2012 in Review—New Words for the Year
When the technology boom started happening, there were so many new words to learn. Even terms like "software" and "fax" were, at one time, strange new words. Now, many of those words are so commonplace, it's hard to believe they confounded us when we first heard them.
I don't remember a time prior to the techno-boom when so many words were added with such regularity.
Here is a partial list of some of the new words and phrases we added over the past year. No doubt, that by mid 2013, a great many of these will be archaic.
DOGA Yoga with a dog.
DOX To find and release all available information about a person or organization, usually for the purpose of exposing their identities or secrets. “Dox” is a longstanding shortening of “documents” or “to document,” especially in technology industries. In 2012, the high-profile Reddit user Violentacrez was doxed by Adrian Chen at Gawker to expose questionable behavior.
FISCAL CLIFF The tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect Jan. 1 if Congress does not pass legislation to block them. One worry is that a plunge would stall or reverse the nation’s climb out of the recession.
FRACKING Hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas or oil from shale formations. Although the word is not new, it became commonplace as the extraction practice grew more widespread, producing an abundance of natural gas but also raising concerns about possible environmental and health risks.
FRANKENSTORM The storm that hit the East Coast in October, a few days before Halloween.
GANGNAM STYLE The manner and attitude ascribed to the affluent Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea. This term came to the attention of the world when the Korean pop star PSY released the song and video “Gangnam Style.” His signature “galloping pony ride” dance was the macarena of 2012.
HIGGS BOSON An atomic particle whose existence was confirmed in July by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva.
MAN CAMP A temporary housing facility for oil workers.
MIKE DROP OR DROP THE MIKE Literally, to drop a microphone on the floor in a showy way when finished with speaking or singing, especially after an outstanding performance. Figuratively, to quit a job or undertaking after an outstanding performance, especially when failure was predicted.
MOOC An acronym for a massive open online course, an online class that allows students from anywhere to view lectures and receive instruction, usually for free.
NOMOPHOBIA Fear of losing or forgetting one’s mobile phone, or of being outside of the phone’s signal area. From no more (phone|phobia).
N.P.Z. An abbreviation for “no power zone,” referring to the parts of New York City that lost electricity as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
POLL TRUTHER Someone who refused to believe poll numbers or statistical predictions that President Obama had a very strong probability of winning a second term.
SNOR’EASTERCANE A nickname for the October storm that struck the East Coast. Blended from the words “snow,” “nor’easter” and “hurricane.”
SOPO An acronym for south of power, the area of downtown Manhattan that was without electricity after Hurricane Sandy.
SUPER PAC A political action committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money for ads on behalf of political candidates, as long as it does not coordinate its activities with the candidates or donate directly to them, their campaigns or political parties.
SUPERSTORM Yet another name for the massive storm that pummeled the East Coast in October.
SWAG A stylish and confident demeanor or attitude. A shortening of “swagger.” This term has been used in recent years but became huge this summer following its repeated use in pop songs and by large numbers of (mainly) young men. Its popularity has since fallen.
UNSKEW To adjust data to suit one’s beliefs or a desired outcome. The verb evolved from the name of the Web site unskewedpolls.com, which adjusted polling findings to reflect what the results would look like if more Republicans had been questioned.
UNWINDULAXIN Unwinding, chilling out, relaxing. Used on an episode of the TV sitcom “30 Rock.”
WAITRESS MOM A poor, white working mother without a college education. The term first rose to prominence among political demographers and marketers in the 2010 midterm elections. Its usage increased sharply in October around the presidential debates.
YOLO An acronym for “You Only Live Once.” Used as an interjection when someone is considering doing something risky or ill-advised. The expression took off this year after the hip-hop star Drake’s song “The Motto” became a hit in 2011.
Then, there are new "slang" words:
Bezzie: denoting a person’s best or closest friend
Boyf: a person’s boyfriend
First World problem: a relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world):
Precycling: the practice of seeking to reduce consumer waste by buying unpackaged, reusable, or recyclable products, using one’s own bags, etc
Flame War: a lengthy exchange of angry or abusive messages between users of an Internet message board or forum
Scratchiti: graffiti that is scratched or etched into a wall or other surface in a public place, rather than drawn or sprayed on
Hobo Bag: a woman’s large shoulder bag with a soft body that forms a characteristic curve between the two ends of the strap.
Tweeps: a person’s followers on the social networking site Twitter.