Word Terrorism: Wow, It's a Platisher

Ken Layne · 02/07/14 12:35PM

Language is our primary weapon in the ceaseless conflict that is modern life. Today we examine two words that are perfectly terrible reflections of our time: wow and platisher.

The Year's Very Worst Words Are So "Problematic"

Ken Layne · 12/31/13 01:30PM

Language is wonderful and language is alive, but language is also a form of psychological assault—especially when everybody suddenly starts using awful new terms and phrases just because everyone else is doing it, on Twitter. We are not so naive as to think we can "ban" this or that word, because "ban" is one of the words we would ban, if words could be banned. They cannot. Thanks to 2013, we're stuck with this bunch of linguistic garbage.

Word Terrorism: Send Your Selfies To the Ideas Editor

Ken Layne · 11/20/13 11:00AM

selfie: (noun) Nobody has any idea how to take a photograph of another person. Or, everyone hates you. What else explains the badly lit and poorly focused horror mugshots your so-called friends produce when pointing their phones at you? Did they try to zoom in on the first pimple you've had in three years, or are they just fundamentally inept at life? Is it absurd to think a person might use the simple photo-editing tools on every phone to change your eyes from demonic-idiot red to their actual color, or to maybe remove that sesame seed stuck between your front teeth? The selfie is your only shot at ever having a decent shot of yourself. Don't be embarrassed. Take as many pictures as it takes to get one of your beautiful face, instead of your flabby arm that somehow got all the light from the flash.

Lifehacks, Crack, and Other Words of the Day

Ken Layne · 11/05/13 12:44PM

lifehack (noun) A somber acknowledgement that while life itself is mostly boredom, disappointment and heartbreak, you can at least use up some of life's many hours with different ways to peel garlic or organize your closet shelves.

Word Terrorism: When "Sorry" Means "I'm Openly Racist"

Ken Layne · 09/16/13 09:00AM

is that a thing now?: 1. Feigned ignorance of something impossible to avoid that you could quickly look up on the very device you've just used to type is that a thing now? 2. A symptom of amnesia requiring immediate medical attention and long-term hospitalization.

Word Terrorism: When "Smart Takes" Aren't

Ken Layne · 09/09/13 11:00AM

We are terrorized by language every day! Word Terrorism is here to fight back, by collecting the worst examples of modern vocabulary and revealing the true meanings behind the most insidious terms. Your suggestions are both welcome and necessary.

Sexting and Retweet Added to the Dictionary

Adrian Chen · 08/18/11 12:47PM

Hey, did you hear that a bunch of new words were added to the dictionary? Some geeky words like, "noob," "woot!" "sexting," and "retweet." Oh, woe is us. The English language is doomed.

Bullshit, Bat Shit, Ape Shit: A Taxonomy of Rhetorical Shit

Maureen O'Connor · 04/02/10 12:19AM

An intrepid reader writes, "How do you decide which is the better term 'apeshit' or 'batshit'? It must be a tough call." With all the different types of shit out there, choosing the correct shit can be a mess.