Plogging: Blogging on a platform such as Facebook, Slack, or Medium, rather than on a dedicated blogging site such as the one you’re visiting (hosted by TypePad). A portmanteau of platform and blogging.
How do you translate a colloquial, nonliteral expression like Trainwreck—the title of the new Amy Schumer feature film—into non-English languages? IMDb has a list of global akas; Mashable has helpfully re-translated some of them. (Not included in the Mashable list: Y de repente tú (“And suddenly you”), probably the most romantically inclined of the bunch. In France, by the way, the official title is Crazy Amy—yes, in English.
Translation of the French Canadian title, Cas désespéré.
Three guys were watching HBO’s “Silicon Valley” when it occurred to them to create a dictionary of jargon used on the show. The result is Silicon Valley Dictionary, where you’ll find definitions for terms like This changes everything (“Nothing has changed. Pure marketing”) and Awesome journey (“used when a startup has failed”).
Yuccie: A Young Urban Creative, as defined and described by David Infante, “a 26-year-old writer who lives in a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn,” in an article for Mashable published on June 10. Infante calls yuccies “a slice of Generation Y, borne [sic] of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.”
“I am the yuccie,” Infante writes. “And it sounds sort of, well, yucky.”
Linear TV: A television service that requires the viewer to watch a scheduled TV program at the particular time it’s offered, and on the particular channel it's presented on. Synonyms include time-and-channel based TV, appointment-based TV, and traditional television. (Source: ITV Dictionary.) Non-linear TV comprises on-demand formats as well as programs that don’t emanate from a network channel, also known as web TV and digital media.
Dad Bod: “A nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” – Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson, who popularized the term by writing about it in The Odyssey Online, a publication that serves college communities around the United States. Also spelled dadbod.
From Pearson’s essay, published March 31, 2015:
The dad bod is a new trend and fraternity boys everywhere seem to be rejoicing. Turns out skipping the gym for a few brews last Thursday after class turned out to be in their favor. While we all love a sculpted guy, there is just something about the dad bod that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive.
(Yep, I noticed “turns out/turned out.” The Odyssey Online does not appear to be edited, or proofread; “Berkeley” is misspelled on the About page.)
“Clickspittle: an unquestioningly loyal follower who obediently shares every trivial thought of their idol on social media.” Post-modern portmanteaus from The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, excerpted in The Independent. (Via @Catchword)
“Most important, it stood for Internet. But it also stood for other valuable i things, like individual, imagination, i as in me, etc. It also did a pretty good job of laying a solid foundation for future product naming.” A knowledgeable Quora answer to the question “What is the history of the i prefix in Apple product names?”(Via @AlanBrew)
“Around the time of the birth of OK, there was a fad for komical Ks instead of Cs on the pages of newspapers … including from 1839: ‘The gentleman to the left of the speaker, in klaret kolored koat with krimson kollar, is Mr. Klay, member of Kongress from Kentucky’.”Allan Metcalf, author of OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, marks the 176th anniversary of “OK” with a post about the word’s “konspicuous, kurious, komical” … uh, kwalities. (Read my 2010 post about “OK.”)
What do we lose when dictionaries delete words like bluebell, catkin, lark, and mistletoe to make room for blog, broadband, MP3 player, and chatroom? British nature writer Robert Macfarlane—most recently the author of Landmarks—writes in The Guardian about “the importance of preserving and plenishing a diverse language for landscape.” His essay includes some beautiful, obscure words like ammil, “a Devon term for the thin film of ice that lacquers all leaves, twigs, and grass blades when a freeze follows a partial thaw, and that in sunlight can cause a whole landscape to glitter.” Plenishing is pretty wonderful, too. (Via @StanCarey)
Shipping: “A fandom practice that involves imagining relationships between two fictional characters from a show, movie, or book series.” (Source: Know Your Meme.) The TV Tropes site notes that the word “ostensibly derives from ‘Relationship’ (though it might as well be ‘Worship’; in some fandoms, it's Serious Business).” TV Tropes traces the origin of the term to fans of The X-Files, “who were divided between ‘relationshippers’ pushing for romance and ‘noromos’ [from no romance] who would rather have No Hugging and No Kissing.” The X-Files ran from 1993 to 2002; an early use of relationshippers appeared in 1996 in an X-Files newsgroup. The earliest Urban Dictionary definition for shipping(“A term used to describe fan fictions that take previously created characters and put them as a pair. It usually refers to romantic relationships, but it can refer platonic ones as well”) was entered on March 6, 2005. Blogs and Tumblrs devoted to shipper fiction have been published since 2004, if not earlier, according to Know Your Meme.
In the February 22, 2015, issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jenna Wortham wrote about the shipping subset occupied by “online superfans of the BBC show ‘Sherlock’” (2010-), who perceived a love that dared not speak its name between Sherlock and Watson:
These fans wring meaning out of every lingering glance and anguished expression that crosses Cumberbatch’s impressively dimensioned face and superimpose their own dialogue atop these moments, amassing a trove of erotic imaginings that is in some respects more compelling than the canon, at least in the unpredictability of the plot twists. For example, one offshoot of Johnlock, known as Fawnlock, imagines Cumberbatch as an ethereal deer, complete with graceful antlers and a speckled coat — and of course his lover, Watson, cradled in his forelimbs.
