Couponing has become a big thing in this country, even making it on to TV with shows like extreme couponing. It even has its own lingo!
The Wordnik blog has listed their ten favourite couponing words, here’s a selection:
Blinkies are a type of coupon dispensed from a machine in a store aisle or at checkout. The machine generally has a blinking red light designed to get shoppers’ attention.
A catalina coupon is printed at the register after purchase, and is named for the marketing firm behind the idea. (Source: Wordnik)
Now you know the lingo, it might be time to get couponing!
Have you ever felt really lazy, so lazy you can’t be bothered to do anything, go anywhere? Well, that feeling has a word – viitsima.
But only in Estonian. A former student at the Royal College of Art in London amassed words from other languages we don’t have in English. The Taiwanese design student collected words from her international cohort to display in an infographic.
Lin’s exercise yields weird moments of recognition: Even if the word doesn’t exist in English, the feeling is vaguely familiar. “People are able to understand the emotion even though they don’t have a word for it,” she said, adding that appropriated words such as schadenfreude make it clear we can feel what we can’t express in one word. (Source: Globe and Mail)
Are there any words from other languages we should have in English? Or maybe the way around this is to learn a new language by taking Chinese classes in Toronto perhaps?
Which word or phrase bugs you most?
If it’s “whatever”, you’re in good company as Americans have voted it their most annoying word for the fourth consecutive year. The Marist Poll showed that 32% of Americans have this view, closely followed by “like”, at 21%. This figure is slightly down from last year though, when 38% of Americans thought “whatever” was the most annoying word they heard in conversation.
Other words that irritate include “you know”, “just sayin’” and “Twitterverse”.
Source: Marist Poll
There’s plenty of talk at the moment of America being on the edge of a fiscal cliff. But what does it mean, and what is the origin of the term?
It’s commonly used to describe the combination of tax increases and budget cuts that will come into place on January 1st, unless Congress agrees a deal before then. These could potentially be bad for the economy.
Linguist and language columnist Ben Zimmer explained the origins of the term to NPR:
Well, fiscal cliff was first popularized last February when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned of the coming fiscal cliff that would take effect with these spending cuts and tax increases. But the term itself has actually been used for a few decades to refer to various types of budget crises.
There was a Dallas Morning News editorial in 1975 when New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy. And it was talking about what would happen if New York City went over the fiscal cliff. So it’s been a powerful metaphor for a while now. (Source: NPR)
The term has become so popular it’s even in contention for word of the year… watch this space.
Yesterday I posted about some despicable words – to counterbalance those, here are a couple of adorable terms for you!
Word Spy introduces us to Skype Sleep:
v. To create a Skype connection with a faraway partner and then fall asleep together.
—Skype sleeping pp.
Its earliest use is from late 2010, in the Urban Dictionary.
An associated term is ambient Skype, the practice of leaving a Skype connection open without using it for a conversation.
For the first time in my life I used a Skype video call with my wife today as an ambient backdrop to life, rather than just as tool for having a conversation. I’d always wanted to try it, ever since hearing my friend and colleague Dave Newbold mention, in a presentation he was giving a couple of years ago about the near future for technology and social interaction, something he’d heard described as ‘ambient Skype’, whereby people leave a voice client running in the background while they are away from home as a way of being almost-there.
—Roo Reynolds, “Ambient Skype,” Roo Reynolds – What’s Next?,” March 12, 2008
We all have a word that we really hate. For my brother, it’s “toilet” – he prefers to use “bathroom”, in the American style.
The Atlantic Wire has put together a short dictionary of what they call “despicable” words – here are a few examples:
arguably. “What, actually, does arguably mean? Indisputable? Able to be argued about? It is a non-word. Another filler, actually.”
curate. Especially to refer to “food or vintage fashion.”
honestly. “Actually, I think honestly is literally the worst. On the rare occasions when [one] doesn’t sayhonestly, is [one] actually being dishonest? Of course, all of these unnecessary words pale in comparison to the ultimate space-wasting, no-crap expressions: ‘at the end of the day’ and ‘it is what it is.’”
moist. This one, which we received the most and also the most emphatically, we might have predicted. See also: because.
What word would you nominate for this dictionary?
Have you ever wanted to see that special word you and your friends use featured in the dictionary?
Now’s your chance! The Collins Dictionary are inviting submissions from the public for the first time. You can submit your word online, and it will go through an evaluation process. If your word is accepted it will then appear on collinsdictionary.com, with your name next to the definition!
In addition to the excitement of having your word accepted, Collins are offering a prize every day between now and the end of August. You’ll be automatically entered when you submit a word.
A few words that have been submitted so far include mantyhose, cyberstalking and photobombing. Can you do better?
An interesting project by The Project Twins showcases an alphabet of unusual words.
Originally exhibited last year in Dublin, the prints are visual interpretations of words such as acersecomic (a person whose hair has never been cut) and cacodemonomania (the pathological belief that one is inhabited by an evil spirit).
One of my favourite words is zugzwang, which means “a position in which any decision or move will result in problems” (pictured). You can buy prints at the Twins’ shop.
It’s a little less than a week until the start of the Olympic Games, and Londoners are braced for transport chaos.
If you’d like to help ease their stress levels, one thing will make a huge difference. That thing is standing on the right on escalators. This simple rule, which you will see on all escalators on the Tube, allows people in a hurry to walk down the left hand side of the escalator whilst others stand… on the right.
If you’d like to ease London stress levels even more, help out others by telling them to stand on the right – even in their own language. Londonist’s handy guide is here to help. Here are a few translations.
Cantonese: Mm goi kay yau bin
Catalan: Estigues a la banda dreta, si us plau
Klingon: Qam Daq nIH!
Latin: ad latus dextrum sta
Morse: … – .- -. -.. — -. – …. . .-. .. –. …. -
A friend of mine identifies as a geek; he even worked for the Geek Squad for a while.
But some seem the term as derogatory – particularly if going by dictionary definitions. Google’s dictionary defines a geek as “an unfashionable or socially inept person” with a secondary meaning of “a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: “a computer geek” “.
Whilst my friend self-describes as a computer geek, he’s definitely not socially inept or particularly unfashionable. He loves computers, but he’s not devoted. He’s reclaimed the word “geek” and isn’t alone:
The Geeks say they have reappropriated the term, and it no longer has a negative connotation. “Personally, I have no problem identifying myself as a geek girl, geek, nerd, dork, etc,” writes Jill Pantozi on The Mary Sue (a site that describes itself as “A Guide to Girl Geek Culture”) pointing to a survey that shows all the ways geeks are positively viewed. Some of the findings: 51 percent of Americans surveyed consider geeks professionally successful; 54 percent find them extremely intelligent with perceptions of social awkwardness much lower down. “When you talk about a geek, you used to think of the guy in the back of the room, pocket protector with a bunch of pens in it, the white shirt, the high pants, very socially inept,” said Jack Cullen, president of Modis, which sponsored the survey. “Today, when I think of geeks, I think of Steve Jobs. One guy has redefined the geek concept. You could put Zuckerberg in the same category,” he continued. (Source: The Atlantic)
Seems it’s long past time for dictionaries to catch up: Geeks are cool!