31 gennaio 2011

New buzzwords! Sheeple, buzzkill, cheeseball

Automagically: Automatically in a way that seems magical.

Bargainous: Costing less than expected.

Big media: Primary mass communication sources, e.g., TV and the press.

Buzzkil: Person or thing that has a depressing effect.

Carbon credit: Permit allowing a certain amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon offsetting: Counteraction of CO2 emissions with a corresponding reduction.

Catastrophize: To present a situation as worse than it is.

Cheeseball: Lacking taste or style.

Chillax: To calm down and relax.

Eggcorn: Logical swap of words with similar sounds (from "egg corn" for "acorn").

Flyover states: Central regions of the U.S.

Frenemy: Friend with whom one has frequent conflict.

Gal pal: Female friend.

Green audit: Analysis of a business' environmental impact.

Green-collar: Of or relating to workers in the environmentalist business sector.

Hater: Negative person.

Homeshoring: Moving jobs to employees' homes (from "offshoring").

Hypermiling: Altering a car to maximize its fuel economy.

Locavore: One who primarily eats locally grown food.

Meme: Image, video or phrase passed electronically on the Internet.

Microblog: To post very short entries on a blog.

Overleveraged: Having taken on too much debt.

Own: To utterly defeat or humiliate.

Paywall: Arrangement whereby website access is restricted to paying users only.

Pimp: To make something more showy or impressive.

Rock: To do something in a confident, flamboyant way.

Sheeple: Unquestioning followers (from "sheep" + "people").

Social media: Websites and applications used for social networking.

Soft skills: Attributes that enable someone to interact harmoniously with others.

Toxic debt: Debt that has a high risk of default.

Truthiness: Quality of seeming true.

Turducken: Roast of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.

Webisode: Episode or short film made for viewing online.

Zombie bank: Insolvent bank that survives through government support.

Sources: Oxford Dictionary of English; New American Oxford Dictionary; Oxford English Dictionary; Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

26 gennaio 2011

Sputnik moment

A Sputnik moment is a point where people realise that they are threatened of challenged and have to redouble their efforts to catch up.

Obama followed his Energy Secretary Steven Chu in declaring that the United States stands at a new "Sputnik moment" in the development of such technologies as clean energy and high-speed rail. The idea has been percolating for several years now: Robert J. Samuelson of Newsweek and Mort Zuckerman of U.S. News & World Report both used the expression in 2005. It's unclear whether Americans listening to Obama will be moved by the historical reference, particularly those too young to appreciate the threat that the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite represented during the Cold War era. Obama continued the aeronautical allusions by referring to new energy innovation projects as the "Apollo projects of our time."

Sources: Using English

"Commander in Speak: Parsing Obama's Speech", CBSNews

"Choice Words from the State of the Union", Visual Thesaurus

24 gennaio 2011

Blue Monday

A Monday regarded as a depressing workday in contrast to the pleasant relaxation of the weekend.

Source: Dictionary.com

23 gennaio 2011


The popularity of something (such as a story or Web page) that is spread quickly and usually by direct recommendations rather than advertisements or news media.

Source: Merriam Webster

Skypeochondria, Fidgetal, Powerpointless

Fidgetal - blend of finger and digital. Referred to the use of the fingers to provide input above a mobile device.

MisApp - something going terribly wrong due to over reliance on latest Phone gizmo

Wikisqueak - sound emitted by diplomat who realises she's sent confidential telegram without proper encryption

Dreadsheet - spreadsheet containing very bad financial news

Disgracebook - social networking site advertising user's embarrassing past

Mobile drone - lover of interminable tedious and public phone conversations

Sin card - alternative device to fit in mobile for immoral communication

Powerpointless - universal feeling in room at end of hi-tech executive presentation of negligible value

Skypeochondria - queasy feeling brought on by obsessive fear of being offline

Scroogele - search engine for people trying to find cheapest online gifts

Source: BBC, "The future is fidgetal"

Social notworking

Surfing a social networking site instead of working.

Source: Word Spy


Pausing for thought.

Source: BBC, "The future is fidgetal"


Conversation that seems meaningless or without logic.

Source: Merriam Webster


One who imagines physical ailments after reading about them on the Internet.

Source: Merriam Webster

Nice to have intermet you

A friendly conversation by e-mail with a new acquaintance.

Source: BBC, "10 of your favourite anti-tech words"


E-mail I send to myself to remind me to do things.

Source: BBC, "10 of your favourite anti-tech words"


Failing to reply to e-mails from friends, because your computer thinks they're spam.

Source: BBC, "10 of your favourite anti-tech words"

21 gennaio 2011


Briffare: da "to brief", comunicare per sommi capi le richieste di un cliente su di una determinata commessa.

