Word Spy Blog

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]

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