Carbon date your language: 2000s

Carbon date your language: 2000s

Youth culture, the coining process of so much vocabulary with which to confound the interpretations of older generations, created chavs, bling, bovvered and the cuddle puddle (for a heap of exhausted ravers) and fogging for children showing minimal reaction to or agreeing with the taunts of a bully.  

Politics created the glass ball environment (US intelligence jargon) of the weather in Iraq being often conducive to collecting images from above and, with the media’s help, goldfishing for one politician talking inaudibly in an interview (you can see his lips move but only hear the reporter’s words) and doughnuting for a carefully created seating plan which places an ideal group of MPs (women, photogenic, ethnic minority etc.) around a leader for the ideal television shot.

Office jargon, another major source of neologisms, gave us chair plug: someone who sits in a meeting but contributes nothing and fox hole: the area beneath desk where telephone calls can take place peacefully.

The computer revolution brought blogs, podcasting, mashups, wiki, Facebook and Twitter and entertainment spawned meh (US slang from “The Simpsons”) meaning boring, apathetic or unimpressive.

Social habits created smirting for the flirting between people who are smoking cigarettes outside a no-smoking office, pub, etc., the urbeach (an urban beach from a trend which begun with the Paris Plage in 2002), flairing: the action of bartenders of balancing, catching, flipping, spinning or throwing with finesse and style, public bakists for young couples who insist on french-kissing passionately in front of everybody and not caring and hunter-ditherer for a man who wavers with regard to commitment in a relationship.

New family structures created the goose father who lives alone having sent his spouse and children to a foreign country to learn English or do some other form of advanced study and the ant hill family for the trend whereby children move back in with their parents so that all work together towards group financial goals.

Fashion brought trout pout, a lively translation for the effects of collagen injections that produce prominent, comically oversized lips resembling those of a dead fish and menoporsche for the phenomenon of middle-aged men attempting to recapture their lost youth by buying an expensive sports car.

Out in the countryside came witches’ knickers (shopping bags caught in trees, and flapping in the wind) and cowpat roulette: a game from Somerset in which villagers bet on which plot of land will be the first to receive a cow’s calling card.

Emma Tidey
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