Nella vignetta di Ellekappa sulle ormai tristemente famose intercettazioni delle telefonate delle escort coinvolte del sexygate italiano è apparso il termine "briffare". Si tratta dell'ennesimo esempio di "itanglese" nato dalla trasposizione fonetica di un termine inglese che viene poi italianizzato. La new entry “Briffare” (to brief) si aggiunge agli altri mostruosi calchi italiani “Mecciare” (to match), “Forwadare” (to forward), “Downloadare” (to download), “Uploadare” (to upload) che significano rispettivamente: comunicare per sommi capi le richieste di un cliente su di una determinata commessa, eseguire un confronto al fine di trovare affinità, inoltrare, scaricare uno o più file da una fonte in Rete, caricare uno o più file su di un server in Rete.


Rainews 24

La Repubblica


Vedi anche:

Vi siete fasati?


The act of reducing one's standard of living for an improved quality of life. Downshifting assumes a tradeoff between standard of living, such as level of wealth, and quality of life, which relates to well-being. People who downshift are looking to improve their personal lives. These changes could take the form of more spare time, a reduced workload or a lower stress level. To achieve these goals, the person must be willing to give up his or her current standard of living and look to reduce the cost of living. For example, someone may attempt to downshift by reducing monthly expenses, moving to a smaller house or selling unnecessary possessions.

Source: Investopedia

“Semplicità volontaria” è il neologismo che definisce quello che, principalmente nel mondo anglosassone, viene chiamato all’interno del mondo del lavoro la scelta da parte di diverse figure di lavoratori – particolarmente professionisti – di giungere ad una libera, volontaria e consapevole autoriduzione del salario bilanciata da un minore impegno in termini di ore dedicate alle attività professionali, in maniera tale da godere di maggiore tempo libero (famiglia, ozioso relax, hobbystica, ecc.).

Source: Noi Risparmio

19 gennaio 2011


1: a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked
2: an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity

Examples of GEEK

He was a real geek in high school.

Origin of GEEK
probably from English dialect geek, geck fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German
First Known Use: 1914

source: Merriam-Webster

see also:

Geek Speak

To geek

12 gennaio 2011


A buzzword that gained traction in 2009, Obamacare became even more pervasive in 2010. “We must repeal Obamacare” became the mantra heard in race after race in the mid-term elections. CNSNews.com asked members of Congress if they would pledge to repeal the president’s health-care reform law, reporting on their answers.

Source: CNSNews

The Grandparent Economy

The spending power of the older generation.

Reporting for McClatchy Newspapers, Anita Creamer highlighted a term associated with grandparents’ growing economic clout. Interviewing grandmother Mary Hopp about her gift-giving, Creamer wrote:
Her contributions to the so-called “grandparent economy” are carefully considered yet generous – a prime example of how America’s 70 million grandparents divvied up the $52 billion they spent on their grandkids in 2009, according to a study that was commissioned by Grandparents.com.

Source: Schott's Vocab

New uses of old words

We are over-stretching the language by using "friend" as a verb when we talk about "friending" and "unfriending" someone on Facebook. Since friends on Facebook are not real friends in the usual sense, we probably need a word distinct from the normal word, "befriend," for referring to Facebook friends. But we do have other words for this process, words like "add to" and "block from."

Source: CNN

Compound words

Every year brings a slew of new compounds and 2010 was no exception.

A "double-dip" recession was on everyone's minds as the government tried to avoid one by funding "shovel-ready" projects, projects that were past the planning phase.

Borrowed words

The stand-out borrowed word this year was "vuvuzela" or simply "vuvu," the two-foot long "stadium horn" tooted by most of the fans at the South African World Cup match this year. English borrows most of its words from European languages, so the nerve-wracking honking of these horns at the World Cup match had to make a great impression to be picked up by English.

Source: CNN

Portmanteau words

Coined by Lewis Carroll, the term "portmanteau word" is one that carries two words inside itself.

When we speak, we go to our mental dictionaries for the right words. If we find two words with similar meanings or pronunciations, we have to make a split-second choice of which to use. President George W. Bush's mind once found itself having to choose between "miscalculated" and "underestimated" as he spoke, but failed to reach a decision in time, so he uttered "misunderestimated".

Sarah Palin's famous portmanteau "refudiate" is similar. "Refudiate" is a speech error that many others before her have made by blending "refute" and "repudiate." That it has been around for ages but has yet to make it into a dictionary tells us that it is a speech error we should stop discussing and let pass for what it is: a funny but erroneous portmanteau.

Source: CNN

2010: a year with words

Each year the English language takes a fresh beating, but in 2010 it was intensified more than ever by the widening reach and quickening pace of the internet.

New words and constructions like "Obamacare," "WikiLeaks," "lamestream," "shovel-ready," "sexting," and many others like them were uttered or typed and in minutes spread across the globe.

But I think we need not worry too much about the new words entering or trying to enter the language. Most of them are what linguists call "nonce" words, words that someone dreams up for the nonce, which is to say, for a particular occasion. A nonce word usually vanishes as soon as the occasion that motivated its creation passes.
For example? Even though the East was buried under snow over the holidays, few invoked "snowmageddon," the off-the-cuff creation from last winter's blizzard that was created by smushing (smashing into a mush) the two words "snow" and "Armageddon."
Source: CNN

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