New Words in English

The following neologisms and novel uses of words in English were collected by members of the class Linguistics/English 215, Words in English: Structure, History and Use, taught by Suzanne Kemmer at Rice University.

Gleaned from <> following susan larsson's <slarsson@NCIA.COM> pointer on Lantra <>.



ACCORDIONATED, adj. Being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time.

ANDROPAUSE (OR VIROPAUSE), n. The end of virilty. [blend of virility and menopause]
Context and Source: "andropause or viropause, the end of virility," (Newsweek 9/16/96)

AQUADEXTROUS, adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtuub faucet on and off with your toes.

AQUALIBRIUM, n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.

A.S.S. GRADUATE, n. A long-winded person (who's attended the "American Sidebartending School"). [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

AUTO "DENTIST", n. One who repairs dents, hail damage, and other types of minor damage on automobiles. ["dentist" to mean "one who repairs dents."]
Context and source: "Auto 'dentist' specializing in dents, dings, and hail damage; high quality, affordable rates," advertisement painted on the auto dentist's car. (used by persons associated with car body repair--nonce phrase)

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BAGGRAVATION, n. A feeling of annoyance and anger one endures at the airport when his bags have not arrived at the baggage carousel but everyone else's bags have [blend formed from words bag and aggravation].
Context and source: "Nancy couldn't help but feel baggravation as she watched other passengers get their luggage and leave the airport." (Internet)

BENEDICT, n. [alter, of Benedick] a newly married man who has long been a bachelor. [based on the Shakespearean character from Much Ado About Nothing]
Source: Word a Day

BFE , adj. Very far away: Beyond Fu**ing Egypt. also B.F.E., b.f.e. [Acronym. Egypt was chosen somewhat arbitrarily as a country on the opposite side of the world. Variant: Bomfoq Egypt]
Context and source: "My car is parked BFE!" (Conversation)

BIG-EYED, adj. One who eats when s/he is not hungry; greedy. [compound of big+eye+d 'adjective forming]
Context and Source: If I see food, I want to eat it. I'm so big-eyed. (Conversation)

BLADING, v. The act of rollerblading, or skating while wearing a modified version of rollerskates called rollerblades which have only one continuous line (a blade) of wheels on the underside of each boot [clip of verb rollerblading ].
Context and source: "I'm going blading around the inner loop if you want to come." (Conversation)

BRONCO BAG, n. Tarp material used to protect well-coifed TV types from sun or rain. [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

BURGACIDE, n. When a hamburger can't take any more torture and hurls itself through the grill into the coals.

BUZZACKS, n. People in phone marts who walk around picking up display phones and listening for dial tones even when they know the phones are not connected.

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CADILLACING, v. Slang. Relaxing. syn. chilling.
Context and source: "He didn't work at all. He was just cadillacing." (Conversation)

CAMPOS, n. The campus police who patrol Rice University; refers to either one policeman, a group of them, and/or the collective entity of policemen. [clipping/blend of 'campus' and 'police.']
Context and source: "You could get a ticket from the campos if you park your car here." (Conversation)

CARJACKING, n. An incident by which a usually armed individual coerces the driver of an automobile to give up his vehicle or drive it and the assailant to some specified location [blend of car and hijacking ].
Context and source: "A carjacking at the corner of Cherry Lane and the Interstate 30 access road has left local residents shocked." (KXAS Local News, 9-28-96)

CARPERPETUATION, n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

COMETISED - adj. used to describe Netscape when it freezes or jams. [ based on the observation of a "shooting star" or a comet (cannot really tell) that appears on the Netscape button, in the upper right corner of a Netscape browser. ]
Context and source: "Oh geez, Netscape is cometised." (Internet Newsgroup)

CORDS, n. A garment or article of clothing made of corduroy fabric. [Clipping of corduroy]
Context and source: "Hey, I like your cords!" (Conversation)

CROSS-TRAINER, n. A type of athletic shoe designed for cross-training, an all encompassing fitness routine which involves running, weight lifting, and other sports [compound formed from roots cross and train + -er ].
Context and source: "The new Nike Cross-Trainer." (Advertisement, Sports Illustrated 9-30-96)

