Expand Your Vocabulary – New Words for 2011
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So this morning, our Executive Administrator (and my very good friend, who happens to be a few decades older than me and I only mention this because she) handed me an article to read from her latest issue of none other than AARP magazine. Now, let me preface this post with the fact that I’ve never read AARP, and I’m sure my parents subscribe to it, but seriously other than the advertisement for 5-hour Energy (which is kind of amusing to me that they advertise in AARP, along with hearing aids, medical alarms like “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”, and NAMS – that’s the North American Menopause Society I’ve now learned), I couldn’t figure out what could possibly be relevant to me within this magazine…until she told me her new favorite words. It was like the heavens opened up and there was a spotlight shining upon Linda. She said, “Ilona, my favorite new words are ‘frenemy’, ‘webisode’ and (with a little chuckle) ‘cougar’.” You read it right – cougar. Now she had my undivided attention. Too bad ‘panther’ didn’t make the list.
We all use mobile technology – I mean it is ingrained in who we’ve become, and as a result there are some new words that are now an integral part of our lives; although many of us wouldn’t have recognized them even just a few years ago. So authorities on the evolution of the English language (Oxford Dictionary & Merriam-Webster) decided to incorporate (as they do every so often) several new words and expressions in its dictionaries to reflect the vibrant changes of language and culture. Here’s the list of 50 favorites from AARP ‘for all you cool hunters chillaxing with a gal pal or out on a bromantic date, you’ll automagically impress your friends when you rock these beauties’. Any favorites or perhaps a favorite you don’t see on the list? Show us your soft skills and tell us about it.
1. automagically adv. Automatically in a way that seems magical.
2. bargainous adj. Costing less than expected.
3. big media n. Primary mass communication sources, e.g., TV and the press.
4. bromance n. Close platonic male friendship.
5. buzzkill n. Person or thing that has a depressing effect.
6. carbon credit n. Permit allowing a certain amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
7. carbon offsetting n. Counteraction of CO2 emissions with a corresponding reduction.
8. catastrophize v. To present a situation as worse than it is.
9. cheeseball adj. Lacking taste or style.
10. chillax v. To calm down and relax.
11. cool hunter n. One who predicts new styles and trends.
12. cougar n. Older woman who dates younger men.
13. eggcorn n. Logical swap of words with similar sounds (from “egg corn” for “acorn”).
14. exit strategy n. Planned means of extricating oneself from a situation.
15. flash mob n. Brief gathering for a common purpose, announced by e-mail or text.
16. flyover states n. [derogatory] Central regions of the U.S.
17. frenemy n. Friend with whom one has frequent conflict.
18. friend v. To add to a list of personal associates on a website.
19. gal pal n. Female friend.
20. green audit n. Analysis of a business’ environmental impact.
21. green-collar adj. Of or relating to workers in the environmentalist business sector.
22. hater n. Negative person.
23. heart v. To like very much; love.
24. homeshoring n. Moving jobs to employees’ homes (from “offshoring”).
25. hypermiling n. Altering a car to maximize its fuel economy.
26. LBD n. Little black dress.
27. locavore n. One who primarily eats locally grown food.
28. matchy-matchy adj. Excessively color-coordinated.
29. megachurch n. Huge church congregation, typically evangelical Christian.
30. meme n. Image, video or phrase passed electronically on the Internet.
31. microblog v. To post very short entries on a blog.
32. overleveraged adj. Having taken on too much debt.
33. own v. To utterly defeat or humiliate.
34. paywall n. Arrangement whereby website access is restricted to paying users only.
35. pimp v. To make something more showy or impressive.
36. riff v. To expound on a particular subject.
37. rock v. To do something in a confident, flamboyant way.
38. sheeple n. Unquestioning followers (from “sheep” + “people”).
39. social media n. Websites and applications used for social networking.
40. soft skills n. Attributes that enable someone to interact harmoniously with others.
41. staycation n. Vacation spent at home.
42. toxic debt n. Debt that has a high risk of default.
43. truthiness n. Quality of seeming true.
44. turducken n. Roast of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.
45. tweet n. Posting made on the social networking site Twitter.
46. unfriend v. To remove from a list of personal associates on a website.
47. viral adj. Circulating rapidly on the Internet.
48. vuvuzela n. Long horn blown by fans at soccer matches.
49. webisode n. Episode or short film made for viewing online.
50. zombie bank n. Insolvent bank that survives through government support.
Sources: Oxford Dictionary of English; New American Oxford Dictionary; Oxford English Dictionary; Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, New Words, AARP