Word Spy Blog

Tag Archives: neologisms

Data Divination

Data DivinationYou’ve probably heard of big data, but do you know about all the other datas? To wit:

  • cold data
  • cubed data
  • dark data
  • dirty data
  • fast data
  • hot data
  • live data
  • long data
  • medium data
  • responsible data
  • small data
  • target-rich data
  • thick data
  • transient data
  • slow data

I talk about these and other flavors of data in my latest column for IEEE Spectrum. Check out the column online here.

Behold the Cloud of Clouds: The Intercloud

Behold the Cloud of Clouds: The IntercloudCloud computing is notoriously hard to define, but that hasn’t stopped most of the developed (and a sizeable chunk of the developing) world from embracing cloud tools for storing, sharing, streaming, and synchronizing data. Cloud engineers and programmers have been hard at work coming up with new cloud technologies and systems, and they’ve given them names such as fog computing and human cloud, to name just two that I’ve featured here on Word Spy. There are many others — dew computing, cloudlet, ad-hoc cloud, follow-me cloud — and I highlight them in my latest column for IEEE Spectrum.

Check out the column online here.

The Internet of Things Is Full of Motes, Domotics, and BANs

The cyberattacks that brought big chunks of the Internet to its knees last Friday were mostly created through the hijacking of insecure cameras and other devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Coincidentally, my most recent column for IEEE Spectrum looks at the new words and phrases that are part of the IoT revolution.

Check out the column online here.

Words That Turn Twenty in October, 2016

In honour of Word Spy’s 20th birthday earlier this year, throughout 2016 I’m highlighting words that are celebrating their own 20th birthdays.

Here’s a list of words that were coined (or have an earliest citation) in October, 1996:

Beowulf cluster
n. An inexpensive supercomputer-like system created from a collection of two or more desktop PCs connected by a high-speed network.
Earliest citation date: October 15, 1996

calm technology
n. Technology that remains in the background until needed and thus enables a person to interact with it in a calm, engaged manner.
Earliest citation date: October 5, 1996

deskfast
n. Breakfast eaten at a desk.
Earliest citation date: October 10, 1996

fleshmeet
n. A meeting in person, especially one composed of people who usually or only converse online.
Earliest citation date: October 17, 1996

foliologist
n. A person who is an expert on where and when tree leaves change color during the fall.
Earliest citation date: October 6, 1996

geeksploitation
n. To induce young computer programmers to work long hours by taking advantage of their enthusiasm and high energy levels.
Earliest citation date: October 11, 1996

generation lap
n. The tendency for young people to be increasingly more adept at technology than their parents or elders.
Earliest citation date: October 14, 1996

microbrowser
n. A small-footprint web browser that can be used with next-generation telephones and other small devices.
Earliest citation date: October 7, 1996

multipath movie
n. An interactive CD- or Internet-based movie that enables viewers to choose from several different plot lines.
Earliest citation date: October 28, 1996

phishing
pp. Creating a replica of an existing web page to fool a user into submitting personal, financial, or password data.
Earliest citation date: October 1, 1971

Talibanisation
n. The rise of extremist, fundamentalist groups within an Islamic society.
Earliest citation date: October 11, 1996

trading coach
n. A person who advises stock traders on the strategy and psychology of investing.
Earliest citation date: October 25, 1996

transumer
n. A big-spending traveler; a person who travels to shop.
Earliest citation date: October 1, 1996

vehicularly housed
adj. Describes a homeless person who lives in a car.
Earliest citation date: October 12, 1996

waitress mom
n. A woman who is married, has children, works in a low-income job, and has little formal education.
Earliest citation date: October 20, 1996

Zen mail
n. An incoming email message without any body text or attachments.
Earliest citation date: October 1, 1996

Words That Turn Twenty in July, 2016

In honour of Word Spy’s 20th birthday earlier this year, throughout 2016 I’m highlighting words that are celebrating their own 20th birthdays.

