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Monday, July 2, 2012

Word Spy: new words and obscure phrases

From wordspy:

n. A temporary loss of inhibition while online. Also: cyber-disinhibition.

According to the study, their world is expanding and narrowing at the same time because of social media's hyperlocalization quotient. And "cyberdisinhibition" — being more willing to behave online in ways they wouldn't in person — has both emboldened users and led them to inappropriate behavior.
—"Americans redefining their lives online and offline with social media tools," RISMedia, November 23, 2009
n. The strong and irrational fear that in the near future the earth will be destroyed by some cosmic event.

There are 19 million 2012-related Google hits, and a vast number of those are concerned with a real world's [sic] and not the Roland Emmerich film that cashes in on rampant fear and on the tastes of those who enjoyed the way he destroyed the world in "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow."...This latest bit of cosmophobia is based on the Maya or Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which, set up to run for 5,125 years, appears to terminate on or about Dec. 21, 2012, thus wrecking the key holiday shopping season.
—John Bogert, "Here comes the end of the world — again," Daily Breeze, October 22, 2009

n. Ineffective green technology, particular equipment added on to an existing building that does little to reduce the building's use of natural resources. Also: ecobling.

Doug King, a visiting professor of building engineering physics at the University of Bath and author of the new report, said that it had become fashionable for people to install renewable energy at home but warned against it. "Eco-bling describes unnecessary renewable energy visibly attached to the outside of poorly-designed buildings - it's a zero-sum approach," he said. "If you build something that is just as energy-hungry as every other building and then put a few wind turbines and solar cells on the outside that addresses a few per cent of that building's energy consumption, you've not achieved anything.
—Alok Jha, "Eco-bling and retrofitting won't meet emissions targets, warn engineers," The Guardian

n. An extremely zealous vegan who is eager to make other people believe in and convert to veganism. [Blend of vegan and evangelical.]

Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero are vegangelicals with a sense of humor, a sense of proportion and a sense of adventure. What else would you expect from two gals who host a podcast called The Post Punk Kitchen (
—Ted Scheffler, "Eat Your Veggies," Salt Lake City Weekly, January 31, 2008

orphan cancer
n. A rare cancer that gets little attention and little funding for research.

The treatment is being tested at Stony Brook University Medical Center as a therapy for cancer of the appendix, a malignancy so rare it is known as an orphan cancer.
—Delthia Ricks, "New York doctors testing heated chemo for rare cancer," Newsday, March 5, 2009
n. An automated phone call that plays a recorded message. Also: robo-call.

Obama also recorded an automated robocall to urge Massachusetts voters to support the Democrat, and he cut a Web video with the same message.
—Janet Hook, "Healthcare overhaul may depend on Massachusetts Senate race," Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2010
email apnea
n. The unconscious and temporary suspension of regular breathing while checking and reading email. Also: e-mail apnea.

Researchers say that the stress of not being able to process information as fast as it arrives, combined with the personal and social expectation that, say, you will answer every e-mail message, can deplete and demoralize you. ... Author Linda Stone, who coined the term "continuous partial attention" to describe the mental state of today's knowledge workers, says she's now noticing, get this, "e-mail apnea": the unconscious suspension of regular and steady breathing when people tackle their e-mail.
—Paul Hemp, "Death by Information Overload," Harvard Business Review, September 1, 2009
mommy card
n. A calling card that includes a mother's name and contact information. Also: mom card.

Being a parent is a job in itself, which is exactly why Carrie Hendrix developed "mommy cards," business cards for parents....Depending on the design chosen, some mommy cards come with a bit of ribbon snaked through them. It makes them stand out from the everyday card, Hendrix said.
—Allison Miles, "Several Crossroads businesses jazz up their business cards," Victoria Advocate, July 26, 2009
n. A chemical that leads to obesity by increasing the production and storage capacity of fat cells; a environmental trigger that causes obesity.

In 2006 he fed pregnant mice tributyltin, a disinfectant and fungicide used in marine paints, plastics production, and other products, which enters the food chain in seafood and drinking water. "The offspring were born with more fat already stored, more fat cells, and became 5 to 20 percent fatter by adulthood," Blumberg says. Genetic tests revealed how that had happened. The tributyltin activated a receptor called PPAR gamma, which acts like a switch for cells' fate: in one position it allows cells to remain fibroblasts, in another it guides them to become fat cells... The effect was so strong and so reliable that Blumberg thought compounds that reprogram cells' fate like this deserved a name of their own: obesogens.
—Sharon Begley, "Born to be Big," Newsweek, September 21, 2009
n. A murder mystery or detective story where the location of a crime plays a central role. Also: where-dunit.

