New words to grow accustomed to

Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm

BABBLING BROOKS column–Express Editor Kim Brooks

Just a few weeks ago, Merriam-Webster Dictionary added a slew of new words to its numerous defined terms. Some may surprise you; some are common vernacular used in every day conversations; some of the new terms I had to actually look up myself.

F-bomb: “used metaphorically as a euphemism.” The term refers to an adult curse word that starts with the latter “f” and is used without actually having to say the word itself.

Funny that Webster Dictionary felt the need to add this term to its published and online dictionary. You’ll find as each year passes, Webster adds more and more commonplace terms used in society.

Flexitarian: “one whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish.” This word is a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” You can also refer to a flexitarian as a semi-vegetarian. Who knew there was such a thing? Either you are or you are not a vegetarian right?

Obesogenic: “promoting excessive weight gain; producing obesity.” I didn’t know there was such a thing. This term is made up of the words “obese” and “genetics.”

As if I were in the midst of an intense spelling bee, I decided to look this term up to see how it might be used in a sentence: “American society has become obesogenic according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” True statement.

Life coach: an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems.”

People get a life coach for a wide variety of reasons: financial issues, relationship problems, personal life issues, professional career problems, etc.

Energy drink: “a usually carbonated beverage that typically contains caffeine and other ingredients (as taurine and ginseng) intended to increase the drinker’s energy.”

We all know what energy drinks are, for example: Red Bull, Monster, 5-Hour Energy, Full Throttle, Pepsi Max, and, yes, even Mountain Dew. (I’ve drank so many Mt. Dews that I fear they no longer have an effect on me where the caffeine is concerned. I do not get an energy boost.)

Mash-up: “something created by combining elements from two or more sources.” For example, a mash-up might be a musical blend of country music and hip hop. After looking up several examples of a mash-up, it appears the term is commonly used when discussing music.

Aha moment: “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.” This term may have been around for who knows how long, but it was made famous by Oprah Winfrey, famed talk show host.

Believe it or not, Oprah’s production company Harpo Productions filed a lawsuit against the insurance company Mutual of Omaha as far as trademarking the term “aha moment.” Oprah used the saying in almost every show when she was on the air, referring to a guest who had experienced a revelation while on her show. Mutual of Omaha uses the term in their slogan “Proud sponsor of life’s aha moments.”

I think I’ll trademark my Express column “Babbling Brooks.”

Cloud computing:the practice of storing regularly used computer data on multiple servers that can be accessed through the Internet.”

Earworm: “a song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind.”

Have no fear; this is not a medical condition, as I first thought. When I discovered it was a song that gets stuck in your head (who knew there was a word for this disease), I did some searching to find out more about this impediment. According to, the top 10 earworms that get stuck in the average student’s head include: “It’s a Small World After All,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Whoop, There It Is,” “YMCA,” “Mission Impossible” theme, “Gimmie a Break…” (Kit-Kat candy bar jingle), “We Will Rock You,” “Who Let the Dogs Out,” Chilie’s “Baby Back Ribs” jingle, and “other.” Now that you have all of these earworms in your head, seek medical help immediately.

Man cave: “a room or space (as in a basement) designed according to the taste of the man of the house to be used as his personal area for hobbies and leisure activities.” Enough said; self-explanatory.

Bucket list: “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.”

The term became popular by the movie by the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

Earlier this year, the Express did a special feature on Nancy Felton from Monticello who watched the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City, something she was able to cross off on her bucket list.

Two words, common terms, I was surprised to see in the Webster Dictionary were “Google” and “Tweet.” Tweet is a post made on Twitter. Google is the obvious online search engine.

Facebook has not yet made its debut into the holy grail of dictionaries, but perhaps next year.