Weird and wonderful new words (II)

Noam Chomsky, the father of modern linguistics said: “Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation”.

This week’s blog entry embraces the unexpected ways in which languages are changing and evolving. In the next few lines, we are going to tackle some more wonderful new words that the English language users have created or welcomed into their vocabulary.

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If you are one of those people for whom Christmas is the highlight of the year, here’s a word you shouldn’t live without:  houseblinging – decorating the exterior of a house with a large amount of Christmas lights. This word first appeared in 2004 as a way of describing extravagantly decorated houses and it derives from bling bling, an expression referring to large pieces of expensive, eye-catching jewellery, thought to have originated from the Jamaican slang for the imaginary ‘sound’ produced in animated cartoons when light reflects off a diamond.

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Our current context, the Covid pandemic has brought to light a scary word: infodemic. This term defines an excessive amount of information about a problem, which is sometimes incorrect and can have a negative effect on finding a solution. Believe it or not, the concept of an infodemic is nothing new – even as far back as the Middle Ages and the devastation of the Black Death, there’s evidence for a parallel situation of misinformation and fake news. However, the term infodemic was coined in 2003, in relation to the SARS outbreak and gained popularity in 2020. So, whether you watch the news or not, this is a great word to add to your pocket dictionary.

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Our next term send us to Hollywood. On 23rd May 2005, actor Tom Cruise gave a completely unexpected display of frenetic behaviour on a US talk show, and in doing so, unwittingly gave birth to a new idiom in the English language, to jump the couch. So, whenever people around you display a strange, energetic behavior, that may suggest they are out of control, you could easily tell them to “stop jumping the couch” and cool down.

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Are you always wondering what new dishes to introduce to your friends and family members? Take a leaf out of the kangatarians’ diet. But first you should know that a kangatarian is someone whose only meat of choice is kangaroo meat.

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Our last weird and wonderful word is lappy, a pet name for a laptop. With the growing popularity of working from home, no wonder such word needed to be invented!

So, while waiting for the annual houseblinging season to begin, grab your lappies, ignore the infodemics because they’re sure to make you jump the couch and do a bit of research on the kangatarian diet!


Article by Lavinia Marcu


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