wordbirds

A lexicon of neologisms for the 21st century. Updated weekly. Need a word minted? Ask the wordbird. (And buy the BOOK to see 150 wordbirds you won't find anywhere else...)

CROTCH FROCK

(N.) ‘krotch-frok A prideless fashion popular among college-age women this decade—a short dress that barely stretches to cover the private parts. Often worn with stripper heels. Usage: On Saturday night in New Haven, women teetered across York Street in tight dresses that barely covered their backsides. They looked like cross-dressers or exotic dancers, but in fact they were ordinary undergraduates, wearing crotch frocks simply because that was “in”.

WALKALOGUE

(N.) ‘wok-a-log  A book or essay about an adventurous journey conducted on foot—like Rory Stewart’s “The Places In Between,” Patrick Leigh  Fermor’s “A Time of Gifts,” or Cheryl Strayed ‘s “Wild.” Usage: As he clocked his daily hour on the treadmill, Bennet listened to walkalogues on Audible—like Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods,” or Thoreau’s “Walking,” to trick himself into feeling like he was going somewhere, not standing in place.

SUPERSALARY

(N.) 'soo-pur-'sal-uh-ree  An outrageously high salary paid to CEOs, middle managers, civil servants or assorted lucky others, which dwarfs the microsalaries going to most workers. (A phenomenon identified by the French economist Thomas Piketty.)  Usage: A new gilded age arose in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as businesses allotted supersalaries and special privileges to a select few, while the wages and benefits of the majority stagnated or sank.

CHRONICRISIS

(N.) ‘kraw-nih-‘kry-sis  A calamitous situation that takes over the news, crowding out other topics for weeks, months, or years—like the Iran Hostage Crisis, the vanishing of flight MH370, or furious partisan bickering. Also may be used as (adj.), referring to the mindset. Usage: What was happening with education, immigration, healthcare, and the arts? Who knew? Chronicrisis coverage of ratings-boosting spats over these issues drowned out any real news.

—§For other useful new coinages, check out the Wordbirds book—§

BLURSDAY

(N.) 'blerz-day A day on which you wake convinced that it is a different day than the one it actually is. Usage: Taylor woke up, showered, got coffee, got dressed, and headed to work. it wasn’t til he was on the subway and started wondering why the car was almost empty that he realized his mistake. It was Sunday, not Monday, which meant for him it was a blursday. 

—§For other useful new coinages, check out the Wordbirds book—§

CRINGECRAWL

(N.) 'krindzh-krawl  The embarrassing sentences you forgot to erase at the end of an email after you’d signed off, which show the recipient your early drafts of the email, or worse, compromising conversations with others from an earlier stage of the e-volley. Usage: Marek carefully crafted a breezy email to Denise, but after sending it, discovered to his horror that he hadn’t deleted the cringecrawl, and she would see all of his fumbled attempts to sound suave.

—§For other useful new coinages, check out the Wordbirds book—§

EXERSKIVING

N.  ‘ex-er-sky-ving  Dressing up in gym clothes, intending to work out, but not quite managing it. (Exerskiving can look like exercising, but does little to boost the heart rate.) Derived from exercise + skive (Brit): to be lazy or to avoid work. Also (v.) exerskiveUsage: Claudia put on her yoga outfit and headed to the Bikram studio, but when she got outside, it was so cold that she exerskived instead, jog-walking to a pastry shop and getting a cocoa and a muffin.

§-An egret’s plume to Emily and Carly for the concept. Note: This word went up May 10, 2009. It appears with this illustration in the Wordbirds book.image

Malacca Triangle

(N.) ma-‘lok-ka ‘try-an-gul  The strait between the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra where flight MH370 may have disappeared, prompting memories of the so-called Bermuda Triangle, where many planes mysteriously vanished long ago. Usage: Was it true that Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had veered off course into the Strait of Malacca? Four days after the plane’s disappearance, no sign of it had emerged, leading some spooked observers to wonder if a Malacca Triangle effect was at work.

—§For other timely new coinages, check out the Wordbirds book—§

NETSHIRKING

(n.) 'net-shur-king Falling behind in work because you have attended too many work-related social events in a row, and (typically) downed too many free, unwanted drinks, resulting in groggy mornings-after. Also (v.) Netshirk. Usage: "How’s the hybrid design going?" "Actually, I’m a little behind. Last week was the auto show, and what with all the netshirking, I kind of lost momentum."

—§For other useful new coinages, check out the Wordbirds book—§

STAYFREE STUMBLES

(n. phrase) ‘stay-free ‘stum-bulz  Spate of clumsiness that besets women at times of hormonal imbalance. Usage: Lena knocked a cone of wet coffee grounds off the counter, then hit her head on the cabinet door as she tried to stop it from falling. When she slammed the cupboard door, all the spice jars skittered off the under-shelf. This could mean only one thing, she realized: the Stayfree stumbles were upon her.

§ From the “Domestic Life” chapter of the Wordbirds book of contemporary coinages—§