20 New Words for the New Year

From Globo and Schmoo to Gaslighting, philologist Adam Jacot de Boinod shares his top 20 words for 2019


Each year new words slip effortlessly into our unofficial, informal language and our common parlance. Invariably to stand the test of time they need to possess brevity, wit and invention. There can often be a time lapse between the word or phrase’s original date and it coming into standard acceptance as a ’neologism’ (newly coined word). As a philologist I list my favourite twenty neologisms together, where feasible, with their source. They have typically derived from social networks and have come into general use over the last year from around the English-speaking globe.

doorbuster

An article that is sold very cheaply in order to attract customers into a shop and make them buy other, more expensive, things

[Yahoo! Finance, 21 November 2017]

 

gammon

a person, typically middle-aged and white, with reactionary views, especially one who supports Brexit

shoefie

a photo of one’s shoes, posted on a social media site

[www.harpersbazaar.com.au 11 August 2017]

 

plandid

a photograph posted on a social media site that is designed to look as though the subject was unaware it was being taken

generation mute

a way of referring to the generation of young people who tend to use written forms of communication, such as texting, rather than making phone calls

[Sunday Times, 5 November 2017]

infobesity

the state of having access to so much information that it leads to difficulties with decision-making, concentration and understanding [Huffington Post, 26 July 2017]

kittenfishing

the activity of exaggerating your positive qualities in an online profile [www.independent.co.uk, 2 July 2017]

globo

someone who lives or spends a lot of time in several different parts of the world [www.telegraph.co.uk, 2 December 2017]

megamoon

a honeymoon on which the married couple’s friends are also invited

[Grazia, 22 August 2017]

gaslight

to attempt to manipulate someone by continually presenting them with false information until they doubt their sanity

up lit

a literary genre comprising books that make the reader feel optimistic

[The Guardian, 2 August 2017]

 

floss

a dance in which people twist their hips in one direction while swinging their arms in the opposite direction with fists closed

sweatworking

any activity that combines exercise with networking, such as going to the gym with business clients

schmoo

a jumper without a hole for the head to go through, intended to be wrapped around the wearer’s shoulders

kleptopredation

the act of eating prey that has just hunted so that the predator eats the prey of its prey too

latte levy

a tax paid on disposable, non-recyclable coffee cups the aim of which is to encourage customers to bring their own cup and therefore reduce waste [www.independent.co.uk, 4 January 2018]

haem

an organic molecule found in plants that can be used in vegetarian and vegan cooking to mimic the red colour of meat

[Good Food Magazine, January 2018]

 

menu hacking

in a restaurant, the activity of asking for food or drinks, or combinations of food or drinks, that are not on the menu

bropropriation

a situation when a man takes a woman’s idea, claims that it is his own and gets the credit for it

hepeating

a situation when a man repeats a good idea expressed by a woman and acts as though it were his own
[www.metro.co.uk, 26 September 2017]


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