Wortham’s story includes a slide show of Sherlock-Watson fan art and a brief glossary of shipper lingo, including crack pairings (“a coupling that is considered bizarre by the standards of shipping, often for mixing universes [e.g., Shrek and Sonic the Hedgehog]”).
Names in shipper fiction follow intricate conventions, according to the TV Tropes entry:
There’s a whole nomenclature dedicated to Quick, Easy and Idiosyncratic Ship Naming, often varying from fandom to fandom. The most basic tool of communication here is the slash — if you wanted Alice and Bob to get together you could always say you shipped Alice/Bob. However, for most fandoms that's just not exotic enough. They will not be content with anything less than a short, sweet and catchy brand name — the more Incredibly Lame the Pun, the better (Harry Potter fandom actually named ships the “HMS this-and-that”). Shipping culture has also imported the Portmanteau Couple Name from Japanese Anime fandom; apart from its infamous usage in the gossip industry (“Brangelina”, “Bennifer”, “TomKat”) you can find people online declaring themselves fans of “Pepperony”, “Wuffara”, “NaruHina”, “Sheelos”, “Applepie”, and “Jam”. Yes, Jam.
Telematics: The science and technology of sending, receiving, and processing information via telecommunications.
Telematics is not a new word: it was borrowed from the French télématique, which was coined in 1978 by the authors of a report on “the computerization of society.” (That report was largely responsible for the national launch in 1982 of Minitel, France’s pioneering network of computers that at its apex was installed in 9 million homes. Supplanted by the Internet, Minitel was finally shut down in 2012.) The OED’s earliest citation for telematics in English is from an October 1979 article in The Economist, where telematics was called “the new vogue word for the high-growth industries of telecommunications, computers, microchips and databanks.”
In recent years, telematics has taken on a specific new meaning. That new definition is the subject of “The Spy Who Fired Me,” a report by Esther Kaplan in the March 2015 Harper’s. (The article is behind a subscriber paywall.)
Kaplan writes that she became interested in “the data-driven workforce” when she began noticing that UPS deliveries “never arrived” at the Brooklyn apartment she’d recently moved to. Instead, she’d get attempted-delivery notes—even when she was at home. “Then,” she writes, “I learned about UPS’s use of something called telematics”:
Telematics is a neologism coined from two other neologisms — telecommunications and informatics — to describe technologies that wirelessly transmit data from remote sensors and GPS devices to computers for analysis. The telematics system that now governs the working life of a driver for UPS includes handheld DIADs, or delivery-information acquisition devices, as well as more than 200 sensors on each delivery truck that track everything from backup speeds to stop times to seat-belt use.
One New York City UPS driver Kaplan interviewed makes 110 stops and delivers 400 packages in a typical shift, which can last more than 12 hours. The Teamsters (“North America’s strongest union”), which represents UPS employees, won contract language preventing drivers from being fired based on their telematics reports, but, Kaplan writes, “supervisors have found workarounds, and telematics-related firings have become routine.”
UPS is far from an outlier: McDonald’s, Stop & Shop, Gap, Starbucks, and Uniqlo are among the many companies that are governing their employees’ lives by the rule of telematics, and Kaplan writes that telematics “is expected to become a $30 billion industry by 2013.” Typically, at a telematics-driven restaurant, “[a] point-of-sale (P.O.S.) system connected to the cash register captures the length of time between the end of the last customer’s transaction and the beginning of yours, how quickly the cashier rings up your order, and whether she has sold you on the new Jalapeño Double. … This data is being tracked at the employee level: some chains even post scan rates like scorecards in the break room; others have a cap on how many mistakes an employee can make before he or she is put on probation.”
One result of this relentless tracking is “to keep staffing as lean as possible, to treat employees as temporary and replaceable, and to schedule them exactly and only when needed.” At one chain, Abercrombie & Fitch, “employees started receiving entire schedules composed of on-call shifts that never materialized. … Employees were slowly being turned into day laborers. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the number of retail employees involuntarily working part-time more than doubled between 2006 and 2010, from 644,000 to 1.6 million.”
Telematics appears in 34 live marks in the U.S. trademark database, all of which were registered in the last decade. Many, such as Octo Telematics and Mix Telematics, are for vehicle tracking (or “providing information about driver behavior to third parties”) devices and services; at least one, Kore Telematics, sells a full range of monitoring systems “for use in vehicle location and tracking, point of sale and vending, asset tracking, personal security, healthcare, energy management, environmental services, and industrial monitoring.” And phone companies are getting in on the action, too: Verizon’s Networkfleet divisionsells “fleet management solutions” that drive “more efficient ways of working.”
