You Learn Something New Everyday (on the random new words in English)

2 Dec

As a corollary of my writing, I read a fair amount of stuff (yes, besides trashy romance :)) – sometimes it is for inspiration, at others it is for research. It is amazing how many new words one is seeing nowadays – again, some of these are because of the evolution of new species – e.g., the “digital natives” phenomenon, some others more because of shortening/ abbreviation; and then some that just portray evolving culture.

Today’s post is to acquaint you with some of those – just in case you havn’t heard them. Click on the links to see background stories/ references of where I got these:

New “Peeps” emerging:

Gastrosexual : Men who like to eat, but also take pride in cooking and presenting this self-cooked food to others. (My husband Manoj is a very happy man – he couldn’t make the metrosexual wave, nor the retrosexual one; but he made sapiosexual (brains over good looks) – let me admit (when I’m feeling pleased with him) as well as gastrosexual). He LOVES going to food stores to buy random and ridiculous stuff – but, then does turn it into amazing and awesome food:)

gastrosexual and noughties

Noughties : People born in the years 2000 – 2009. My daughters both are in this, and the younger one epitomises the homophone as well! (VERY naughty!) Click on this link to see an interesting timeline of media in the noughties 🙂

Flexitarian : Semi Vegetarian : Apparently, the term has been around for some time – but I didn’t know it (I’m the type who, ably aided and abetted by my family, will eat anything that moves!). My friend Shoma, though, classifies well here – claims to be vegetarian (oh by the way, she’s a Bengali, who are the world’s biggest carnivores, but this one is a bit hop-o-kin). But ofcourse, digs in to the good ole flesh when the mood suits her (actually, knowing her – I think it’s when she feels hygiene is not compromised 🙂 ). Reminds me of Achchu, my younger daughter who once said – “I’m going to give up all seafood – EXCEPT for pomfret, starfish, prawns, squids, lobsters, crabs and oysters!)

No flexitarianism

Twintern : An intern who’s job is to work on twitter (and Facebook, and other social media) for his/ her company. (much like tweeple – only, those are people who follow you/ you meet on twitter)

And, the one I learnt today – very relevant to the Indian political scene –

Cyber Hindus : This is the new young social media active Indian which is being attracted to the (erstwhile saffron brigade) leader Modi, and campaigning for him to become the next PM. Modi is incidentally without argument the savviest user of social media to be seen in Indian politics, followed closely by the new-kid-on-the-block AAP. (see an older post on use of social media in politics earlier – things in India have changed drastically since then!)

On Behavior/ Habits:

Pinkwashing : A mixture of “pink” and “hogwash” 🙂 – A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease, or are not relevant! I think therefore the article that led me to the term is a bit of a non-sequiter, and this one may be better. I must confess that when I first heard the term, I thought it was the practice of stereotyping girls, such that you buy them all pink stuff – barbies, pink frilly dresses, pink candy! Thankfully, my contrarian daughters never liked pink – one chose purple instead and the other blue! I understand that phenomenon is called pinkyfication . An interesting and controversial commercial from GoldieBlox recently attacked this rather well. (It was controversial because the Beastie Boys were upset about the use of their song for this). An interesting site called Pinkstinks raises these issues.

Geofencing : Well, again, this one is old – and I did know about the practice – only, I called it location based marketing/ targeting whatever. I tried to extract the true meaning – looks like it has many (related) usages – from: “Geofencing is the practice of limiting mobile employees to a specific location by tracking them with GPS” to “A geofence defines a region of interest. For example, this may be a polygon outside of which a particular set of entities is not expected to stray” to “Geofencing is a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries”.


Sexting : Texting using sexually explicit images or words. Again, this has been mass used for a bit now (and parents specially, if you ARE unaware, PLEASE click on the first link – its quite scary!), along with “selfie” – only, it came to light recently when Snapchat declined Facebook’s 3 bil USD buyout offer. (Wouldn’t you have loved to be in Evan Spiegel’s shoes!) Apparently, snapchat was initially supposed to be a facilitator to sexting!

Humblebragging : Bragging in the guise of humility. A nice “how to” list here:)

Applepick : Steal someone’s iPhone

Greycation: Vacation taken with older people/ grandparents in the family (generally to keep expenses down). So, a Daycation is a day-out, a Haycation is a vacation in a farm, a Staycation is where you just stay at home; coined in recent recesionary times when folks couldn’t afford to spend on vacation, and then the multigenerational vacation is when you share cooking/ babysitting etc and get economies of scale 🙂

And finally, Silicon Valley Syndrome/ IUD : the physical and mental health symptoms that arise from spending WAY too much time sitting in front of a computer screen. Raise hands all who are guilty! 🙂

On Phenomena/ Things:

Earworm: That piece of music that stays on and plays in your head ad nauseum! (The one I work up this morning was a funny old hindi song) and I’m consequently being shunned by my entire family!

Phablet: a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer

Affluenza A blend of ‘affluence’ and ‘influenza’. A social disease resulting from extreme materialism and excessive consumerism: earning more money and consuming more, which can lead to overwork, debt, stress, anxiety, etc. Therefore, a “virus of desire”!


Burkini : A swimsuit that is like the burqa. I think this is a great innovation, and I loved the article that brought this to my attention for the first time!

Alcopop: Fruit drink with alcohol. By the way, the word I find funnier is alcopoop 🙂


On Leadership/ Corporate Culture:

Jeff Bots: Leadership Clones – teams that mimic a boss. (inspired by Jeff Bezos of Amazon)

Skirtiny: Women under corporate scrutiny (unnecessarily/ or exaggeratedly so)

Warrant canary : Apple’s clever move: Like a canary in a coal mine, Apple, has inserted a warrant clause in a compliance doc; which when it is NOT in compliance it will remove. The removal will hopefully trigger the fact that it is NOT in compliance!

Hope, you enjoyed reading this post, and learnt atleast something new! As for me, I’m going to maybe turn this stuff into a blook !


7 Responses to “You Learn Something New Everyday (on the random new words in English)”

  1. Uma December 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    You are amazing, Sangita! So your earworm is Laila ki Ungaliyaan bechoon! ROFL!

    • joshsang December 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      yess! cdn’t get that thing outta my mind

  2. wendynewell December 3, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    Very educational!

  3. Poornima Kannan December 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Love your posts Sangeeta


  1. What I figured out last year | joshsang - January 6, 2014

    […] (On New Words in the English language): […]

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