Monday, 3 December 2018

Buzz Words of 2018

END OF 2017
Lots of fear of “Marxism”.

And that tedious joke about “what day is bins” still grinds on.

Someone’s sighted Easter eggs in the shops on Boxing Day.

Jan 1 2018
“We’re going to have a traditional Christmas, children, aren’t you lucky? Board games and carol-singing! Just a joke here are your tablets and games consoles and DVD players.” Ha, ha, ha.

Outrage over Toby Young’s appointment as students’ tsar, but already there’s a backlash from the usually sensible Kathy Burke: “Oh but the lefty virtually signalling outrage over this is the worst thing about it.” (It’s “fuel to the right’s fire”, apparently. And he didn't last.)

sex positive

walk back (what Trump should do to his “s***hole” comment)

SPADs (Special Policy ADvisers)

stains popular 2nd week Jan

“How is that racist?”

Mum told us that when the ice cream van played Greensleeves it meant they were out of icecream! (And many made-up variants. You’re supposed to laugh. )

“Why not just appoint the best person for the job instead of having quotas or all-female shortlists?” (Translation: appoint a white man.)

Let’s not be too nasty to the French women who are siding with the perpetrators because they don’t want women to look like “victims”. (And others on this template. There’s always some reason why women should shut up.)

As well as the “let’s not be too nasty to men” backlash, there’s an “I’d castrate them!” backlash. I remember women talking like this in the 70s. “I’d just stab him with a hatpin!” When women hadn’t worn hatpins for about 50 years. (Now having the same conversation about hatpins on Facebook for the first time since the 70s. Seems to go: “But we always talk about hatpins so some women must have carried them as weapons – in their lapel?” A three-inch sharp pin? In your lapel? And if you buy a hatpin purely as a weapon, why not buy a knife or some knuckle-dusters? The meme “women protect themselves with hatpins” proves very difficult to shift.)

salted caramel cocoa vodka liqueur, salted caramel green tea

chain migration 

People in the US have been using the words “white supremacy” since the 19th century.

Lots of love for Ursula Le Guin and Mark E. Smith. How soon before someone calls it hysteria, Dianamania or insincere attention-seeking? (Didn’t happen. Not big enough stars?)

Has “props” gone?

Jan 31 first “everything happens too early”: Still Jan, Valentine's Day to come and the hot cross buns are already in the shops. I'm the hot cross bun in this scenario. (@gordonguthrie)

Rumbling about words being added to the Oxford English Dictionary. OED says “this happens on a quarterly basis”.

Cadbury is removing the word “Easter” from Easter eggs – again. Allegedly.

February: “Deign” is popular, but people think it means “dare”. It means “condescend”.

Well, that got dark very quickly.

Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Benn put up a plaque to suffragette Emily Davidson in the House of Commons and nobody took it down. But it doesn’t count because they are public schoolboys.

It’s snowing, and everybody thinks it’s terribly funny to post “Britain is now uninhabitable” or “OK you can cancel the Red Cross airdrop”. They’ve stopped now that there are eight-foot drifts in Hampshire and people have spent 24 hours in unheated trains or all night in their cars. But they’ll be back.

Oh, and after whingeing about media hysteria about the snow, now they’re whingeing that they can’t get weather maps and forecasts because the website is overloaded.

And now everybody is driving in snow wrong.

Snow – avocado shortage – complete unavailability – mercy – my sides – It’s those middle-class people, you see, they’re just so funny! And you know – they eat – quinoa! LMFAO!!!!

– from the right, this is now an insult. I think it means “valuing other cultures”. Civilisations first episode – too "postmodern"!

Mike drop. I still don’t get it.

Suddenly everyone’s misusing “passive aggressive”. They don’t understand “passive voice”, either. And they use "cognitive dissonance" when they want to say "denial".

"Big shoes to fill” is everywhere early March. Sometimes with extensions “but she’ll have a wonderful team to help her do up the laces!”

