Our language continues to evolve. I know it’s true because the bright folks at Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary have just announced new words and their definitions to be included in their latest edition. Well, I say right on! to you righteous lexicographers in Springfield, Mass.
Many of these words have been in use for quite some time; others somewhat foreign to many of us unwashed savages. But among those making the list and their definitions.
F-bomb (noun): Used metaphorically as a euphemism. That’s a nice way of saying the four-letter word somehow slips out at the most inopportune time and is heard by an audience. Remember Biden whispering into Obama’s ear when the health care bill passed a couple of years ago, unaware his adjective use of the word was picked up by media microphones? You can hear this expression while visiting any Wal-Mart at any hour or location merely by listening in to some angry couple bickering over who should be pushing the kids in cart. Anymore, sorry to say, this commonly used term seems no more explosive than a water-soaked Fourth of July sparkler.
Energy drink (noun): A usually carbonated beverage that typically contains caffeine and other ingredients (as taurine and ginseng) intended to increase the drinker’s energy. I might be wrong, but haven’t there been a few beverages available called Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Mountain Dew for more than a few years. Granted, they aren't laced with ginseng and other natural additives; however, there’s no doubt some energy boost is realized.
Flexitarian (noun): One whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish. This is the mark of an indecisive, uncommitted person. Tofu on Tuesday and a Whopper on Wednesday. Or think of it this way: a legislator who votes against a bill he or she has authored.
Man Cave (noun): a room or space (as in a basement) designed according to the taste of the man of the house to be used as his personal area for hobbies and leisure activities. This is an area which doesn’t necessarily need a lot of gaming and video technology. It’s been around even before our ancestors were dodging saber-toothed tigers and questing for fire. It’s simply a place where a man can get away from his kids and hearing his woman say, We need to talk!
Gassed (adjective): slang: drained of energy: Spent, exhausted. Formerly a means of execution or what we use to do when we had money to afford gasoline. Today’s more appropriate application is the state of the global economy, or Lindsay Lohan’s condition when stopped by the cops.
E-reader (noun): A handheld electronic device designed to be used for reading e-books and similar material. Technology which puts the written word and multimedia in your face by a few keystrokes, which I have used, in part, to put this commentary together. It also has been linked to the murders of public libraries and the gradual demise of real news coverage in most daily newspapers.
Underwater (adjective): Having, relating to, or being a mortgage loan for which more is owed than the property securing the loan is worth. The American Dream as it plays out in the 21st Century.
Life coach (noun): An advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems. A formerly unemployed liberal arts major who now makes big bucks charging people having little of it by revealing to them startling discoveries which are obvious to most second-graders. Many of them have syndicated television and radio shows and make a killing on videos. (Note: This term also is closely associated with Flexitarian).
Game changer (noun): A newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way. It used to be the guy assigned to replace Pac-Man with Space Invaders on the Atari. In these days it means what Romney hopes to do with his campaign by selecting Tim Ryan as a running mate. More specifically, this term also signals the future of the Penn State football program.
Shovel-ready: A construction project or site: ready for the start of work. The last step before we’re lowered into the ground.