Grammando: “One who constantly corrects others’ linguistic mistakes.” Neologism coined by Lizzie Skurnick from grammar and commando. First appeared in the March 4, 2012, issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, under the heading “That Should Be a Word.” In a blog entry published on the same date, Skurnick explainswhy she coined the word: “Because I have always HATED the term ‘Grammar Nazi,’ as it makes NO SENSE, unless Jew-killing means an adherence to precision.” (Skurnick’s use-it-in-a-sentence example isn’t exactly precise, either: “Cowed by his grammando wife, Arthur finally ceased saying ‘irregardless.’” As linguist Arnold Zwicky points out, “As usual the exemplary grammando’s complaint is not actually about grammar, but about word choice. What the hell, It’s All Grammar, right?”)
I’d read about grammando three years ago, then promptly forgot about it until last month, when Anne Curzan, an English professor at the University of Michigan, used it in a talk she gave at the American Linguistic Society meeting in Portland. She prefers it to “grammar Nazi,” she said. Curzan was an early adopter of grammando, mentioning it during a July 2012 episode of “That’s What They Say,” a Michigan Public Radio program about language. Grammando evokes the ambush tactics of militant language cranks—the people John McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun has dubbed the peeververein—without resorting to images of swastikas and concentration camps.
Curzan admires grammando but is less approving of grammandizing. “It’s a real power play to suddenly talk about the way somebody is writing or talking as opposed to what they’re saying,” she told Michigan Public Radio:
So if you catch someone’s grammatical mistake, should you point it out? Curzan says it depends on why you are correcting the person.
According to Curzan, some people are sticklers about grammar because they feel like it’s a part of professional training.
“If that’s the reason, I think that’s a legitimate reason, but I wouldn’t stop them in the middle of talking. That’s very disruptive,” Curzan said.
Unsurprisingly, the comments on that MPR article are, with one exception, in the peevish-grammar-stickler vein
A grammando currently making headlines is Bryan Henderson, a 51-year-old American software engineer on a mission: to rid Wikipedia of every instance of “comprised of.” (To comprise means to contain or include; standard usage insists on composed of or consists of.) To date, he’s removed 47,000 offenses. In a 6,000-word essay published on his Wikipedia user page, Henderson reminds readers that “the whole comprises the parts; the parts compose the whole” and argues that comprised of is “completely unnecessary,” “illogical,” etymologically unfounded, imprecise, and “new”: “It was barely ever used before 1970,” Henderson writes. Of course, neither were many other words, including quite a few from the vocabulary of technology: app, flash drive, and voicemail, to name but a few.
Growlette: A reusable 32-ounce jug, usually glass, that can be filled with beer or other beverages. Formed by adding a diminutive suffix to growler, the 64-ounce version of the jug.
The earliest citation I’ve found for growlette—and a possible source for the coinage—is from August 2011, when Throwback Brewery, in New Hampshire, posted an announcement on its blog:
We have a new, smaller growler coming in time for the tasting hours on Thursday, September 8th! These new growlers are very cute 32 oz flip-tops (approx. 1/2 the size of our original growler), so we decided to give them a name – “growlettes”. We love these new bottles. They are slim enough so that you can fit several into your fridge without requiring displacement of core food items (although we think beer is a core food item ). Given their size, the growlettes will allow you to more easily bring home multiple varieties of beer at a time. And, finally, for folks intimated [sic] about buying 4+ pints of beer at a time, the growlette seems much more manageable at 2 pints.
Growler came into American English around 1885, during a period when many communities prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sunday; the 64-ounce vessel allowed “the tippler to stock up,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Early growlers were metal pails; the American Heritage Dictionary gives the etymology thus: “from the sound made by carbon dioxide escaping from under the lids of metal pails in which beer was carried in the past.” (More history here. See the Online Slang Dictionary for lewd and scatological definitions of growler unrelated to beer.)
I discovered growlette via a thread on the American Dialect Society’s listserv. In the original post, dated January 6, 2015, Benjamin Barrett wrote that Haggen, a grocery store in Bellingham, Washington, “has kombucha growlers (64 oz) and growlettes (32 oz) for sale.” Kombucha is a fermented but nonalcoholic “living drink” made by “fermenting green and black tea with sugar and the Kombucha culture known as S.C.O.B.Y. (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast),” according to the Haggen website.
Victor Steinbok responded to Barrett’s email with this post:
It's generally agreed on tge [sic] craft beer scene that “growler” is reserved for the 64 oz./ 1/2 gal / 2 liter glass or metal container and, in some states, like Florida, that allow it, 1 gal glass jugs. It has to be resealable, for beer purposes, thus is usually a pop-top (a.k.a. flip-top or swing-top) or screw-cap.It is also generally agreed that there's no unique agreed-upon name for the small containers. Growlette is mildly popular but is often met with derision as "effeminate". "Half-growler" and "small growler" are more popular. The standard avoidance convention suggest just listing "growler" and specifying the capacity.
And Barrett followed up with a list of other non-beer beverages being poured into growlers, including cider, soda, and coconut water.
Columbia? Taken. Mississippi? Taken. Sacramento? El Niño? Marlin? Grizzly? Sorry, they're all taken.
Virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America — as well as myriad other words, concepts and images — has been snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer. For newcomers to the increasingly crowded industry of more than 3,000 breweries, finding names for beers, or even themselves, is increasingly hard to do without risking a legal fight.
The accompanying illustration is amusing and instructive.