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Pass me the Oobleck

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Pass me the Oobleck

Each year Merriam-Webster adds words to their online dictionary. This year 455 new words made the list.

New Dictionary Words | October 2021 | Merriam-Webster.

The one that I find the funniest is amirite. Not sure why, but I keep coming back to it. It is slang for “am I right?”

Hard to beat the term Oobleck: a mixture of corn starch and water that behaves like a liquid when at rest and like a solid when pressure is applied. Oobleck gets its name from the title of a story by Dr. Seuss, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and is a favorite component in kids’ science experiments. As a children’s book author, inventing a word would be cool. Dr. Seuss gave us a lot. Plus, it is messy and looks like a lot of fun to play with (though as an adult, I prefer not to get too messy).

In the food category, fluffernutter: a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow crème between two slices of white sandwich bread. It’s good the sandwich got a name after many decades of calling it peanut butter and fluff. Maybe the marshmallow lobby influenced the committee.

Not on the funny—ha-ha—side, but funny nonetheless (great word that isn’t used often) is ghost kitchen: a commercial cooking facility used for the preparation of food consumed off the premises — called also cloud kitchen, dark kitchen. Just thinking about a kitchen ghost is spooky. But if this kitchen makes delicious food from my favorite restaurants, then please come haunt my house. This cook needs for someone else to scare up the meals. The ghost kitchen is a new business that sprung up from COVID-19 or at least accelerated the process. We have also seen that with Zoom and Telemedicine.

An area which has received a lot of press over the last couple years has been ‘Artificial Intelligence’ or ‘Machine Learning’. How will we integrate technology to help us make better decisions. This is not a call for robots or computers to replace humans.

Maybe the next to be added will be The Aapryl Score—proprietary measure of a manager’s skill, measured by the likelihood they finish in the top quartile of an Aapryl peer group over the next 36 months. Or maybe a little funnier, Style Clone Portfolio—a portfolio derived by determining a manager’s long-term average exposure to various style factors over the life of a manager’s track record, will make the Merriam-Webster list in 2022! If not, I can always make more Oobleck.

Some other words that made the list

New Dictionary Words | October 2021 | Merriam-Webster.

Words from Tech and Science

We have arrived at the stage in digital technology when we require words for the decay of files, opportunistic attacks on computer programs, super shortcuts, and massive quantities of data storage. The promised ubiquitous jetpacks have yet to arrive, but at least we do have small private satellites and shapeshifting puddles named by Dr. Seuss.

  • copypasta: data (such as a block of text) that has been copied and spread widely online. Copypasta can be a lighthearted meme or it can have a more serious intent, with a political or cultural message.

Words from Pop Culture

Fan culture, enduring slang terms, and fashions that may come and go while leaving terms that live on in references: these are just some of the ways that words that aren’t used in news coverage or scientific journals make their way into the dictionary.

  • faux-hawk: a hairstyle having a central ridge of upright hair but with the sides gathered or slicked upward or back instead of shaved.
  • dad bod: a physique regarded as typical of an average father; especially: one that is slightly overweight and not extremely muscular.
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