xeroxlore
(ZEE.roks.lohr) n. A modern form of folklore in which anecdotes, lists, jokes, sayings, and urban myths are propagated via photocopied documents. Also: xerox-lore.

Example Citations:
When the photocopier (or Xerox) entered offices in the '60s, people seized on it to circulate new beliefs. Spoof memos and satirical comments on office procedures form the majority of Xerox-lore, many of the items bawdy or downright obscene.
—Glenda Cooper, "Tread on a crack and break the Devil's back," Hobart Mercury, August 5, 2000

According to Alan Dundes, a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, the 20th century has not killed folklore, but forced it to adopt new forms, among them what he calls ''xeroxlore.'' Just like stories transmitted orally, he has determined that folklore disseminated with the aid of a copying machine exhibits highly localized variations. ''You would think these things would be the same everywhere,'' he said. ''But they are changed to fit a particular office or the local boss.''

In his book ''Work Hard and You Shall be Rewarded'' (Indiana University Press, 1978), Professor Dundes presents a varied survey of lore reproduced by the office copier. A well-known example is the list of office definitions, which translates ''under consideration'' as ''never heard of it.'' A scientists' version defines ''correct within an order of magnitude'' as ''wrong.''
—"Folklore thriving in cities," The New York Times, February 25, 1985

Earliest Citation:
The Xerox machine, like the old ditto machine, lends itself to certain kinds of misuse not unlike the computer printer; “misuse,“ of course, is defined in terms of the aims of the organization which owns the machine, and it is this misuse which is the defining feature of what I call xerox-lore and which separates it from the proper or serious use of the machine. In a manner not unlike the use of the human voice for telling and retelling jokes, the Xerox machine is used to produce copies of material for circulation.
—Michael J. Preston, “Xerox-lore,“ Keystone Folklore Vol 19.1, April 1, 1974

Related Words:

Category: