Word of the year—
I love it when the Oxford Dictionaries annually names a word of the year. This must be a tough task. They say the word is chosen because it “is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.”
This year’s winner is …drum roll…vape.
Vape is a verb to denote the action of breathing in the vapor produced by and electronic cigarette. Some call these e-cigarettes. It can be a noun when it refers to the act of vaping or the device itself.
The Urban Dictionary notes that the word is used because you done “smoke” an e-cigarette since there is vapor, not smoke.
Now you now this year’s word of the year.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. How many times did some of us bang out this sentence on a typewriter (remember those?) as we learned to type—oh so long ago.
I recently found out there is a name for sentences like this. They are pangrams. This is a Greek word meaning every letter. In a pangram, a sentence contains every letter of the alphabet in one sentence. They are also known as holoalphabetic sentences.
Pangrams are a good way to display typefaces or practice calligraphy, in addition to aiding in learning where the letters on a keyboard reside.
We promptly judged antique ivory buckles for the next prize.
Brown jars prevented the mixture from freezing too quickly.
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.
Fred specialized in the job of making very quaint wax toys.
Hippotherapy is another new word for me. I heard it on the radio, so I had to know more. (No, it is not where they put a hippo on a couch.)
In reality, hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy. A therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input. It is meant to improving coordination, balance, and strength.
It is not the same as therapeutic horseback riding.
The word hippotherapy has its roots in the Greek word hippos (horse). It literally refers to treatment or therapy aided by a horse.
Hippotherapy is not new. It is mentioned in the ancient Greek writings of Hippocrates—Hence, the name. Even though it is that old, the discipline was not developed until the 1960s, when it began to be used in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as an adjunct to traditional physical therapy.
Now you know a new word – HIPPOTHERAPY!
Scuffin? Now there is a word I have never seen or heard–that is only a recent trip to California when I saw—and tasted—a scuffin in a coffee shop.
We were visiting relatives, and one of our day trip took us to Novato, California. This city has a wonderful downtown area with shops, restaurants, and at least one coffee shop.
We stopped off at Dr. Insomniac’s Coffee and Teas for a quiet place to catch up with one of my wife’s relatives. The shop’s display case contained many pastries including something called a scuffin.
When I got back to Colorado, I researched this unique treat.
The scuffin is part scone and part muffin. The hybrid pastry has an arid crumb-like texture of a scone but has the shape of a muffin, and is made in a muffin tin.
The cooking.nytimes.com/recipes website called it a frankenpastry — part scone, part muffin and, like a doughnut, filled with jam.
I had the pumpkin and cream cheese variety.
Anglophone. Is this some kind of new “smart phone.” I wasn’t sure of this word with I saw it in print recently. From the context it was use in, I could tell it was not something you would speak into.
My research shows that an anglophone is–an English-speaking person, especially a native English speaker.
I also learned about the anglosphere. This is a word for the neologism that refers to a group of of English-speaking nations with a similar cultural heritage–based upon populations originating from the nations of the British Isles, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Many great discussions start in my writers’ critique group. Due to our diverse age span, backgrounds and education, we all have different takes on some words and their meanings.
In a recent submission, one of the writers used the word “dethaw” in a story. A couple of us questioned this word. I, for one, have never heard it or seen it in print.
Web research shows that it may be a word. The meaning of dethaw is that something becomes or is caused to become soft or liquid.
The website Yahoo Answers had a long explanation of the term dethaw some years ago. In part, here is what johndiva said in his answer on the website.
THAW and DEFROST are cognates — the first one comes from Germanic and the second word from Latin. Therefore, you can use them interchangeably as synonyms.
The English language is ever-changing. New words—and phrases–seem to crop up almost every day. They hang around, and eventually some are formally accepted as mainstream language. Sometimes they are brand new words and other times an old word takes on a new meaning. The label for these new words is neologisms.
Social media and technology have contributed greatly to the formation of new words. Here are some examples:
- Google – To look up info on the internet. It has somehow become a verb too.
- App – A software application, usually for a smart phone. This one seems to have come on fast.
- Spam – The annoying junk emails used an existing word.
- Troll — An anonymous person who posts inflammatory, rude, obnoxious or hurtful comments to an online offering.
Other neologisms relating to popular culture include:
- Muffin top – This terms is for the roll of fat that appears at the waistband of pants.
- BFF – This is high tech shorthand for “best friend forever.”
- Staycation – This means taking a vacation at home or near the home. It became popular during the time when the price of gas skyrocketed.
- One last neologism came and went fast. That is Tebowing. The kneeling and praying stance taken by once NFL quarterback Tim Tebow left along with him.