Tuesday 5 June 2012

Buzz Words of 2012, Part I

flaneur, dérive (a flaneur is someone who wanders round an area observing it and drawing conclusions and probably taking photos – this is called a dérive)

beholden popular first week Jan 12

bifolding doors still popular – for any kind of folding doors (trifolding, quadrifolding, cinquefolding…)

retro has now lost all meaning

long-form everywhere (since December) Apparently we should read more long-form, er, stuff.

piece de resistance popular first weeks of Jan, variously pronounced

cede (to their demands) becoming popular (that's "concede")

fill your boots now used for fill your pockets (why would you put money in boots?)

boutique farm (producing something niche like edible snails, frog’s for frogs’ legs, nettles to turn into yarn, St John’s wort ect)

adventure (Julian Fellowes’ acceptance speech “The whole Downton adventure…”)

attack ad

People very fond of thus week January 18, 2012

It’s a thing.

oh noes, the internets, laters etc.


venomous popular week of Jan 23 2012

sock puppet (mouthpiece, or yourself under a pseudonym pimping your books on Amazon)

trough popular in context of bankers’ bonuses (troughing, troughers, “only mix with the other trough guzzlers”, “gulps of swill from the trough”, “snouts firmly buried in the greed trough”) January 29, 2012

In truth popular week of Feb 1

as far as X is concerned popular Feb 2012

cede still popular

Never a dull! Good enough to go before the general, etc. See words fail, I’m losing the will


Can I add 'iconic', 'landmark', 'lurve', 'for the minute' instead of 'for a moment' and acronyms like TOWIE. Steerforth

Is that even legal/true/possible? What does that even mean?

sous vide

popular February

simply popular early March

bindle (Australian for hobo bundle - but what do they look like?)

not-a-feminists are back (“I’m not a feminist but this is unjust and women should have equal rights.”)

rocky road (used to be biscuit cake)

et al. popular early March

bod for person has made a comeback early March

and so has rumbustious

rein in/back popular early March (try “restrain”)



I’m not a fan of for I don’t like

lift Guardian talks re “lifting of personal allowances” rather than raising, week of the budget, March 2012

preloading getting drunk on cheap booze before you go out

range anxiety

the Twitter, the Facebook, the Internets, the ebay, the bbc iplayer
(in parody of tech refuseniks). And even “the Church Street”, “the Channel 4”, “the Spain”. And “the Jesus”!

rammed for packed

a cradle is now a connector for an electronic device (iphone ect)

ownership “University ownership of the exams must be real and committed, not a tick-box exercise.” Michael Gove April 3, 2012

bezzie mate


odd that a time bomb is now a ticking time bomb when surely bombs haven’t used clockwork for years

steel-cut oatmeal (used to be pinhead oatmeal – and what else would you cut it with? Flint?)

crock pot (was casserole or casserole dish)

vitrine has taken over from display case, glass case ect


(blatantly – Twitter)

scarf print (fabric printed with the kind of pattern you might find on a scarf – think 80s uniform blouse. You can get a scarf print bralet on Amazon.)

the New Aesthetic “Some architects can look at a building and tell you which version of Autodesk was used to create it. The world is defined by our visualisations of it. (Someone who makes such things told me: what they put in, even as place-holders, always ends up getting built.)” booktwo.org April 13, 2012 Artifact of computer use, also rebellion against hipster retro, fogeyish, distressed industrial aesthetic. Which is an attempt to save old stuff from being obliterated by the New Aesthetic - which nearly always has money and power behind it.

non-nerds have discovered the word troll, and are using it to mean anybody who does nasty things on the Web

scobleize: To act in a egotistical, longwinded and self centered manner; to fill the air with loads of blustery obfuscation… Urban Dictionary

garb is popular week of 16 April

hopey, changey, bibley continued When needing to write, switching all your internet-y connective-y programmes on at once is not going to help. @entschwindet / food at Restaurant Tristan is a bit cheffy and weddingy says Zoe Williams in the DT April 2012 “Let's begin our afternoon of podcasty video gamey love…” Twitter May 15, 2012

nabe (neighbourhood)

early-bird tickets, tiered tickets

ugly for nasty, unpleasant (it would send an ugly message) Ghastly Americanism.

back in popular week of May 1 (especially “back in 2011”)

bolthole now means second home

little one is Stoke Newington speak for kid

NQR (not quite right - or is this just Australian?)

records are not broken any more, they’re smashed

smug for left wing (Mark Steele on QT is not wrong, he’s smug; that girl who rejected Magdalen is smug etc

guardianista = socialist (no longer has much to do with the newspaper)

internet diet (move AFK)

massive is having a moment week of May 7

More sunshine that will lift those temperatures. Alex Deakin May 9, 2012

drubbing now means you’ve done badly in the polls

courgette ribbons

builders are now called tradesmen

reshoring = bringing manufacturing home

reignite for revive popular early 2012, especially week May 14

lot of people nurturing feelings, fears etc instead of just having them

salad dodgers week of June 1

so, so, so Once the Thames was a forest of masts, and it will be so again tomorrow – headline in Guardian 2 June 2012. “It will be again tomorrow” is enough, the "so" is unnecessary.

2012 Part IV here

2012 Part III here
2012 Part II here
2012 Part I here 

Buzz words of 2011 Part II here.
Buzz Words of 2011 here and here.
Complete Buzz Words of 2010 here.
Buzz Words of 2009 here.
Buzz Words of 2009 Part Two here.
Buzz Words of 2006 here.
Buzz Words of 2002 here.
More here (90s, 2000, 2001).
Buzz Words of 2004/5 here.


  1. this is invaluable, keep doing this. somebody needs to try and keep track of all this stuff that's happening to the language and cannot really be kept from happening, yet still should be brought to light and at least *ranted* about if not *weeded* out.
    the most important thing is, these lists make one think just where the language is going, and also where we ourselves are going, as a several billion strong bunch of sentient, linguistically able creatures, now with the internet kind of making us form a huge network of nodes and links.
    so thank you.

  2. Thanks! Nobody can stop linguistic fashions. Some are extremely brief. Some stick, annoyingly (like "modern-day"). Most pass - but then the next lot come along!