2011-09-22 / Editorial

‘New’ words everywhere...woot! woot!

Off the Record By Jim Grisso

Retweet, woot, schmick, mani-pedi,

ZOMG!, fist bump.

Do you understand what I’m expressing to you? If not, you better get with the program of the 21st century and go out and buy a new dictionary. The hemisphere? Forget about it! Come with me into the Twittersphere (another new word).

Having been employed as a newspaper guy for 50 years, I’ve always had a fascination, even passion, for words. However, I must opine some of the new words that just came out on the dictionary market aren’t very schmick. They’ll never get a fist bump from this newspaper hack.

Merriman-Webster Collegiate and Concise Oxford English dictionaries recently exposed some new kids on the block. Oxford went to the trouble to select its new words from a database of more than two billion words from contemporary web sites and texts “to prove their ubiquity,” as the editors described the process.

Ubiquity: that’s an old, but interesting, word. Know what it means? According to my 50-yearold tattered and torn thesaurus: “omnipresence, all-presence, infinity, everywhereness.” In other words, these new words are inescapable. They’re EVERYWHERE!

Ready to get smart(er)?

-- Retweet: No, we’re not talking about someone who can’t enunciate the letter “r”, as in retreat. It means: repost a tweet, as on twitter.

-- Woot: Here’s that problem with the “r” again, but this time it’s a close call. It means: expression of elation or triumph, yea, go team -- as in root.

-- Schmick: No, not schmuck! It means: smart or stylish.

-- Mani-pedi: A man who gets mad over petty things? What are you, crazy! It means: a beauty treatment, presumably for the female gender, comprising both a manicure and pedicure.

-- ZOMG!: Sounds like a noise word right out of Batman and Robin. It means: a sarcastic comment on a electronic messaging board in response to someone who is over-enthusiastic or posts dumb things.

-- Fist bump: Call it a knuckle knocker, apple knocker, whatever. It became famous when President Obama and First Lady Michelle bumped fists when he accepted the nomination for prez in 2008. It means: to bang fists together. One theory is the fist bump prevents the spread of germs, thus no more old-fashioned handshakes or high fives.

-- Bankster: Rhymes with gangster. It means: a member of the banking industry who is seen as a profiteer or is dishonest. Are you telling me there are bankers out there we can’t trust?

-- Bridezilla: No relationship to Godzilla, as far as I know. I was curious about the Zilla part, so I checked and found out that the name Zilla is Hebrew in origin and means “shadow.” Bridezilla means: a woman whose behavior in planning her wedding is obsessive and intolerably demanding. That’s not very schmick like, now, is it?

-- Man cave: What else? It means: a room or part of the house regarded as a refuge for the man of the house. I love it! I love it! I love it!

-- Unfollow: Must relate to Zilla and the “shadow” thing. It means: a request to stop following me on social networking sites. Doesn’t apply to me. I don’t do social networking.

-- Helicopter parent: I guess it applies to parents who buzz around their kids bugging them all the time. It means: parents who are overly involved in the lives of their children.

-- Parkour: Saving the best for last. It means: Influencing one’s thought processes by enhancing self-confidence and critical thinking skills. Purpose of the discipline is to teach participants how to move their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and jumping over environment obstacles. Got it?

Thoroughly exhausted, I think I’ll call it a night and retweet to the bedroom; woot for my favorite team tomorrow; put on something schmick; send my wife off for a mani-pedi; ZOMG! a few guys ; fist bump some people after another Michigan Maize & Blue victory; then crawl back into my man cave.

Jim Grisso was publisher of the Gaylord Herald Times for 40 years before his retirement in December 2007. He and his wife Sue currently reside on the South Branch of the AuSable River near Roscommon. He can be contacted at jgoblue@live.com.

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