that!”

ALPHA CONSUMER—person who picks up trends early and who has to have the newest, hottest item; influenced by videocracy

WEBBIAGE—too much information on a web site

BEAULICIOUS—something that appeals to the two senses of vision and taste; a beaulocious cupcake for instance

BOFRO—shortened form of boyfriend

SSB—sugar-sweetened beverage

PRANCERCISE—form of exercise that imitates a horse prancing

FLOOROBE—pile of clothes discarded on the floor during a busy day

FACE BOOK-HAPPY—miserable person who fakes bliss in carefully managed Face book posts

BRAPHET—person who thinks he knows everything

PEACOCKING—similar to braphet in that a person gives off an intentional, superior image to others via expensive clothes, cars, electronic equipment, houses, boats

OBAMACARE—political term for managed health care in America

BIT COIN—decentralized, open-source, peer-to-peer currency

BINGE-WATCHING—marathon viewing of a TV series from its DVD set

SMH---shaking my head

SNOWHAWK—line of snow you are unable to reach when you brush off snow accumulation on your car; auto Mohawk

FISHELED—wrong weather forecast; snow storm predicted for overnight but you wake up to no snow for instance

DISNEY EFFECT—to make a bad prequel or sequel to a blockbuster movie

               Old Neologisms
"O harsh lips! I now hear all around me such words as common, vices, entry, malice; even virtue, study, justice, pity, mercy, compassion, profit, commodity, colour, grace, favor, acceptance. But whither, pray, in all the world have you banished those words which our forefathers used for these new-fangled ones? Are our words to be exiled like our citizens? Is the new barbaric invasion to extirpate the English tongue?"
(Alexander Gill, Logonomia Anglica, 1619; quoted by Henry Barnard in English Pedagogy, 1862)

1 comment:

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

A perennial favorite! Love these neologisms, even the ones I hate. :)