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.
Adulting: “Acting like an adult or engaging in activities usually associated with adulthood—often responsible or boring tasks.” Definition via Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl). A verbing of adult, whichcomes from Latin adultus, “full-grown, mature, firmly established”; English managed quite well without the word until the early 17th century.
Last December Fogarty anointed adulting as the 2014 word of the year. “It’s a new word that I think will catch on,” she wrote:
Adulting isn’t in any mainstream dictionary that I checked, and it wasn’t even added to the Urban Dictionary until June of 2014. Yet today, it shows up about 100 times a day on Twitter and there are many websites and Tumblrs with adulting in their name. It’s clearly in wide use on social media, yet it also hasn’t quite gone mainstream. When I mentioned it to my graduate students at UNR [University of Nevada, Reno], none of them had heard it—but they all seemed to like it.
Adulting “fills a void,” Fogarty wrote. My own inference is that it fills a void because the traditional accoutrements of adulthood (marriage, children, home-owning, full-time work) seem increasingly elusive for people in their post-teen years.
One of the earliest and most prominent adulting blogs is called, simply, AdultingBlog. Launched in July 2011 by Kelly Williams Brown, it’s subtitled “How to Become a Grownup in 468 Easy(ish) Steps”*; in May 2013 the blog’s tips were published in book form (Adulting). But the earliest use of adulting, Fogarty found, was a May 2010 tweet by Daniel Kroft:
Adulting echoes the contemporary structure and sense of parenting, which was originally a noun referring to the physical act of begetting; in the last 40 or so years it has also been used as a verb (“acting like a parent”). A best-selling 1970 advice book by Fitzhugh Dodson, How to Parent, may have helped boost the verb’s popularity. (Dodson later published How to Father and How to Grandparent.) So did an explosion of verbing in the 1990s; the list, according to Rosemarie Ostler, author of Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers: A Decade-by-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the Twentieth Century, includes to effort, to journal, to no-hit, to multitask, to privilege, and to keynote.
Adulting thrives as a hashtag on social media. Here’s a representative sampling of tweets, some serious and some ironic, posted on a single day (and yes, most #adulting tweets are from young women):
Going out to a fancy dinner to celebrate being 100% debt free except for our mortgage. #adulting
Skulduggery: Underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; a devious device or trick.
This relative rare and interesting word has been in the news last week in connection with a football furor: after the opening game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaches “said their headsets were filled with the sounds of the Patriots’ radio broadcast of the game, making it hard to communicate with one another,” according to a New York Times story published September 12. An earlier version of the story – no longer visible on the Times site – contained the mention of skulduggery, as a Google search shows:
Betteridge’s Law: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no’.” Named for British technology journalist Ian Betteridge, who articulated what he called “my maxim” in a February 2009 blog post. Also known as Betteridge’s Law of Headlines.
Before Ian Betteridge lent his name to it, this truism about rhetorical questions went by a few other names, including Davis’s Lawand the journalistic principle (a subcategory of Murphy’s Law). A Wikipedia entryprovides other sources for the concept: in particle physics, it’s known as Hinchcliffe’s Rule, and refers to the titles of academic papers; another British journalist, Andrew Marr, said essentially the same thing in a 2004 book, My Trade.
Pee wall: An exterior wall in a public place that has been treated with urine-repellent paint. Also called anti-pee wall and pee-proof wall.
In July, the city of San Francisco, where public urination is a rife and malodorous problem, coated nine walls with a special super-hydrophobic substance called Ultra-Ever Dry. “At a molecular level,” the San Francisco Chronicleinformedits readers, “the coating creates a surface texture with geometric shapes with peaks, or high points, that repel most water-based and some oil-based liquid. That means the painted surfaces will spray urine right back at the shoes and pants of unsuspecting relief-seekers.”
The concept was borrowed from Hamburg, Germany, where Ultra-Ever Dry was applied to walls in the St. Pauli district. The use of an informal/slang term for “urination” also appears to be an import.
“Hier nicht pinkeln! Wir pinkeln zurück”: “Don’t pee here! We pee back.” Image via Spiegel online.
According to the website of Ultratech International, makers of Ultra-Ever Dry:
Ultra-Ever Dry is a superhydrophobic (water) and oleophobic (hydrocarbons) coating that will repel most water-based and some oil-based liquids. Ultra-Ever Dry uses proprietary omniphobic technology to coat an object and create a surface chemistry and texture with patterns of geometric shapes that have “peaks” or “high points”. These high points repel water, some oils, wet concrete, and other liquids unlike any other coating.
San Francisco has also introduced “Pit Stop” stations to the city’s “most impacted neighborhoods,” according to the Department of Public Works website. The Pit Stop facilities operate on limited schedules, mostly weekday afternoons.
Cuckservative: An insult used against a Republican who is perceived to be “too soft or disingenuous,” according to a story published August 13 in the New York Times. The lone definition posted on Urban Dictionary (dated July 29, 2015), is harsher:
A cuckservative is a self-styled “conservative” who will cravenly sell out and undermine his home country’s people, culture, and national interest in order to win approval with parties hostile or indifferent to them.
The word is a portmanteau, or blend, of cuckold—a man whose wife commits adultery—and conservative; it emerged from right-wing, white nationalist, and anti-Semitic forums and spread via the hashtag #cuckservative. According to the Times story:
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, called the term the “ultimate insult” that the white nationalist movement can deliver to politicians who they feel have veered too far to the left. “The term, at its core, may be racist,” the group said.
Rogue: Scoundrel, knave, scamp, mischievous person (noun; usually a man); aberrant, corrupt, uncontrollable, mischievous (adjective). Also a verb used in horticulture and agriculture: to weed out inferior or untypical (“rogue”) plants.
Rogue has been in the news because of the U.S. theatrical release, on July 31, of the fifth installment in the Mission Impossible series, subtitled Rogue Nation. Like its four predecessors, the film stars Tom Cruise.
“Rogue Nation follows IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team as they battle the titular rogue nation, an organisation of assassins and criminals called The Syndicate.”—TV Tropes. The film brought in $56 million over the weekend in the U.S., making it the #1 box-office earner.