7 fresh words learnt this year

By: Staff | December 29, 2009 | | No Comments

The words that sprang into our dictionary this year: A few neologisms and a few old ones dusted off and made fresh.


Vampire Squid

Perhaps the most-quoted sentence of the year in business journalism by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone: “The first thing you require to recognize about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most influential investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped about the face of humanity, persistently jamming its blood funnel into everything that smells like money.”


A portmanteau word; ‘activism’ taking digital forms, similar to ‘hacking’ Websites. It is in addition commonly spelled ‘hacktivism’. For example, Anonymous Iran (iran.whyweprotest.net) serves up what is basically a Hactivism 101, with loads of suggestion and resources. Or the army of Chinese hackers angry on the “biased” coverage on the Olympic Torch Relay messing with the CNN Website.

And of course, nearer to home, we have ‘patriotic’ Indians and Pakistanis, every one attempting to cause awkwardness by defacing the other country’s official sites


One more portmanteau word, perhaps encouraged by the preceding one. It refers, with a scorn, to activism that doesn’t call for very much action. Not even the tech information that hacking requires.

Rather than go out in marches, or trudge from door-to-door canvassing for donations or signatures, slacktivists find it a lot easier to sign an online petition, promote an e-mail or light a virtual candle.


Distribution of sexually explicit text messages and pictures via cell phones. A number of studies came out this year on the number of young (even under-age) couples engaging in sexting, and numerous lawsuits are still awaiting on sexting gone wrong.


Subsequent to the verbing of “friend”, credit to the acceptance of the term by social networking sites; it means to get rid of someone as a friend. It’s the Oxford dictionary’s word of the year. It has brought up debates on who are the self a person shows online, the hazard of online relations, and the easiness with which the internet encourages dishonesty.

Zombie Bank

A bank that is, by every definition, dead, however has been kept floating by government support. A bank with financial net worth less than zero. First Republic Bank and Citibank are renowned zombies.


Taking a holiday from work, however not travelling anywhere, for financial reasons. As an alternative, one explores one’s native land. Far less money and strain. Even Fodor’s currently writes about good staycations.

Further Reading

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