trends

Word trends, like food trends, are a point of interest in the land of change that language (and food) reside in. Food trends drive me a little mad, because they don’t do justice to the true value of food; they trivialize it, make it a commodity…but they do put the fear in neophobes, which I like. Just as a side note, I dearly hope the nose-to-tail and stem-to-root trends will stick around. There’s more to food than just the pretty bits.

I just cancelled my subscription to urban dictionary’s word a day. I originally subscribed because I was interested in seeing what sorts of word trends those inventive teenagers and twenty-somethings would generate; what fit in with their current state of mind and world view (self-absorption is another matter entirely). I was growing so tired of all the wretched, base utterances about food abuse, sex, deceit, etc that I had to cancel. Which leaves me stuck. I very much like Anu Garg’s A Word a Day, but the words don’t have too much practical application, unless you read masses, or work in the kind of institution where it may help to throw such words out there to sound clever. Alas, why don’t we have a verb for this? Maybe we do. Google doesn’t know. But we do it all the time! We should have a verb for it. I like wordasterate (-aster being a negative suffix, like poetaster), but it’s awfully clumsy sounding. Word abuse doesn’t quite explain the social context, which I think needs to be included. Does precise, beloved German have such a word for this phenomenon?

I would just love a dictionary of neologisms across age boundaries. The OED is great, but it’s only every three months. I suppose I should be happy with this. I’m too demanding. I like these three words right now, of my own coinage. Please remember simultaneous coinage is possible.

shmotki pl. n.: useless consumer goods that people buy to fill the void in their 9-5 lives. (ety. Russian. In Russian it is somewhat neutral/pejorative, but in English, because of our phonetic bias, it sounds derisive).

sexetarianism n. the practice of having only sexual relations. NB: UD defines it differently.

theory-practice gap n. The difference between what one believes or knows and what one actually does. NB: this term already exists in the workplace. I would just like to popularize it as a neutral alternative to hypocrisy. We all have a theory-practice gap, after all, but the questions are: how aware of it are you? how big is it? and what are you doing to narrow it? Dime-store psychology is a hobby of mine.

To coin is the act of giving birth to a thought, a perspective. Whether or not your word will actually blossom is another matter entirely.

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