New words – 23 July 2012

culturonomics noun a field of research that uses computer data-crunching techniques to examine cultural phenomena

English continues to grow – the 2011 Culturonomics paper suggested a rate of 8,500 new words a year.

[www.wsj.com (Wall Street Journal online) 16 March 2012]

Janopause noun the practice of abstaining from alcohol for the month of January

Are you a fan of the ‘Janopause’ detox? The British Liver Trust has poured cold water on the practice of giving up alcohol for January. Tell us your thoughts.

[www.guardian.co.uk 2 Jan 2012]

Marchuary noun a January or February that is so warm, it resembles March

I’m loving Marchuary. Too bad it won’t last.

[http://forums2.gardenweb.com 10 Jan 2012]

perma-camper noun a homeless person who lives in his or her vehicle, often a minivan

What you find when you talk to perma-campers is that they’re often affectionate about their vehicles. The way they see things, living in a vehicle is a way to stay in control of their lives.

[NPR: All Things Considered (news) 12 March 2012]

About new words

2 thoughts on “New words – 23 July 2012

  1. Glynn Kirkham

    “haptic” is given above as a new word. It is not a new word, i remember references to it back in the1960’s as a student when studying communication. Please investigate thoroughly before suggesting that since something has been applied to modern technology that it must be new.

    Thank you for the range of other passing terms.
    It is also the case that freezedrying dead people has been known as cryogenics. That the person who has developed an alternative word, ‘promession’ suggests that the appropriate word was not known, This is ignorance and suggests a lack of scholarship. It may be also thought of creative in coming up with a new term but I am not convinced and see it as poor command of the language.

    1. Thank you for the feedback. It is possible for a word to be considered a ‘new’ word for our purposes when it has previously been used only in a very specialised area of English and is now being used more widely, often due to developments in technology. In this case mobile devices are being developed in which the screen vibrates when a user has performed an action – this is commonly referred to as ‘haptic feedback’.

      ‘Cryogenics’ is more accurately the study of extremely low temperatures. You are possibly thinking of ‘cryopreservation’, the study of keeping organisms alive through freezing them at very low temperatures. Promession is a means of disposing of dead bodies, so clearly a different thing.

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