Keeping up with changes in the ever evolving English lexicon can always be daunting – particularly in a world where many believe language in general is under threat. Some would point to the new ‘illiteracy’ spawned by a generation of mobile phone texters, Instagram style apps and the short attention span of tabloid click bait. Others put it down to the death of meaningful conversation as part of our everyday lifestyle, replaced by the monosyllabic grunts of an increasingly dopey youth – eg. “yo bro”.
Around a thousand words are added to our common day usage each year whilst no doubt a large number simply fall dormant. Many would argue that an annual cull would not be out of place, banishing some of the more hideous snap phrases and boo words to the dustbin of history.
So here in a few hundred words is your instant rough guide to some of the more glaring examples of words and phrases we could well do without – and what many consider their real subliminal meaning. Before we start, a special mention to Pauline Hanson who breathed new life into a well-worn metaphor when she recently referred to “the white elephant in the room”.
MANSPREADING: Supposedly refers to a man spreading his legs on public transport, not only hogging the seat but hoping he doesn’t have a hole in his crotch.
PHOTOBOMB: The act of moving into somebody’s selfie when they are not looking. In reality an explosive device concealed in an old Kodak Box Brownie.
WHOVIAN: A name chosen by fans of Dr Who but sounds more like a vacuum cleaner to me.
WOOT: A word that is said to express enthusiasm or elation but might I suggest it’s the sound made by an owl with a wet beak.
SCREENAGER: A tech savy teenager although the word morphs into SCREAMAGER when they are caught watching porn and their laptop is quarantined.
GLAMPING: Surely one of the most contemptible words recently added to the lexicon – used to describe up-market camping but more like ‘DAMPING’ when your $5000 tent springs a link and the water floods in.
BINGE WATCH: A phrase which describes somebody watching the entire series of Breaking Bad in one hit – or possibly observing the activity in King Street Newtown on a Saturday night.
FLASH MOB: Forget about a spontaneous group gathering, it’s time to call the police when you spot a group of old guys all wearing trench coats!
COVFEFE: Sorry – only the twisted mind of Donald Trump can explain the meaning of this word.
LODESTAR: The word nobody in the Trump White House will now dare to utter.
LUMBERSEXUAL: A ruggedly handsome guy who kits out like a lumberjack as opposed to a slovenly dude who hangs out in his pyjamas – i.e. a ‘slumbersexual’.
MILKSHAKE DUCK: This was the Macquarie Dictionary’s word of the year for 2017, chosen supposedly for its popularity amongst Twitter users but bagged by many as elitist bullshit. My tip for their 2018 word – BOLLOCKS!
AND OUT THEY GO: BOOTYLICIOUS, BROMANCE, FAKE NEWS, VAPING, GIG ECONOMY, ALTERNATIVE FACTS, SMASHED AVOCADO, TWITTERATI, INSTAGRAM, SCENARIO, HIPSTER etc – and THE WHITE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
LISTICLE: Refers to the kinds of meaningless lists you now encounter on the internet and in columns like this!