Friday, March 29

Exalting our existence
'What's most exciting, though, is not where a word has been but where it's going, what *you* will make of it, and you don't have to be a crossword puzzler or word buff ... to amplify your own rich, raucous, sexy, vocabulary, whether you wish to become a polysyllabic jazz conversationalist or to discover how words can take us beyond our meanings, exalting our very existence.'
--Karen Elizabeth Gordon, American writer, The Disheveled Dictionary, 1997. Quoted by Paul McFedries in 'The Word Spy' for 28 March 2002.

Another excerpt from The Disheveled Dictionary:
'divagation, wandering, straying, going astray; digressing in speech
'The ventriloquist’s divagations took a turn south, with a lexical jambalaya and an anecdote about his great-aunt Foxie Belle Bloom catching crawdads in the bayou with her torch songs and ululations and her Blond Assassin lacquered nails (from the Emily Dickinson cosmetics collection).'

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From Martha Barnette's www.funwords.com:
'Welcome! Do you know where your tragus is? Have you footled today? If someone calls you costive, should you be flattered or insulted? You can find out the answers to these and other timeless questions (such as, "Hey, what is a snollygoster, anyway?") in the new, expanded Fun Words Archive. Scroll down for some of the latest news of etymological and linguistic interest -- plus info about some of my latest projects, including my most recent book on word origins, Ladyfingers & Nun's Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names from Vintage Books.'

It was Martha Barnette who, in Allure magazine, coined the word 'spendorphins' ('the pleasure proteins that seem to be released during a shopping frenzy'). (Source: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.04/mustread.html?pg=11).

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Twenty-five more neologisms from the Jargon Watch archive at Wired.com:
* Arrow Shooters
'The visionaries in an organization who come up with ideas and trace their far-reaching trajectories.'
* Bio-break
'Techie euphemism for using the toilet.'
* Bozon
'A unit of stupidity. "Is it just me, or is there always a high bozon count in Rupert's posts?"'
* Coopetition
'The phenomenon of computer companies joining their competitors on a project-by-project basis. The products are referred to as "AllianceWare".'
* Docubug
'A mistake in computer documentation. Used in the technical writing department (the "DocuZoo") at Sun Microsystems.'
* Furverts
'The denizens of FurryMUCK and alt.fan.furry, or other people who enjoy emulating anthropomorphs (humanoid animals).'
* Graybar Land
'The place you go while you're staring at a computer that's processing something very slowly (while you watch the gray progress bar creep across your screen). "I was in graybar land for what seemed like hours, thanks to that CAD rendering."'
* Image Aspirations
'Plastic surgery jargon for the amount and type of bodily cosmetic changes one is willing to pay for. A digital imaging system is used to simulate the image aspirations of a potential client and to generate a price list for the various desired body modifications.'
* IQueue
'The line of interesting e-mail messages waiting to be read after you've deleted all of your junk and floodgater (see "Jargon Watch," Wired 2.05, page 26) mail.'
* Jargonaut
'A person who coins a piece of net slang or jargon with the express purpose of trying to get it into Jargon Watch. (This word was chosen during an impromptu contest run on alt.wired to coin such a term.)'
* Kodak Courage
'An extra dose of courage and the tendency to go beyond one's usual physical limits when being filmed or photographed (from action sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and extreme skiing).'
* Multi-mediocrity
'Boring, poorly done CD-ROMs (or any other multimedia platform). Heard on NPR.'
* Non-Linear Behavior or NLB (from chaos theory)
'Used to describe emotional or irrational flaming on the Net. "That gun-control topic is overwhelmed by NLB."'
* Open-Collar Workers
'People who work at home or telecommute.'
* Plug
'Term for either a temp worker, or a new addition to a work staff, who covers work overflow. "He's a plug for Jean until she gets back in June."'
* PONA
'Acronym for "Person Of No Account." Someone who is not online.'
* Road Builders
'The people in an organization who come along behind the arrow shooters and pave the way for profitable applications.'
* ROM brain
'Someone who spews forth ideas and opinions but can't seem to accept any input from the outside world.'
* Rumorazzi
'Writers of various back-page "industry insider" columns in computer trade journals. Dedicated to collecting and reporting (and sometimes debunking) various rumors and secrets within the industry. "Be careful at Comdex; you never know where the rumorazzi may be lurking."'
* Send Storm
'A deluge of private chat messages while one is trying to do something else online. "Sorry, I'm currently the victim of a send storm. I'll be with you in a moment." On AOL, this is called "being IMed to death" (IM stands for Instant Message, AOL's private chat feature).'
* Siliwood
'Short for "Silicon Hollywood", the coming convergence of movies, interactive television, and computers.'
* SITCOMs (Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage)
'What yuppies turn into when they have children and one stops working to be with the kids. The true martyrs of Reaganomics, as characterized in The Economist.'
* Smart Seats
'The seats found in VR entertainment venues that are equipped with motion bases and wired to respond to actions on the computer screen.'
* Toy Value
'Useless gewgaws in a program or product. "The animation screens in this backup program may have some toy value, but they slow everything down to a crawl."'
* User Eye-D
'A face-to-face (FTF) meeting with someone you've gotten to know only over the Net. "My User Eye-D with Robin was not what I expected. He's a guy."'

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