January 26, 2016

New words to know in 2016

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

The catchword of any given day is one of the great mysteries.  Where they come from is often anyone's guess, as multiple sources take credit for a new word or phrase, banishing its true origin into ambiguity.

Easier to narrow down is why a catchword catches on.  The better ones do so because they fill a gap, providing a word for a situation that didn't previously exist, or offering clarity to one that did. Plus, using them helps us feel hip and with it, man.  Oh wait, I think man is out.

Once a catchword captures enough people's ears and establishes a certain longevity, the dictionaries of the day deign it worthy of immortalization.  In the past year, Merriam-Webster added an amazing 1,700 new words to its already hefty reference.  Today I thought I'd share ten of the best and worst new additions.  I'll include my unsolicited critiques of each, just because I can.  I mean, to help you remember them.

Yep, you'll be seeing more of this anagram from now on. warning that a website or email attachment is Not Safe (or Suitable) for Work.  (Please note that Suite T is ALWAYS safe for work.)

Again, the internet plays a role in this.  Emojis are those little images added to text that represent something.  What is the difference between an emoji and an emoticon, you ask?  Emoticons only express emotion, like a smiley face or the tongue-sticking-out one that my editor Susan sends me.  Emojis, on the other hand, can be emoticons as well as any other symbol, plus it sounds more Japanese.

Used when a goofy friend intentionally messes up your photo by getting into frame and being silly.  I suspect "videobomb" will be next.

Jeans and leggings as one.  They look better than the name sounds.

Can I say it?  That horrid dance move is neither flattering nor sexy.  Bring back the Twist.

This one's interesting.  It's "a vocal effect produced by very slow vibration of the vocal cords and characterized by a creaking sound and low pitch".  Also known as the voice we do when we  say, "I can't come into work today, I have the flu."

This has been around long enough that most know it.  I think the official definition, however, should state that it must only be used between best friends of the female persuasion.  If I ever called my friend Ron my "bestie", he would punch me in the face.  If I didn't beat him to it.

I wasn't sure I even wanted to know what this meant.  But it refers to the way a guy sits when his knees are so far apart that they infringe on someone sitting next to him.  Gender-specific that it is, maybe some feminists will jump on this and squash it like the cockroach it is.  In the meantime, if I hear anyone using it, I will punch them in the face.

Let's get really ridiculous, shall we?  Those who never got used to the whole "Ms." thing when addressing a lady can now cringe at this horrific new honorific for when you don't want to be politically incorrect.  In the audio world "MX" has long stood for "music", so let's stick with that instead of reducing our fellow man (or woman) to androgeny.

I like this one, though.  It's a multi-purpose word for "bantering".  It can be a noun ("I liked your bant") or a verb ("I'm banting with my bestie and I just can't stop").  You'll see me using this one.  Be forewarned.

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