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.
Billennial: A member of the “millennial” generation—born between the 1980s and early 2000s—who is fluent in two languages, usually Spanish and English. A portmanteau of bilingual and millennial. Also an adjective (“billennial generation”).
The Texas-based Spanish-language television network Univisionused billennial to describe its 2015-2016 programming, introduced in May at the industry event known as “upfronts.”
Jiggery-pokery: Deceitful or dishonest manipulation; hocus-pocus, humbug. It was first documented in 1893, but a related term, Scots joukery-pawkery (clever trickery, jugglery, or legerdemain) is attested from 1686. The latter term is a compound of jouk (a sudden elusive movement) and pawky (artful, sly, shrewd, roguish).
Jiggery-pokery was in the news last week after it appeared in U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in King v. Burwell, the 6-3 decision to allow the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, to stand. Scalia wrote:
The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.
Elsewhere in his dissent, Scalia dismissed the majority opinion as “pure applesauce.” Applesauce is a bit of 1920s slang meaning “nonsense,” “horsefeathers,” or—to put it more plainly than Scalia is wont to do—“bullshit.”
“It’s a very cranky piece of writing,” observed Ben Mathis-Lilley in Slate.
Mayhem: Violent behavior, physical assault, or disorder. In criminal law, mayhem is the infliction of physical injury on a person so as to impair that person’s capacity for self-defense. The word entered English in the late 15th century from Anglo-French maihem, which means “injury, harm, damage”; it’s related to maim.
Nest Labs, makers of “smart devices” for the home—including a thermostat and smoke detector—last week introduced a new product, the Nest Cam video camera. (The product is the result of Nest’s 2014 acquisition of Dropcam.) Ads for the product put a cozy spin on “mayhem”:
“Witness the mayhem in glorious HD.” Outdoor ad, Fourth Street, San Francisco, June 21.
Nest Cam has a security function: according to a Nest.com blog post, it can help you see “if an intruder turns on a flash light, or if headlights flash across your window.” But Nest Labs downplays the scare factor. Rather, the device helps you “save the stuff you want to remember” and be prepared “every time your kid or pet does something cute.” Muddy footprints on the carpet, a toilet-paper trail across the lawn—that’s the domesticated “mayhem” Nest hopes you’ll record and view.
This isn’t the first appearance of mayhem in advertising. In 2010 insurance company Allstate introduced a character called Mayhem, played by the actor Dean Winters, who personified every catastrophe that could befall your house or car. Also contributing to the cuteification of “mayhem” was the 2012 debut, at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, a simulator ride based on the animated film(s) Despicable Me.
There is no Minion named Mayhem, but there’s a minionesque aspect to the Nest Cam.
Minion. Nest Cam.
From another corner of the culture comes Mayhem Parva (literally “small mayhem”), a fixture in British crime fiction. Here’s how the OED defines it:
Mayhem Parva n. [ < mayhem n. + classical Latin parva, feminine singular of parvus little (see parvi-comb. form), after English village names with this as second element (e.g. Ash Parva, Shropshire, Ashby Parva, Leicestershire, etc.)] (esp. in critical writing) the genre of mystery stories set in a rural English village; (the generic name for) a typical English village as the setting for a violent crime; freq. attrib., as Mayhem Parva school, etc.
The OED’s earliest citation for Mayhem Parva is dated 1971, from Snobbery with Violence, a murder mystery by Colin Watson set in the fictional village of Mayhem Parva, “where amateur lady sleuths competed with seasoned Scotland Yarders to nab the least likely suspect.”