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DATE RAPE, n. An incidence of forced sexual intercourse by one of two individuals after an initial social encounter, usually a date [compound formed with roots date and rape ].
Context and source: "You Can Protect Yourself Against Date Rape" (Flyer at Hanszen College, Rice University)

DEFLICTED,adj. Affected with a condition that misshapens or distorts. [Blend of "afflicted" and "deformed."]
Context and source: "I wouldn't want my girlfriend to have the deflicted body of a rower." (Conversation)

DETOX, n. A clinic or treatment facility at which substance abusers attempt to rid themselves of dependency on a particular drug. Part of this process entails the actual physical removal of toxins present in the body due to the abuse of a substance [clip of detoxification ].
Context and source: "Mrs. Herrod checked herself into detox..." (Conversation)

DIMP, n. A person who insults you in a cheap department store by asking, "Do you work here?"

DISCONFECT, v. To sterilize the piece of candy you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, somehow assuming this will 'remove' all the germs.

DISORIENT EXPRESS, n. A state of confusion. [novel formation].
Context and Source: "I felt like I was on the Disorient Express for good this time."(Newsweek 11/14/96)

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EARWITNESS, n. An individual who hears an incident occur, especially one who later gives a report on what he heard [blend of ear and eyewitness ].
Context and source: "I didn't see what happened, I just heard it. I guess I was an earwitness." (Conversation)

EATERS COMA, n. A condition characterized by sluggishness, sleepiness, and often a lack of motivation to do anything but rest/relax or sleep; a condition whose onset occurs shortly after a meal, usually dinner.
Context and source: "I have a lot of homework to do, but I just ate a big dinner and now I've got eaters coma." (Conversation)

EATERS DEATH, n. The acute form of eaters coma; characterized by difficulty in standing up and walking, onset occurs after an extremely large meal.
Context and source: "I've got eaters death and I don't think I can get up from this chair."(Conversation)

EBONICS, n. Black English Vernacular [Blend of ebony and phonics]

ECNALUBMA, n. A rescue vehicle which can only be seen in the rearview mirror.

EIFFELITES, n. Gangly people sitting in front of you at the movies who, no matter what direction you lean in, follow suit.

ELBONICS, n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.

ELECELLERATION, n. The mistaken notion that the more you press an elevator button the faster it will arrive.

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FLAGGIN', v. Slang. flashing or giving gang sings. [derived from flag - to flash. ]
Context and source: Don't go flaggin' in the wrong 'hood or you gonna end up dead.

FLOW, v. Slang. rapping. [ from the observation that rapping usually contains, long strings of text without many pauses]
Context and source: "Flow on the mike." (Conversation)

411, n. Information or informative details, usually about a planned event or activity. Also 4-1-1. [ One usually dials 4-1-1 on the telephone to reach an operator in order to inquire about some piece of information one is searching for.]
Context and source: "Here's the 411 on the crabbing trip." (heard in conversation)

FRO-YO, n. A frosty, creamy dessert; frozen yogurt. [clipping of frozen yogurt]
Context and source: "Chocolate fro-yo is my favorite dessert!" (Conversation)

FRUST, n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

FUNKINETICS, n. a very energetic form of step aerobics that mixes exercise and soul music. [Blend of funk and kinetics (motion).]
Context and source: If you like soul music and aerobics, you'll like funkinetics. (KPRC Houston 10pm news)

FUNNY, n. A joke; a humorous comment or remark, sometimes unintentionally humorous. [zero-derivation of adj. funny ]
Context and source: "Did I make a funny?" (Conversation)

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GARDEN BURGER, n. A hamburger made with a non-meat, vegetarian patty instead of beef, served by Rice University Food Service. Also gardenburger.
Context and source: "The garden burger is a healthy alternative to a hamburger." (Conversation)

"GARDEN TOOL" MAMA, n. Slang. a prostitute. ["Garden tool" is a euphemism of the vulgar slang ho, which is a derivative (euphemistic respelling) of 'whore'.]
Context and Source: She is nothing but a "garden tool" mama. (Conversation)

GET FUNGED, Epithet for when someone bungles an important task (in honor of criminalist Dennis Fung). [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

GINORMOUS- adj. extremely large [blend of gigantic and enormous]
Context and source: "Oh my! It is not gigantic. It is ginormous!" (Conversation)