March 14 and everybody’s an expert on nerve agents and who’s responsible. And on what Jeremy Corbyn should have said. All the evidence points to the Russians, therefore it can’t be the Russians.
First sighting of “we should stop being hysterical just because the Russians only poisoned three people with nerve gas in Salisbury”. And who’s really behind it? George Soros. Oh, of course.

concept art

A lot of whingeing about the “hysteria” about Corbyn’s hat being photoshopped to look more Russian and his head set against a background of Russian onion domes. On the BBC.

Rabbit-hole algorithms (You start searching for something and you end up down an internet rabbit-hole unable to see the way out.)

Luvvie as an insult seems to have gone out.

disintermediation (Thank you Noah Scott.)

Some people are still talking about “farcebook and twatter”, as if it was a) funny and b) we hadn’t heard it a million times.

Balloon jeans, balloon leg jeans. Proper 80s jeans! But manufacturers are applying the word to absolutely any style, as usual. (Gone by December, and trousers are as unwearable as ever.)

After any tragedy, conspiracy theorists will compete to accuse the most unlikely figures of being in league with each other.

People are addicted to Twitter discussions and Facebook kitten videos because – dopamine.

What happened to “sliders”? Miniature burger buns. Scones really.

Panopticon – in the context of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Far-right groups are holding training camps in Europe.

One year to Brexit! Says the Daily Express, over a (whitened) pic of the white cliffs of Dover.

Oh dear, they’ve left “Easter” off Easter eggs again.

“My five-year-old” is lecturing on gender equality and animal welfare a lot end of March. It’s a joke template, apparently.

Paint a beach pebble and leave it for people to find.

Structural to mean institutional. Lots of “structural racism” around 2018-04-04.

Some parents are trying to bring up their children “entirely without gender”. Does this mean dungarees and pudding basin haircuts for all? And no He-Man or Barbie?

What happened to centrist dad?

“Social engineering” is the new “identity politics”. What does it mean? “Trying to force us to accept brown people, or accept them as equals”? Urban Dictionary says “attempt to control social behaviour”. One of its examples is liberal professors indoctrinating the young.

In Bristol, a Labour Party member put forward a motion saying something like: “In the face of inequality when vast wealth is confined to the hands of a few, can you blame people for looking for an explanation?”

Accusations of anti-Semitism all politically motivated slurs, accused innocent until proved guilty – LOOP to Weinstein, Cosby et al.

Everyone’s an expert on novichok.

I’m going to have to find out who “Hamilton” was, aren’t I?

(too long: didn’t read) now means “I’ll be brief” or “To sum up”.

Pwn has gone.

Kate’s having her baby and Ian Martin tweets: “My tweets are 90% Performative Disinterest in the Royal baby.”

Parties are now “house parties”. Where else can you have a party?

One music industry insider complains: “They’re all singing as if they were being Auto-Tuned even when they’re not.”

punching down: attacking those lower on the ladder of life (See also the idea that it's impossible to be prejudiced "up".)

Twitter braces itself for the “fawning” that is about to break out over the royal wedding. (May 3)

Competitive ignorance of the “horrors” of the royal wedding has started. 2018-05-07

for unworkable dream

Arguments I have had recently. 

I can't read mystery writer Donna Leon because she's a communist.
Why do you think that?

We should leave the EU because of the petty rules they impose on us.

Which ones?

Arrogant Londoners should not make laws and policies for the country.
Which policies do you object to?

Escape the horror of the royal wedding.
What's horrible about it?

(In several cases, there was a lot of bluster and changing of the subject before silence fell. Don’t people expect to be asked for evidence?)

I don’t believe there’s much anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Where’s the evidence?
Here, here and here.
I don’t believe there’s much anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Here’s some more evidence.

Dr Who isn't scifi any more, it's a political lecture.
You mean, despite the alien with the spaceship, time travel, and monsters from other planets?

Cultural appropriation everywhere week of May 7, after a girl wore a Chinese dress to a prom, and Met ball goers wore costumes inspired by the “Catholic imagination”. The RCC gave permission (or “its blessing”), so not cultural appropriation, say many, as there’s no imbalance of power.

