English Circle Hamm:
Changing English: Vocabulary

New Words and Phrases in English
From A to Z

address the problem = tackle the problem
aka = alias, also known as
bear pit = creative area at work where a group of
      people can meet
big time = very much
blamestorm = version of brainstorming, where you get
      together to decide who is to blame for a disaster

blockhead, meathead = stupid
bottom fishing = buying stocks when they are cheap
breadhead = s.o. who likes money
breathalyser [bri] / breathalyzer [am.] = equipment
      to analyse[analyze] your breath (for alcohol)
brunch = breakfast + lunch
camcorder = camera + recorder
chick-flick = film designed to appeal to women
chill-out spaces = places at work where people can relax
chunnel = channel + tunnel 
contactee = someone who claims to have been
by alien beings from space
cool = trendy (as in Cool Britannia)
customize [customise] = to adapt a car (in the factory)
       to a customer's specifications
dead-cat bounce = when after a crash a stock rises
       and encourages "suckers" to buy
digiterati = people who only communicate
       via digital media

Dinky = Double Income No Kids Yet
docusoap = documentary filmed like a soap opera
downdate = to seek a partner below one's expectations,
       because it's just so difficult
       to form a relationship these days

downshifting = change to a less pressured and less
       highly paid career
downsizing = getting rid of employees
first-time buyer = young person buying their first home
follically challenged = PC for bald
geek = boring person with only one boring interest in life
geekspeak = computer jargon
glitch = technical hitch (difficulty to be overcome)
glitterati = celebrities who are seen at all the most trendy places
glitzy = ostentatious, showy
going postal = to be total stressed out (reference to US postal
      employees who have snapped and
      gone on shooting rampages)

go-peds = motorised scooters
grow the business = make the business grow 
grunge = raucous rock music, baggy clothes
GSOH = good sense of humour
hot-desking = several people sharing the same work space
hotelling = to book a workspace for a short time
icon = someone to be looked up to, a figure to be
       respected and
imitated and almost idolised
irritainment = entertainment and media shows that are
but that you find yourself unable to switch off
It all went pear-shaped = domestic disaster, collapse
       of business,
breakdown of a relationship, etc.
It's the flavour of the month = it's very popular right now
journobabble = journalist + babble
last-time buyer = elderly person looking
       for sheltered housing

literati =intellectual types who read all the classics
       and go to the theatre and opera
loser magnet = sort of person who ends up talking only
       to the boring people at parties
LTR = long-term relationship
Martian mail = e-mail that arrives months after it was sent
       (as if it had been routed via the planet Mars)
media savvy = to know how to handle the media
       and understand it

mouse potato = online computer addict
N/S = non-smoker
netiquette = rules for polite behaviour followed by people
sending messages over the Internet.
observee = a teacher who is being observed while teaching
off-message = politicians giving opinions deviating from
       the party
ohnosecond = that tiny fraction of time in which you realise
        you've just made a big mistake
PA = photo appreciated
PC = Political Correctness (voluntary censorship of our
to avoid offending s.o.)
petrolhead = s.o. who is crazy about fast cars
portfolio career = people with short-term contracts who carry
        their "career" from job to job
pot-head, acid-heads = drug-users
prebuttals = pre + rebuttals (fending off possible criticism
pre-sumer = children following the fashions, buying fashion
and accessories
psychobabble = language that sounds scientific but is
annoying, that some people use when
about their
emotional problems
quiet rooms = rooms which contain only a table
        and a few chairs

quitterati = people constantly talking about how they have
       given up drink, drugs, sex, tea, coffee, chocolate, etc.
saddo = a pathetic figure who should get a life
saunasium = gym which also offers a sauna
Sinbad = Single Income No Boyfriend
      (absolutely desperate)
snail mail = traditional postal service
spin doctor = public relations spokesperson
      who manipulates the media
surfing the Net = looking at different websites
suss out = to investigate
toosh = shatoosh shawl made from the fur of the chiru,
      an Tibetan antelope
tweenager = girls of 7 to 10 years of age
user-friendly = easy to operate or understand
War Room = a very competitive, creative space at work
weirdo = a strange, weird person
When push comes to shove = If we really have to,
        in the last resort

whinge = whine or complain
WLTM = would like to meet
your call = your decision
your take on this = your idea about this
Collected by Bernhard Tiben, 2000

Clare West: Geeks, Glitches and Glitterati – Changing English,
Praxis des neusprachlichen Unterrichts 4/00, S. 380 ff.
Ian Dunlop: New Word for Old, Praxis ... 4/01, S. 376 ff.

Elizabeth Knowles, Julia Elliott (Eds.), The Oxford Dictionary of New Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997
Judy Pearsall (Ed.), The New Oxford Dictionary of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
David Rowan.: Glossary for the 1990s. London: Prion, 1998

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