GLOBOBOSS, n. A cosmopolitan executive that has the ability to perform well across the globe.
Context and Source: "Wanted a globoboss who's at home anywhere and sings the same tune profits everywhere." (Newsweek 12/2/96)

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HANZOUND TM, n. The sound system at Hanszen College, Rice University. adj. The presentation of a production using the Hanszen sound system. [combination of "Hanszen" College and "sound". The capitalized "Z" serves to separate the two constituent parts of the word. Also, only "-en" was clipped off of "Hanszen". Also, "s" and "z" are similar in sound (differ only in voicing) which allows for the particular type of blending and clipping in this new word.] Context and source: "The Hanszen Movies Committee presents A Christmas Story in HansZound TM." (from a flyer posted at Hanszen College)

HOT-SEATING, v. To use the same boat but switch out rowers for consecutive races, as in races that occur immediately after another. [Rowers' jargon]
Context and source: "We're hot-seating the next race." ( Conversation)

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ITO'D, v. To get hit on the head, especially with a TV crew's boom microphone. [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

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JONES, n. Slang. An intense desire.
Context and source: "Geez, you really got the jones for her." (Conversation)

JORDANESQUE, adj. reminiscent of Michael Jordan. [coined by NBC Sports commentator Marv Albert. The -esque ending is means 'like', as found on words like Romanesque and statuesque.]
Context and source: "He made a jordanesque move under the basket." (Conversation)

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K-MART EXPRESS, n. Vulgar. Nicely put, a cheap tart. [derived from the notion that K-Mart sells cheap goods, and express meaning quick.]
Context and source: "All his girlfriends is K-Mart Express. " (Interview on the Ricki Lake Show)

KRUNK, adj. Slang. Awesome. syn. tight, cool. [? blend of funk and (k)ool; African American Vernacular English]
Context and source: That was a krunk song. (Conversation)

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LACTOMANGULATION, n. Manhandling the "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the `illegal' side.

LATE PLATE, n. Dinner/meal eaten after the regular (family-style) dinner is served (Rice University).
Context and source: "Late plate doesn't start until 6:15." (Conversation)

LOC, n. Slang. gangster, as in a member of street gang. [derived from the Spanish word loco meaning "crazy."]
Context and source: "Don't mess with Steve, he's a loc." (Conversation explaining gang terminology)

LOCS, n. Slang. dark sunglasses.
Context and source: "&iquest;Donde está mis locs? [Where are my sun glasses?]" (Conversation explaining gang terminology)

LOSINGEST, adj. In last place, worst off, lagging behind the rest. ["losing"+ superlative]
Context and source: "CBS is being asked to pay producers more for its series because, as the losingest network, CBS cancels more of them." (Wall Street Journal 09 Feb. 1989)

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MACINTRASH, n. A Macintosh computer. Derogatory reference. [blend of Macintosh and trash ].
Context and source: "I hate doing work on these d*** Macintrashes!" (Conversation)

MALLRATS, n. Collective term used for pre-teens and teenagers for whom it is commonplace to spend large amount of time socializing and wandering through urban shopping malls [compound formed from roots mall and rat].
Context and source: "I really don't want my sister running around with that gang of mallrats." (Conversation)

MCJOB, n. A job in a service related field with low pay, low prestige and little opportunity for advancement [analogous word formed from prefix Mc- and job ].
Context and source: "...a message that I suppose irked Dag, who was bored and cranky after eight hours of working his McJob." (Generation X, pg. 5)

MEDIA LEAKS CENTER, n. The row of Porta Potties (portable public toilets) outside the courthouse. [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

MEANDERTHAL, n. An annoying individual moving slowly and aimlessly in front of another individual who is in a bit of a hurry [blend formed from meander and neanderthal ].
Context and source: "As much as he tried, Ben could do nothing to get around the meanderthal on the narrow sidewalk." (Internet)

MOTO, n. Energy for action toward a goal; motivation. [clipping of "motivation"]
Context and source: "I need some moto to go workout at the gym today."(Conversation)

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NEONPHANCY, n. A fluorescent light bulb struggling to come to life.

NETIZEN, n. A person who spends an excessive amount of time on the Internet. [blend of Internet and citizen].
Context and Source "...investors and Netizens alike were left wondering what went wrong. ( Newsweek).

