Exude Coolness By Dropping One of These New Words

by Andy Wood on August 11, 2008

in Life Currency, Words

I make my living with words.  Because of that, like a great cook always on the lookout for new recipes, it’s always fun to me to hear of a new way of expressing ideas.  Sometimes it’s clever and revealing; at other times it’s just dang funny.

More than anything else, however, having an updated arsenal of new vocab can give you lots of cool points at places where people gather to talk about stuff – places like water coolers, school gyms, or church foyers.

So in a humble attempt to help you exude coolness and impressiveness in your conversations, here are a few words you can toss into your next conversation.  Of course, as with any new or strenuous activity, we at LifeVesting suggest you consult with a physician.  Or at least practice in a mirror.

The first set of these comes from a 2008 Cultural Dictionary of new words and phrases compiled by advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt:

Ever notice that angry/bored/too-cool-to-care look you get from every 12-18-year-old in the family photos?  That’s a bershon.  So just before the photographer snaps the pic, say to your teenager, “Hey, lose the bershon.”

Twitter and a host of other follow-me and blog sites are outlets for lifestreaming.  Lifestreamers post online records of their daily activities.  Plus, it sounds really impressive when somebody calls and you say, “Hey, sorry, I was just doing some lifestreaming.”  Of course, you could be compunicating instead.  This involves chatting online with a coworker when you’re in the same room with them.

Have you ever defriended anybody?  That’s what Malee Brown is about to do to me on Facebook.  Considered the ultimate snub on a social network, defriending means removing somebody from your established list of contacts.  Please, Malee, please!  I don’t think I can take it!  Oh, uh, where was I?

Okay, if you’re every taking one of those vocabulary tests and it says, “Email is to snail mail what cyberspace is to ____________,” the answer is meatspace.  Meatspace is real life – the physical world – the opposite of cyberspace or virtual reality.  You can’t just say, “We need to meet” anymore; you may have somebody’s mug appear on your computer screen.  You have to be more specific and say, “We need to have a meatspace meeting.”

Brent Hardegree, my associate, is a moofer.  That’s an acronym derived from “mobile out of office.”  Brent likes to leave the office and take his laptop to various off-campus locations to avoid the interruption of talkative co-workers.  Hmmm, I wonder who that refers to.  Anyway, I’ve been counseling with a friend who’s looking for his passion bucket.  This refers to a job or endeavor that can fulfill his sense of mission and ambition.  Have you found your passion bucket yet?

Michelle Conlin says we have a serious problem in corporate life with fauxcations.  Have you ever been guilty of this?  It’s when you take all your work stuff – your laptop, files, papers, whatever – on a vacation.  (I have no idea what she’s talking about!)  Anyway, a fauxcation is a vacation that isn’t a vacation.
How about administriviaDavid Goldberg borrowed the term.  It refers to stuff that needs to be done, but certainly isn’t the first priority.  It’s the stuff that drags us down from the more important things, and is probably the most useful word on the cool new words list.  “What ‘cha doing?”  “Administrivia, and I’m tired of it.  You?”  “Same.”

Penelope Trunk
has coined the provocative phrase mommy porn – the visual fantasy of what being a working mom could be.  She talks about the way magazines like People and others portray celebrities as people who virtually single-handedly manage a career, motherhood, and all that goes with it – disregarding the horde of nannies, cleaners, assistants, stylists, and others who make child rearing un unrealistic community project.  Now imagine standing in the grocery store checkout line while your sister picks up a mag with Angelina or somebody on the cover.  Imagine flippantly huffing, “Ha!  Another fine example of mommy porn.”  They’ll love you for it.

Shrugger isn’t a new word, but People of the Shrug is a new phrase coined by John Shoreland to describe someone who is absolutely incapable of getting excited about anything.  A shrugger’s “basic response to everything you ever tell them is to be immediately bored by it, since according to them it’s exactly like something that happened to them once, which means they already know everything you could possibly tell them about it?”  I was a shrugger once.  Once!  I had a Mama who quickly broke me of my shrugging ways.  Gives me chills to this day.

It’s fun to come up with new words or phrases of your own sometimes.  I did that Friday, describing Skip Caray as a legitution – a combination of legend and institution.  A few weeks ago I talked about passionating. Now that’s a great word!

Words can also get lost when they go from culture to culture.  When Chinese officials starting preparing for the Beijing Olympics, they began encouraging restaurant owners to change the way certain foods are listed in menus.  Some phrases just didn’t translate well.  You may read “steamed pullet.”  But in Chinese, the phrase, is “Chicken without sexual life.”  Beef and ox tripe in chili sauce was adapted from the traditional Chinese “Husband and wife’s lung slice.”  And Mapo tofu was adapted from everybody’s favorite:  “Bean curd made by a pock-marked woman.”

Let me know if you run across any cool new words.  I’m always on the lookout.  Oh, and one last warning.  Use new words like Brylcreem – a little dab’ll do ya.  Negative cool points for using two of these in one sentence.  Do that, and as Malee tells me in her “I’m doing to defriend you” way, you’re just a dork.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Malee Brown August 11, 2008 at 10:29 am

Alright, alright. I won’t defriend you. I was just passionating. 🙂 Good blog though, I love new words.

Here’s one I have heard recently, e-stalking; which is when you search for people on the internet to find out what they are up to etc. E-stalking is another way to describe online social networks like facebook or twitter. Where you can constantly update your status, and where people constantly feel the need to comment on your status and MOCK your excitment!

Andy Wood August 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm

That’s a cool new one, Mrs. Brown! I love it (and sometimes do it). I wonder if I need therapy for that or something.

kenSwitzer August 13, 2008 at 7:38 am

Andy said “I wonder if I need therapy for that or something.”

I would say “something”. 🙂
Keep in mind that I am no English scholar so please forgive me. When I read that statement I see it like, I wonder if I need therapy for that or do I need therapy for something?

I think the intended meaning was, do I need therapy or something for that.

I only point this out to learn from the master wordsmith.

kenSwitzer

Andy Wood August 13, 2008 at 8:41 am

Yeah, I think you have me on that one. Good catch!

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