Here’s a list of words that were coined (or have an earliest citation) in July, 1996:

black-hole
v. To cause to disappear; to prevent someone or something from communicating or being communicated.
Earliest citation date: July 29, 1996

geotagging
pp. Embedding the current geographical location within digital media, particularly photos and videos.
Earliest citation date: July 29, 1996

glop art
n. An underground art movement that involves sticking chewing gum strategically on poster faces.
Earliest citation date: July 3, 1996

link rot
n. The gradual obsolescence of the links on a web page as the sites they point to become unavailable.
Earliest citation date: July 1, 1996

oppo guy
n. A political operative who specializes in digging up dirt on opponents.
Earliest citation date: July 15, 1996

re-anchor
v. To add or replace a major retailer, particlarly an anchor store, in a shopping mall or neighborhood.
Earliest citation date: July 10, 1996

sticky
adj. Having content or features that encourage online visitors to linger at a website.
Earliest citation date: July 27, 1996

swiped out
adj. Relating to a credit card or bank card with a magnetic strip that no longer works.
Earliest citation date: July 1, 1996

walking school bus
n. A group of children who walk to school together under the supervision of one or more adults.
Earliest citation date: July 1, 1996

Last Week in New Words

Word Spy Monday
Welcome to Word Spy Monday for June 27. The post-Brexit meltdown forecast by the world’s dread merchants appears to be gathering steam and Eurogeddon might be just around the bend. But Word Spy, infused with hopium, will keep calm and carry on rolling out the new words.
Words Spied
adult v. To perform duties and assume responsibilities typically associated with being an adult. [Cosmopolitan]

adult v.
Source: The Internet

antehumous adj. Occurring or arising before a person’s death. (cf. posthumous) [Twitter] The example usage here is anthumous, but I can see no reason to avoid using ante-, which is the standard prefixal opposite of post-. Either way, this term didn’t make the Word Spy cut because it’s quite old, dating to at least the mid 19th century.

Euroskeptic n. A person who distrusts or has reservations about the European Union. Also: Eurosceptic. [Newsweek]

homestay adj. Of or relating to services, such as Airbnb, that enable travelers to stay in the homes of local residents. [CityLab]

Instagram face n. A makeup job characteristic of high-profile Instagram photos. [New York Magazine] The article’s description of this “aesthetic” is worth quoting: “cartoon-smooth skin, perfectly defined flicky eyeliner, cheekbones carved like marble, and strobing so shiny it creates what one makeup artist jokingly described to me as ‘C3PO cheek.’”

juniorization n. The process of replacing older, more experienced employees with younger hires who will work for less money. [The Wall Street Journal]

Word of the Week
scampaign n. A political campaign run as a scam to make money or to enrich the candidate’s businesses, family, or friends.

Within just a few hours after the term was coined, #Scampaign was trending on Twitter in Washington, DC.
—Heather Timmons, “Is Donald Trump’s presidential bid nothing more than a ‘scampaign‘?,” Quartz, June 21, 2016

Cruft* of the Week
femoji n. A female emoji character; an emoji that represents a stereotypically female emotion, condition, or object. (female + emoji) [The Globe and Mail]

Femojis
Some suggested femojis. Source: Google

“Poorly built, possibly over-complex; generally unpleasant” —The Jargon File.

Quick Links
Commenting by Emoji: A Tentative Glossary for Legal Writing Professors [Improbable Research]

Hail to the ‘Veep’: Our 10 Favorite Words of Season 5 [Wordnik]

Possible names for EU exits for all members of the EU [Quartz]

Word Spy Press
The release date of my book Quote, Words, Unquote is a little over a week away, so there’s still time to take advantage of the reduced pre-order price. The same deal is also available for The Word Spy Guide to Bad Behavior. Your eyes deceive you not. Your fingers know what to do.

Technically Speaking

Available now!

Quote, Words, Unquote

Available July 5th

The Word Spy Guide to Bad Behavior

Available August 1st

Quote, Words, Unquote
“Normally I am positively portmental for a good portmanteau. It’s political portmanteaux that are the problem. Ask me my favourite onscreen couple and I’ll say Bennifer. Ask me my favourite onscreen Batman and I’ll say Battfleck. But using portmanteaux to discuss anything more serious than Ben Affleck’s love life and career is problematic. The phrase ‘Leaving the European Union’ has an appropriate gravity, but the word ‘Brexit’ sounds almost trivial.”
Sam Lewis-Hargreave

Last Week In New Words


Welcome to Word Spy Monday for June 20, 2016. I hope you enjoy these new words, links, and other splendiferous offerings.