NOAH'S ARKING, v.pres.part. The state of wearing pants in which the length is hysterically short (in other words, it is more than a couple of inches above the ankle.) [Metonymic coinage. Noah's Ark refers to the great biblical flood, when the world was covered by "high water". "Noah's Arking." has replaced the earlier term flooding. A related term for the too-short pants themselves was high water pants.]
Context and source: His pants are too short. He is "Noah's Arking."

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O.J.-BY-THE-SEA, n. The media center at the Santa Monica civil trial. Different from "Camp O.J.."the center at the criminal trial. [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

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PEPPIER, n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want ground pepper.

PETONIC, adj. One who is embarrassed to undress in front of a household pet.

PHONESIA, n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

PILTROL (registered name) n. A fabric/material which is resistant to pilling. [clipped compound of "pilling" and "control"]
Context and source: "These coats are made with PiltrolR which resists pilling on cuffs and waistband." (Land's End catalog)

PLUGGERS, n. Individuals leading a very nondescript and mediocre life who nonetheless always put forth their best effort and make do with the lot life has given out [noun formed form verb plug ].
Content and source: "Pluggers prefer baseball caps over fancy toupees and hair treatments." (Comic strip "Pluggers" in Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 10-13-96) "A plugger's barn or workshed is almost always larger than his actual home." (10-14-96)

POOPER-SCOOPER, n. An instrument comprised of a scooping device on a long pole used for the collection of animal waste matter [rhyming compound formed from roots poop, scoop, and suffix -er on each root].
Context and source: "I kind of dread going home for Thanksgiving. The first thing my dad's going to do is hand me the old pooper-scooper..." (Conversation)

POSTAL, adj. extremely hostile. [From the observation of a couple of postal workers going insane and killing fellow co-workers]
Context and source: Not able to cope, he got all postal.

POTUS/VPOTUS/FLOTUS, n. President of the United States, Bill Clinton; Vice President of the United States, Al Gore; and First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, respectively [acronyms].
Context and source: "Computer terminals all over the Executive Mansion flash instantly with the precise movements of POTUS, VPOTUS, and FLOTUS- code names for Bill, Hillary, and Al..." (Gentleman's Quarterly, 11-96)

PROLLY, adv. Likely to happen, possibly occur. [clipping of "probably." Assimilation of the "b"to an "l"] Context and source: "I'm prolly going to the party tonight." (Conversation)

PSYCHODRAMATIC, adj. very crazy (psychotic) and overly dramatic. [blend of psychotic and dramatic]
Context and source: "Calm down. Stop being so psychodramatic." (Conversation)

PUPKUS, n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

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RETAIL ELEPHANT, n. A business that dominates or monopolizes an area. [metaphoric association with the size of an elephant].
Context and Source: "... they are increasingly ambivalent about retail elephants lumbering into their neighborhoods. " (Newsweek 9/16/96).

ROLLING, n. A dangerous activity popular with today's delinquents which involves throwing sometimes heavy objects from the back of a moving truck or vehicle [noun formed from addition of pres. participle -ing suffix to verb roll ].
Context and source: "The youths were engaged in a dangerous but increasingly popular new activity known as rolling..." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11-29-96)

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SARCASTROPHE, n. An embarrassing and catastrophic event occurring when an individual attempts and fails to use humorous sarcasm [blend formed from sarcasm and catastrophe ].
Context and source: "Todd's failed attempt at humorous sarcasm resulted in a sarcastrophe at dinner." (Internet)

SCHECK HAPPENS - General epithet used when things go awry (in honor of criminal defense lawyer Barry Scheck). [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

SCHIZO, n. A cup of coffee made with equal parts of caffeinated and de-caffeinated coffee [clip of schizophrenia ].
Context and source: Menu list, Sundance Coffee

SEA LAWYER, n. One who attempts to shirk responsibility or blame through trivial technicalities. [This word is used chiefly in the Navy and at the Naval Academy to describe a midshipman or officer who uses technicalities and other trivial excuses to escape responsibility or punishment. Based on the popular stereotype of lawyers always arguing technicalities and trivial details coupled with the fact that the Navy is closely associated with water and the sea. ]
Context and source: "Most sea lawyers are not well respected by their classmates. (A Sense of Honor by James Webb)

SEXAHOLISM, n. A condition describing someone who is addicted to sex and alcohol. [blend of sex and alcoholism].
Source: An episode of the "Simpsons."

