Culled from Schott's Vocab, a fave feature in the NYT:
botax, n. Proposed tax on voluntary cosmetic surgery. Dates from a 2004 New York City debate on money-raising options, revived in the current U.S. healthcare debate.
bling ring, n. Term LA Times cited earlier this month for group of mostly young women who recently burglarized homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, actress Rachel Bilson and others, accumulating a haul of more than $3 million (U.S.) worth of stolen goods prior to apprehension, at which point it was determined that the bandits had used celebrity websites to determine addresses of victims.
credit munch, n. 1. Recession-induced comfort food consumption. A U.K. Daily Express article this year reported on a report by TheChemist.co.uk. that claimed "Britons have piled on 20 million stone in a year trying to 'comfort eat' their way through the recession." 2. Trend in which people take home-prepared lunches to work in tough economic times.
delitionist, n. Wikipedia editor eager to excise new or controversial entries. Rationale: Wikipedia is not a junkyard. Ant. Inclusionist. More articles = more readers = more volunteer editor/readers to improve on entries.
doom loop, n. Unvirtuous circle. Eg. Banks take ever-greater risks to cover losses from previous bad bets, triggering state bailout, encouraging lenders to make still riskier bets knowing state will bail them out. Credited to senior Bank of England official Andy Haldane. Var. moral hazard. The safer one is made to feel, the more one feels comfortable engaging in risky behaviour. Also Volvo effect, drivers more apt to take chances with vehicle renowned for safety features.
hedonometer, n. Method of determining communal happiness by tracking key word usage online, particularly among bloggers and Twitterers. Devised by Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth, researchers at the University of Vermont. A proliferation of words including "proud," "triumphant," "paradise" and "pancakes" in the blogosphere indicates a generally happy attitude. The researchers found a high number of words indicating unhappiness among teens, given to using the words "sick," "hate," "stupid," "sad," "depressed," "bored," "lonely," "mad" and "fat." The blogosphere was happiest in four years on last U.S. election day, when the word "proud" spiked. The day of Michael Jackson's death was one of the saddest.
Ji-hobbyist, n. A person seeking out "jihadi" content, almost always online, sometimes radicalizing themselves without benefit of personal contact with members of an extremist or terrorist group. In a November article on accused Fort Hood mass murderer Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the New York Times, noting Hasan's obsession with jihadist Web content, from discussion forums to YouTube videos, said "The trend of self-radicalization, which leaders and allies of Al Qaeda have encouraged with a steady stream of inflammatory messages on the Web, is gaining momentum," according to a Georgetown University professor, Bruce Hoffman, who studies terrorism. Self-radicalization is hardly a new phenomenon - the Ku Klux Klan, Weather Underground ("Weathermen") and Black Panthers are all-too-familiar examples. Nor is home-grown terrorism. The FLQ, Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City tragedy, and the attacks earlier this decade on London public transit assets were all conduct of self-radicalized, homegrown terrorists.
Maori edge, n. Attributes of New Zealand aboriginal culture that provide an entrepreneurial edge, cited recently by New Zealand Minister of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples. These include resilence born of adversity, a highly evolved trading culture, a modesty that inclines Maori businesspeople to under-promise and over-deliver, emphasis on long-term relationships, integration with other cultures while retaining their own, and a tradition of looking past preconceived but irrelevant notions to get to the heart of the matter.
meformer, n. Quasi-antonym for "informer," a Twitterer who tweets mostly about himself or herself. A recent Rutgers survey finds this to be the case in four of five tweets. Lest this be mistaken for narcissism, Tweeting perhaps lends itself more to updates on one's own activities, whereabouts and feelings than to passing along information, given the intimacy and brevity of the medium. The meformer generally is anticipating a reply in kind, similarly sender-focused. Were that not the case, one expects there'd be a good deal less Twittering.
newton, n. A bright idea that comes out of nowhere. Well-known eponyms include "silhouette," from French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette; and "leotard," from acrobat Jules Leotard.
palinize, v. 1. Vilify as a female twit. 2. Stage-manage, shield from harsh media exposure. Caroline Kennedy, when she was under consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, was said by media commentators to have been "palinized," hidden from view. 3. Lower your expectations. At a 2008 Dem fundraiser, Bruce Springsteen warned the audience not to expect him at his best "Palinize your expectations," he said. Var. Palinista, Sarah Palin supporter.
retrosexual, n. Someone who has rekindled a past relationship using Facebook or other social-networking sites. "Retrosexual" until recently was the antonym to "metrosexual," and I can see it changing again, to, say, people adhering to, or returning to, "retro" sexual mores including chivalrous conduct including strict monogamy. And maybe even lengthy courtships with chaperones. Paid chaperones, that would help the economy.
Tweet What You Eat, v. Colloquially, "twye," a dieter's effort to record everyone one eats and drinks. There is a Tweeter app, the "CrowdCal system," that informs dieting diarists of the calorie count of what they've logged. A healthy thing, as far as it goes - doctors for years have advised patients with disorders relating to food to assiduously note, for a week or month, absolutely everything they ingest, on the usually correct assumption the patient will be surprised at how frequently he or she is noshing on seemingly innocuous pastries and Oh Henry bars. But really, the surest way of determining the efficacy of a diet, or one's genuine commitment to losing weight, is that fixture of your bathroom called the scales. "Twye" is not to be confused with "twee," a term popular with book and magazine editors in the 1980s for language and conduct judged to be a bit precious.
zombie household, n. Residence whose owner is perilously indebted and in danger of losing the property.