I love learning the new words and phrases that make the Oxford Dictionary radar, although I really don’t like the website-I believe it’s a site loaded with malware and hacker ability to destroy my computer-but I digress.
New words are usually funny and acurate in the depiction of the evolution of our lives. Some of them are annoying and, thankfully short-lived, but others are creative and have, I hope, a long and useful life in our lexicon.
Here are the top ten.
10. Al desko. Sad desk salads, soups surreptiously slurped while on conference calls, and sandwiches half-eaten because of the nervous energy supplied by a looming deadline all have an overarching term to describe them. That it’s a play on “al fresco,” used to refer to dining out of doors, only makes it more perfectly cruel.
9. Shiny bum. An Australian term for an office worker. It sounds pre-emptively derisive, which is likely intentional.
8. Economic man. “A hypothetical person who behaves in exact accordance with their rational self-interest” — or, the “shiny bum” after he got his first promotion or two.
7. WRT. One of the more pleasant abbreviations to make the list, although Oxford’s version swaps in “reference” for a term also known as “with regard to.”
6. Five-second rule. The idea that food dropped on the floor for less than five seconds escapes contamination is probably a myth, but who among us has never justified a quick pickup with it in mind?
5. The ant’s pants. Sure, ants in a human’s pants might not be the best thing. But if an ant is wearing pants, it’s probably a fairly big specimen, as this Australian term referring to a particularly great person implies.
4. Misery index. Those short “i” sounds make this shorthand term for a country’s inflation and unemployment rates sound much more pleasant than its definition implies.
3. Mahoosive. Lengthen the “oo” in the middle according to how large the object you’re describing might be.
2. Crony capitalism. Bad practice, good term — this phrase refers to economic systems where business honchos and government officials are in cahoots.
1. Carne asada. This spanish term for marinated, grilled steak tops the list because taco time is all the time. The race for best food-related term was a close call between this and “arancini,” the Italian word for fried rice balls.