SLACKADEM, n. A term used by science/engineering majors at Rice University for a person majoring in humanities or social sciences due to a perceived lack of work or effort put forth by the latter [blend formed from words academ and slacker ].
Context and source: "If you'll excuse me, I've got to study for a test. Not everyone can be a slackadem and watch TV all day." (Conversation)

SLOW-SPEED CHASER, n. A celebratory drink after court is adjourned. [Lingo used by journalists covering the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial. Found in Newsweek]

SNAIL MAIL, n. The standard system of mail delivery in which letters, documents, and packages are physically transported from one location to another, in contrast to electronic mail [rhyming compound formed from roots snail and mail ].
Context and source: "More and more companies and individuals are looking to e-mail as an alternative to the traditional means of sending information and documents, snail mail." (Computers, pg. 52)

SPACE-POSSESSION DICTATORIAL, adj. Overly concerned with: one's possessions, the placement of these, and the placement of others' possessions in the vicinity of one's possessions; characterized by compulsive behavior regarding one's possessions.
Context and source: "My roommate is so space-possession dictatorial!" (Conversation)

SPEEL, n. An informal speech, usually brief and sometimes impromptu. Also spiel.
Context and source: "Now I'll give my little speel about drinking." (Conversation)

SWANGIN', v. swerving a car back and forth by rapidly turning the steering wheel (left and right ...repeatedly.)
Context and source: "I lost a wheel while swangin'." (Conversation explaning gang terminology)

SWOOSH, n. The logo of the Nike Corporation, resembling a rounded off check-mark.
Context and source: "The Nike logo is called the swoosh, it appears 32 times in the annual report..." (Conversation)

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TACTITION, n. One who studies the usage of military tactics or tactics in general, a person who works with and/or uses tactics. Also tactician. [blend of "tactic"and noun-forming morpheme "-ion"]
Context and source: "Most officers are good military tactitions." (Conversation)

TAGGIN', v. spray painting a gang's name on walls. (leaving a trademark; graffiti) [from tag- meaning to mark or a label.]
Context and source: "We were taggin' all night." (Conversation explaning gang terminology)

TELECRASTINATION, n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you're only six inches away.

TERRAFORM, v. To change a planetUs surface and atmosphere so that life as it exist on Earth is possible [compound from L. terra 'land' and form ].
Context and source: "And that's the question that will shift us to the next level of our fascination with the place, the idea that we could live there, that Mars could be terraformed." (Newsweek, 9-16-96)

TOUCH, n. An abbreviation of touchdown, the scoring of six points in American football by penetrating an opponent's end zone while in possession of the football [clip formed from touchdown].
Context and source: "Farve drops the screen pass off to Edgar Bennet and he takes it in for the touch." (FOX NFL Half-time Show, 10-20-96)

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VATOR, n. Something which lifts, an ascending platform; an elevator. [clipping of elevator]
Context and source: "Push '3' on the vator to get to the third floor." (Conversation)

VERTICALLY-CHALLENGED, adj. Short, not tall [compound formed from vertical + -ly (adv.) and challenge + ed ].
Context and source: "Don't call him short, he's vertically challenged." (Conversation)

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WAC, adj. Very unpleasant, undesirable; inappropriate, incorrect or not the way something should be or expected to be, contrary to the social norm; bad or negative in a general sense. Also wack. [clipping of wacky] Context and source: "That test was wac!" "Her outfit was totally wac!" (Conversation)

WALLIN', v. Slang. to sit or stand against a wall at a party. [derived from, of course, wall]
Context and source: I didn't dance. Just wallin'. (a book called Street Talk 2)

WORDROBE,- n. a person's vocabulary. [blend of word and wardrobe]
Context and source: "He has an extensive wordrobe." (a webpage on the Internet)

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'ZINE, n. An unprofessional periodical publication; a non-formal, home-made magazine. [clipping of magazine]
Context and source: "Until two years ago, I had no idea what a 'zine was." ( Loose Lips Sink Ships ,a 'zine)

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