The Byrne Blog

John Byrne Communicating About Communications

One thing of value I find in blogs I follow are quick hits and/or recurring features.  So, in a blog about communications, what better regular feature than sharing new words that I’ve come across — new to me, that is.  Here are three:

Hipsterical.  Found this while perusing the comments in an interview with a woman who says that the Facebook era is an “anomaly.”  Funny enough, she works for Microsoft as a researcher who is primarily concerned with the online habits of teenagers.  Oh, and her name is danah boyd.  No, that’s not a typo.  She chooses not to capitalize the first letters in her name.  Do you get the meaning of the new word yet?  I thought so.  You can read the interview here.

Listicle.  Again with the comments.  My friend Ann Lee Gibson used this new word in response to a posting on Facebook (soon disappearing, apparently).  She didn’t use it in a complimentary way when discussing the downward spiral of journalism, and journalists in particular.  It means an article that is basically a list, without any real reporting.  For example:  “Ten Ways to Fight Fat!” or “Top Five Ways to Get Your Blog More Followers!”  Checking out this word on Wikipedia, as good a place as any, I discovered that it was added way back on Valentine’s Day in 2009.  Comment (again!) of the first poster:  “Surprised  we didn’t have it already!”  That made me feel real smart.

Portmanteau.  What “listicle” is, dontchaknow.  Back in the day, I probably would have described listicle as a “made-up word” and been done with that.  But someone had the bright idea to name these word mashups after a style of luggage that has two compartments that itself was named by some French guy who compounded the words for carry (porter) and coat (manteau).  Those French, always on the leading edge of things…  or ledge, if you will.

That’s all for today — more words next time.  Please feel free to share other new words you’ve come across in your daily travels.  It’s fun to learn new things!

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