Words Spied

ego movement n. The modern trend towards self-display and self-aggrandisement, particularly on social media. [The Globe and MailHat tip to KH for spying this one.

khuligan n. A Russian soccer hooligan. [Foreign Policy (subscription required)]

leapfrogging pp. In a developing country, implementing policies or technologies that enable the country to bypass problems previously encountered in developed nations. [World Economic Forum]

omni-channel adj. Selling goods or services through every available sales channel, particularly offline, online, and mobile. [Tulsa World]

Roald Dahl-ism n. A word or phrase coined by the novelist Roald Dahl. [Twitter]

Roald Dahl-ism: splendiferous

RUD n. The destruction of an object when it accidentally explodes. (From the phrase rapid unscheduled disassembly.) [The Washington Post]

yaysayer n. A person who is generally inclined to agree or to act in a positive manner. (cf. naysayer) [24 Hours Toronto]

Word of the Week

trickle-down racism n. Racism caused by emulating, learning from, or following the example set by a leader.

“I don’t want to see a president of the United State saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following,” Romney said. “Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle down racism and trickle down bigotry and trickle down misogyny — all of these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.”
—Mitt Romney, quoted in Ali Breland, "Romney: Trump will cause 'trickle-down racism'," Politico, June 10, 2016

Cruft* of the Week

geobusted n. The state of having had one’s location revealed inadvertently, particularly by an app or similar electronic means. [Twitter]

"Poorly built, possibly over-complex; generally unpleasant" —The Jargon File.

Quick Links

"Grief Bacon" And 12 Other Untranslatable Words About Love [Fast Company]

Love them or hate them, emojis make our messages feel more like us [The Guardian]

The [Slang] Word On the Street [Tony Thorne]

This Is Where the Word ‘Dad’ Comes From [Time]

Word Origin Comics: All Lit Up and Nowhere to Go [The Huffington Post]

Word Spy Press Newseltter #1 [Word Spy Press]

Word Spy Press

Word Spy Press is offering special pre-order pricing for Quote, Words, Unquote and The Word Spy Guide to Bad Behavior. What a phizz-whizzing summer it will be!

Technically Speaking

Available now!

Quote, Words, Unquote

Available July 5th

The Word Spy Guide to Bad Behavior

Available August 1st

Quote, Words, Unquote

“There is an obvious need for linguistic renewal and innovation to keep pace with technological and social change and reflecting new influences such as immigration by outside linguistic groups. Within exclusive minority communities, such as street gang members, music genre aficionados and fashionistas, there is also a desire for novelty, originality and authenticity.”
Jasmin Ojalainen

Last Week In New Words

Welcome to the Monday edition of Word Spy for June 13, 2016. Here are the neologisms and neologically-inclined articles I spied last week:
Words Spied
aeroese n. The language used by pilots and others in the aviation industry. [Aeon]

coffee-house macro n. Macroeconomics practice that consists mostly of referencing the theories of great economists of the past. [Bloomberg News]

FOBED n. Reluctance to post something controversial online for fear of being attacked by those who disagree. (From the phrase Fear of Being Eviscerated Digitally) [What Is Paul Thinking?]

serendipitydoodah interjection A cry of exultation upon making a happy discovery. [Twitter]

wind confusion n. Engineering and architectural techniques that prevent high winds from exerting excessive force on a tall building. [The New York Times]

Word of the Week
magic nutritionism n. Non-scientific nutrition advice and practices.

Over the last seven days, a roster of myth-busting nutrition studies were published showing probiotics are unnecessary, GMOs are harmless, and a gluten-free diet is a terrible idea unless you really need to be on it. Basically the only diet fad wisdom that survived this week is the idea that kale is a superfood (and, actually, it kind of is).

“It’s always nice to see studies that are skeptical of magic nutritionism,” said Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an Ottawa-based physician and professor who has a blog on nutrition and diet.
—Kaleigh Rogers, “Probiotics Are Useless, GMOs Are Fine, and Gluten Is Necessary,” Motherboard, May 19, 2016

Cruft* of the Week

ambiguphobia n. The fear of dealing with things that are open-ended or subject to interpretation. (ambiguous + phobia) [Inc.]

