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The New Words We Need Now

Lenore Skenazy on

In 1879, when dropout-turned-linguistic genius James Murray was assembling the Oxford English Dictionary, he asked citizens to send him words he might have missed.

In a dictionary definition of "better late than never-ism," here you go, James:

T'weed: Cannabis used in a legal, professorial or corporate setting.

Eloncholy: To feel sad after offering to buy something you don't really want.

Tom and Jerrymandering: Zoning laws applied in such a way as to destroy the other party, while affecting an air of goofy innocence.

OK-Pop: "OK, boomer" for aged-out Korean pop stars.


Microboasting: Small boasts that have a big impact, e.g., "I didn't have enough to buy a car in 2012, so I bought Bitcoin."

Taxiomatic: Something that is always true in taxis, e.g., the air-conditioning will not reach the back seat; the driver will be harder working and lower paid than you, causing quiet guilt; that guilt will be assuaged and in fact reversed when the driver speeds you over to 80th St. after mishearing "18th St.," etc.

Phonatical: The state of being unable to resist looking at one's phone seconds after putting it away, often directly after ascertaining no one has texted, called, emailed, WhatsApped or contacted you on any media platform about anything at all.

Postulate: To form a rabidly held conviction on either side of the political spectrum, based solely on the editorials in the New York or Washington Post.


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