Mountain Dew, the neon-yellow-green soft drink brand owned by PepsiCo, evidently failed to consult anyone in Scotland before it introduced its new ad slogan, “Epic thrills start with a chug.” If it had, it would have learned that chug is Scottish slang for masturbate. (Jelisa Castrodale for Vice, via Language Log)
That word: It does not mean what you think it means. Not in Scotland, anyway. (Via @jaysebro)
When I worked as a copyeditor, I was trained to lop off the s at the end of words like forward and backward. It’s what American editors do (but not our British counterparts, who tend to keep the s at the end of all those directional -ward words). Yet here was an ad in an American magazine for an American brand, and here were forwards and backwards. Was this a new trend?
No? Here; I’ll help: Wypipo is white people with a dash of baby-talk and a lot of eyeroll. It’s used almost exclusively by people of color, almost always as a term of condescension, disparagement, or outright hostility. Its origins, like those of many slang terms, are murky, but there’s a better than zero probability that it was born on social media, where eye dialect thrives. (I first encountered it on Twitter.) As a written word, it’s pretty recent: Urban Dictionary has only two entries, the earliest of which is dated January 29, 2016: “Twitterslang or dialect that with read aloud sounds like ‘white people’ which is its actual meaning.” The example sentence in that entry is: “Girl wypipo are crazy, they let their dogslick their mouths.”
Eater magazine published a five-part series on bad restaurant names, from bad puns to “distressingly sexual” to “crimes against language” to “just really bad.” Start with Part 1 and follow the links at the end to read about the others.
Welcome to another installment of “Brands That Don’t Understand English Vowel Sounds”! Our subject today comes courtesy of David Lloyd Clubs, established in 1982 and headquartered in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK, so unfamiliarity with the language is most likely not an excuse. The company calls itself “Europe’s premier racquets and fitness provider,” butthe new class it announced last week is especially tailored for people who prefer to get fit without actually moving around. This is what it’s called:
Federal-level idiocy was on full, florid display this week. On Sunday, the current occupant of the White House and Mar-a-Lago took to Twitter to share his innermost thoughts, and got so carried away he misspelled the word principles.
It’s probably not a word he’s had much occasion to use.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re having our usual cool and foggy summer. But in the hotter inland and upland parts of the state, wildfire season is entering its third month. A couple of weeks ago, I drove home from Los Angeles on I-5, near where the poetically named Sand Fire was consuming more than 41,000 acres in the Santa Clarita Valley. The name suggested a hellish haboob, but in fact the fire was named for nearby Sand Canyon.
Most wildfires are named that way: after local landmarks. “The commander on the scene often uses a nearby geographical feature to describe the fire, but he's not bound by any official rules,” Daniel Engber wrote in a 2005 Slate article about fire-naming. “He first suggests a name to the interagency fire dispatcher, who passes it along in fire reports, dispatches, and so on.”
How, then, to explain the Cold Fire, which is currently raging in Napa and Yolo counties?