In some mystery novels, the wheredunit is as important as the whodunit. The locale, rather than merely serving as the backdrop to the plot, is an essential ingredient that lifts the story out of the ordinary, providing an ambience found nowhere else.
—Robert Wade, "Blood flows in the wilderness as fast as it flows in the city," The San Diego Union-Tribune, September 19, 2004
frugal fatigue
n. Mental exhaustion caused by constant frugality during hard economic times. Also: frugality fatigue.

[I]t seems that after a year of watching our wallets, bank accounts, and 401(k) plans with the tenacity of a wheelchair-bound Jimmy Stewart in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, some are throwing up their hands, taking out their credit cards, and wading back into pre-recession spending habits. The official term for this behavior is frugal fatigue. It started creeping into the lexicon last spring, and now frugal fatigue — the idea that we're getting worn down and stressed out by constantly watching our budgets — may as well be an officially diagnosed psychiatric disorder.
—Christopher Muther, "Fighting frugal fatigue," The Boston Globe, November 19, 2009
n. A false or non-existent controversy.

Unfortunately a number of gotcha moments only became controversial when the media, like blood-deprived leeches, clung to the nontroversy and spun it through its continuous loop of 24-hours news, which only contains an estimated 30 minutes of new news according to a recent Political Fallout study.
—T.M. Lindsey, "Got Scandal?: Iowa's Bottom Nontroversies of 2008," Political Fallout, January 4, 2009


Georgina Zielinski said...

This was very interesting. My two favorites were the where-dunit and eco-bling. I read a lot of Patricia Cornwell novels and the where plays a huge role in the books. I thought the eco-bling was just funny, and I can see people doing just that.

Michael J. Jones said...

I personally hate the robocall's. I remember getting 3 of them in one day. One from Dana White the President of the UFC, the second one from Obama campaign, and lastly one from some telemarketing company. I put my number on the "no-call" list about a year ago and finally no more robocalls.

here is a link for the do not call registry

Anonymous said...


COM 101

Anonymous said...

Try to understand a hip hopper or a rapper. A total massacre of the english language.
John Allen

Anonymous said...

Check that last comment, wrong article pre senior moment. What I meant to say is lets all run out and max out our credit cards like
y2k. John Allen

Jessica Pacheco said...

Wow I can't help but agree with John, trying to understand rappers is not always easy.
I know personally that "cyber-disinhibition" applies to me. In live classroom setting I'm not likely to offer opinions but for some reason online it seems much easier. That's just one example of cyberdisinhibition I can associate with myself. I'm sure there are many more.

Viviana Velasquez Com101 said...

Cosmophobia? Wow, the whole 2012 thing is really starting to get to everyone. It would be interesting if 2012 came and went without anything happening.

Viviana Velasquez Com101 said...

Cosmophobia. Doesn't the whole 2012Armageddon idea remind us about the Y2K bug over a decade ago. I remember some of my friends preparing for it like the end of the world was coming. They stocked up water jugs and food. We had a good laugh about it after New Years day.

Vivana Velaquez Com101 said...

Cyberdisinhibition. I see this more and more especially with the types of comments posted in Youtube in response to someone's video.

Vivana Velasquez Com101 said...

Cyberdisinhibition. I saw a rediculous Youtube video of a girl that produced a song called "Friday". The song was pretty bad, but the comments being posted about the video were outragous. Some people even posted deaththreats on her video. That's a good example of cyberdisinhibition.

Viviana Velasquez Com101 said...

A new term I heard of was Cyberbullying. People get pretty tough when all they have to do is fight using their keyboard. I saw a story on Dateline NBC where a girl ended up commiting suicide because other girls at her school started posting cruel messages on internet message boards about her.

Anonymous said...

Cosmophobia is new word for me. Learn new things everyday. Instead of worrying about an irrational fear in the near future, how about living for today. Don't worry about what tomorrow will bring you because tomorrow is not promised. Michael thanks for the website because I hate robocalls too.

Chris Jackson

Anonymous said...

Cosmophobia is new word for me. Learn new things everyday. Instead of worrying about an irrational fear in the near future, how about living for today. Don't worry about what tomorrow will bring you because tomorrow is not promised. Michael thanks for the website because I hate robocalls too.

Chris Jackson

Anonymous said...

Why even pay attention to such wasteful words that I personally or anyone for that matter should even use. Majority of people won't know what your talking about, and will ask you to explain it anyways.

-Chynna Greene