Webster’s New Words

Every year the editors at Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary add some new words that have gained enough usageto become a part of the everyday English language. Here are a few that are now officially part of our lexicon.

aha moment – Word used by Oprah Winfrey to mean sudden insight. I use the term “profound revelation.”

bucket list – From the movie by that name, a list of things you want to accomplish before you die. I have two: write the novel, and travel all around Europe (Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and Greece at a minimum).

cloud computing – Data and applications hosted remotely; all you need is an Internet browser.

copernicium – Chemical element number 112 (symbol Cn) named after Copernicus. It’s the chemist’s dream to name a new element after oneself, e.g., Jeannium or Perduium.

earworm – That song you can’t get out of your head. The antidote for earworm is the theme song from the movie Sound of Music. “The hills are alive….” Works every time.

energy drink – Monster and 5-hour Energy cost more than a dollar each, but V8 just came out with V-Fusion + Energy, which is only $.50. I have two flavors in the fridge and plan to try one tomorrow.

f-bomb – Saying the F-word in a public place or on TV to cause a real stir.

game changer – New technology that changes the whole marketplace. Shell has a technology ventures investment program named GameChanger.

gassed – Slang for drained of energy; in need of an energy drink. My son when he was four years old said he was “disausted” after a long day of shopping. “Gassed” would have been easier for him to say than “exhausted,” but the word hadn’t been invented yet.

gastropub – A bar or tavern that offers really good food. Call Guy Fieri to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

man cave – A room, garage, or basement decorated according to male preferences to be used for he-man hobbies and leisurely pursuits. No girls allowed.

mash-up – Taking two similar things from separate sources and combining them, as in music, movies, or Web applications.

systemic risk – The risk that the failure of one part will cause failures in other connected parts such that the whole system fails. This needs to be addressed better in oil company HSE plans.

underwater – When you owe more on your house mortgage than the property is worth; subsea.

Aha Moment of the Day:
“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.”
Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC


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