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Smombies, Schmoos and Parennials: These were 2018's weirdest new words

Former QI reseacher and philologist Adam Jacot de Boinod gives us a rundown of his favourite neologisms from 2018

Every year neologisms, the official word for newly coined words, slip effortlessly into our unofficial, informal language. Invariably, to stand the test of time, they need brevity, wit and invention rather than simply be what linguists call a profanity or a vulgarism. As a philologist, a lover of words, I list my favourites that have originated across the year of 2018 and from all over the English-speaking globe and come into general use often from social networks.

It’s surely no surprise that as business progresses we find new words to keep up with this daily practice:

Doorbuster: An article that is sold very cheaply in order to attract customers into a shop and make them buy other, more expensive, things

Stoozing: Profiting by borrowing money on a credit card with no interest rate to investing in a bank account with an interest rate

Price gouging: The act of increasing the price of goods or services beyond what is considered fair

…and technology of course reinvents our lives and our vocabulary…

Cyberloafing: The activity of spending working hours engaged in online activities that are not work related, such as checking social media sites and surfing the internet

Smombie: A pedestrian who is distracted by their mobile phone or similar device

Infobesity: The state of having access to so much information that it leads to difficulties with decision-making, concentration and understanding

Despite this, humanity persists with new words to describe our relationships:

LAT: An acronym for ‘Living Apart Together’: a type of close romantic relationship where the partners choose not to live together

Stashing: The practice of not telling anyone about the person with whom you are in a romantic relationship

…as well as the distinctions of our genders…

Bropropriation: A situation when a man takes a woman’s idea, claims that it is his own and gets the credit for it

Hepeating: A situation when a man repeats a good idea expressed by a woman and acts as though it were his own

…and modern parenthood…

Parennial: A parent who is a member of the millennial generation, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s

Monster parent: A parent who is excessively authoritarian and over-protective, and who tends to interfere in their children’s education

Getting about is as pressing an imperative as ever…

Flashpacking: A type of backpacking (travelling or camping while carrying everything you need in a backpack) that is more comfortable and luxurious than traditional backpacking

Bleisure: The activity of combining business travel with leisure time

…and the highlight that is the honeymoon has adopted some new versions…

Honeyteer: A honeymoon spent doing voluntary work, usually abroad

Megamoon: A honeymoon on which the married couple’s friends are also invited

Even our pets come in for a make over…

Peticure: A pedicure (a beauty treatment for the feet and toenails) given to pets such as dogs

Dog manor: A luxurious shelter for a dog to sleep in outside

…and fashion is alive perhaps for some more than others…

Schmoo: A jumper without a hole for the head to go through, intended to be wrapped around the wearer’s shoulders

Drouser: An item of clothing comprising a dress attached to a pair of trousers

Food also seems to reinvent itself…

Haem: An organic molecule found in plants that can be used in vegetarian and vegan cooking to mimic the red colour of meat

Kleptopredation: the act of eating prey that has just hunted so that the predator eats the prey of its prey too

…with an emphasis on its healthy effects…

Raw water: Water that is unfiltered and untreated, thought by some people to be a healthier alternative to tap water

Super coffee: Coffee that has had ingredients such as seeds, oats and spices added to it in order to increase its health benefits

…not to mention the physical exercise to work it all off…

Napercise: A type of exercise class that involves sleeping for a short time

Bokwa: A type of exercise in which you perform dance moves and step aerobics, usually in a class with other people

Wild cycling: The activity of exploring the countryside by bicycle, using only small paths and lanes

Adam Jacot de Boinod was a researcher for Stephen Fry’s BBC television series QI, which led to an interest in words. Adam is the author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books.

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