Word Spy
The Word Lover’s Guide to New Words

This week's hodgepodge includes insulting musical genres, a salute to anagrams, and enough links to lexical goodies to ensure that you get no work done today.

Words Spied

Here are some terms that I came across last week but didn't add to Word Spy:

bro country n. Country music performed by, or that appeals to, bros. [The Washington Post] Bonus musical genre from the same article: hick hop n. Music that combines elements of country and hip hop (also known as rural rap).

geo-economics n. The study of how geography influences trade relationships and global economic trends. [U.S. Department of State]

guilty hate n. A movie, TV show, book or other cultural artifact that one feels guilty about disliking. [The Daily Dot]

health goth n. A style of gym or sports clothing with the dark or morbid look often associated with the goth subculture. [The New York Times]

never-leaver n. A child who plans to always live with his or her parents. [News Corp]

text next n. Spinal problems caused by the excessive or long-term bending of the neck forward to look at a mobile device. [The Atlantic]

Crufty* Word of the Week

CRomnibus n. Legislation that combines an omnibus bill to fund government spending and a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government spending until the details of the omnibus bill can be agreed upon. (CR + omnibus). [Vox]

Hapahazardly built into something ugly yet functional.

A Rag Man Anagram

Anagramming — rearranging the letters in an existing word or phrase to form something new — is a hugely popular form of wordplay seen today in puzzles and games such as Jumble, Scrabble, Words with Friends, and cryptic crosswords. Explaining the continuing popularity of anagrams would require several thousand words, but I can get to the heart of the matter with just one: magic. Not that I think actual magic is involved, mind you, just that it sometimes seems that way. After all, a skilled anagrammatist can turn, say, statement into testament in a couple of seconds. And when you learn that an anagram for astronomer is moon starer, the accompanying psychological mixture of surprise, delight, and mystery is akin to what we feel when a magician pulls off a clever trick.

All this is by way of introduction to one of my favourite new anagram tricks: a bot that looks for Twitter posts that are anagrams of each other. That’s magical enough, but the ANAGRAMMATRON, as it’s called, has a knack for finding anagrammatical tweets that complement each other. Here are some recent examples:

I have so many haters / Heart is so heavy man

I need my own spot, seriously / Spend your emotions wisely

Such a bad mood tonight / Hot bath and good music

OMG I am so sad right now / Mariah got mood swings

[ANAGRAMMATRON is on Twitter and Tumblr; h/t Ben Zimmer]

Quick Links

Flat adverbs are exceeding fine

11 Terrific Words Coined By John Milton

Why Do Brits Say "Maths" and Americans Say "Math"?

100 Random Facts About The English Language

Geek Mythology: I'm troubled by the rise of word 'bae'. But that’s the internet for you

Hello, bahn mi! How food words join the dictionary

Close Quote

Here's a question, though: will mass online communication result in a convergence towards a single vocabulary, where different online dialects end up subsumed into one set of words, nicely defined by the Urban Dictionary website?

—Rhodri Marsden [Geek Mythology: I'm troubled by the rise of word 'bae'. But that’s the internet for you]

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