“Poorly built, possibly over-complex; generally unpleasant” —The Jargon File.

Quick Links
I Apologize for Inventing the Word ‘Fashionista’ 20 Years Ago [The Atlantic]

The Internet’s Naughtiest Slang Dictionary [The Daily Beast]

The parlance of pilots [Aeon]

WTF are techies saying? A linguistic guide for the aspiring tech hustler [The Guardian]

Word Spy Press
As the publication date of Quote, Words, Unquote draws near, remember that you can pre-order the book at a reduced price. Word Spy Press also offers special pre-order pricing for The Word Spy Guide to Bad Behavior. Serendipitydoodah!

Technically Speaking

Available now!

Quote, Words, Unquote

Available July 5th

The Word Spy Guide to Bad Behavior

Available August 1st

Quote, Words, Unquote

“My story’s always been I’m in my 60s, slang’s in its teens, I will eventually be in my 70s, and maybe even my 80s, but slang will always be in its teens. The gap between me and slang gets bigger all the time.”
—Jonathon Green, a.k.a. “Mr. Slang“, who, without even a hint of FOBED, will be releasing Green’s Online Slang Dictionary this summer. Watch this space for details.

Words That Turn Twenty in May, 2016

In honour of Word Spy’s 20th birthday earlier this year, throughout 2016 I’m highlighting words that are celebrating their own 20th birthdays.

Here’s a list of words that were coined (or have an earliest citation) in May, 1996:

n. Substandard head protection, particularly a poor quality hockey helmet.
Earliest citation date: May 10, 1996
n. A programmer who specializes in the Common Gateway Interface scripts that accept and handle input from most web page forms.
Earliest citation date: May 1, 1996
n. When a dog or cat sniffs or jumps onto a counter looking for food.
Earliest citation date: May 25, 1996
n. Feelings of dissatisfaction and mental bloatedness after spending an inordinate amount of time performing a task without tangible benefit.
Earliest citation date: May 1, 1996
n. Gardening that takes places in hostile or difficult conditions.
Earliest citation date: May 28, 1996
n. The practice of creating faked photographs, usually by manipulating the images with software.
Earliest citation date: May 5, 1996
n. A business that combines a grocery store and a restaurant.
Earliest citation date: May 27, 1996
n. Mountain biker slang for a person who commutes to work on a bicycle.
Earliest citation date: May 9, 1996
n. A heterosexual person who is open to relationships with people of the same sex.
Earliest citation date: May 7, 1996
n. A person whose opposition to technology manifests itself in, among other things, a preference for pencils.
Earliest citation date: May 19, 1996
n. A very short literary work, typically no more than a few hundred words.
Earliest citation date: May 11, 1996
n. Attempting to solve a mechanical or electrical problem by hitting or kicking the failed device.
Earliest citation date: May 18, 1996
n. A rebuttal, inserted into an argument, that refutes an anticipated counter-argument; a rebuttal given in advance of another’s argument.
Earliest citation date: May 26, 1996
n. A person who eats only unprocessed, unheated, and uncooked food, especially organic fruits, nuts, vegetables, and grains.
Earliest citation date: May 1, 1996
n. A momentary lapse in memory, particularly one experienced by a senior citizen.
Earliest citation date: May 3, 1996
pp. Repeating a word dozens or even hundreds of times within a web page.
Earliest citation date: May 22, 1996
v. To spend money on items priced below normal retail cost and thus save the difference.
Earliest citation date: May 24, 1996
n. A mother who returns to work soon after giving birth.
Earliest citation date: May 29, 1996
n. A telecommunications tower disguised as a natural object such as a tree, or hidden in a tall structure such as a church steeple or flag pole.
Earliest citation date: May 11, 1996
n. Science that is skewed or biased, especially toward a particular industry.
Earliest citation date: May 8, 1996
n. Computer-generated ads, logos, and products that are superimposed on a live video feed or inserted into a completed movie or television show.
Earliest citation date: May 19, 1996
n. The attitude that a person has just one life to live, so should live it well.
Earliest citation date: May 26, 1996