A picture of Theresa May curtseying awkwardly to the Duchess of Cambridge is captioned “Bowing, scraping and fawning – modern 21st century Britain in one appalling image”. Commenters add “horrid”, “grovelling” and “sickening”. There’s a royal wedding coming up.

“Gammon” hits the mainstream and everybody has a theory: It was coined by Dickens (it wasn't), it’s an 18th century slur on working-class field workers, refers to cheating at backgammon, is racist...

In the Olden Dayes women just stayed at home sewing and waiting for a husband – but golly gosh here’s one who designed a bridge in the 1830s!

Meghan will walk up the nave, not the aisle. Aisles are the bits at the side. (Though planes and shops have aisles that are a) in the middle and b) all over the place.)

Has “structured” for “tailored” gone yet?


Sex Work Exclusionary Radical Feminists – SWERFs? (Sex workers are commodified, you see. “We refuse to be ‘rescued’ like we are fallen women,” says one.)

The wedding – Doria Ragland was “dignified”. And commentators said “Oh look, there’s another black person!” a few too many times.

People have stopped saying “chapeau”.

honeypot locations (where all the tourists go)

pipelines, funding pipeline, if we want more women on boards we need to create pipelines (June 1)

Fuss about banning plastic straws. (Ableist! Won’t make any difference! Lame jokes about one turtle with a straw up its nose.)

self-care (Could this be our old friend "feeling sorry for yourself"?)

“Carnage” used for chaos on the railways June 4.

job blockers (facial tattoos)

This week’s hand-wringing: too many middle-aged white men cycle, putting off women and ethnic minorities. Part of a movement to stop other people driving cars, because it’s bad for them.

Westminster Council gives a firm “nope!” to pedestrianizing Oxford Street, and the anti-car movement has a conniption fit.

Social media users get very upset if you tell them their meme is old and possibly offensive, and was never funny in the first place. (Examples: claiming you want to shoot those who misplace apostrophes, who ask for a cocktail or caramel mocha latte because they take too long to make, or who stand on the left on escalators. You’re not in a queue, you are the queue.)

TFW you read a Twitter conversation hoping to get the point and you realise it is an extremely lame attempt at humour which all the participants think is hilarious. Or are they all bots?

This man stole my daughter’s/niece’s ipad/tablet/phone and accidentally uploaded this selfie to the cloud please RT to help find him. Click-farming meme is back.

If you are a right-wing person who wants to denigrate any left position, just say the word “unicorn” and you will be let out of jail free.

Using “Venn diagram” to mean “overlap”.

Beige” now means “bland”.

Big fuss over academics with PhDs calling themselves “Doctor”. A woman was called “immodest” for using her title. (Women respond by putting "Dr" in their Twitter handle if entitled to it.)

Bill Roache talking about “knowings” rather than “knowledge”.

Latino/Latina people now referred to as “Latinx”.

chef kiss

Julia Hartley-Brewer can’t keep Waitrose out of a comment on the anti-Brexit march. (All marchers are upper-middle-class, therefore their opinions don’t count.)

White Americans believe in majority rule – so they’re terrified that they’ll become the minority.

Political correctness, no-platforming now surrounded by so much rhetoric of the “but the real X are the opposite of X” variety that it’s impossible to tell who the goodies and baddies are. When the smoke clears, it appears that the baddies are the people trying to protect minorities and the vulnerable. And otherwise quite sensible people are taking this stance because they think it’s wrong to see anything in terms of goodies and baddies. Or they are desperate not to take sides so they try to prove that this is not necessary. Black, white, shades of grey, yawn. Also they are desperate to be original, so they all rebel in the same way, as usual.

There’s fake news, and there’s the “hot take”. This is the one that goes “feminists are the real Nazis because reasons”. In one tweet, or in several pages of the New York Times or the New Yorker. The elements tend to be “political correctness”, “diversity” and “dictatorship”. (And "stifle debate" - they're still opining away in December.)

Freeze peach – oh...
Aperol spritz – whatever that is.

Plus-size clothing lines should be banned because they set a bad example. Large ladies might become role models, you see. Are they going to confiscate our clothes and make us wear sheets? (And there weren't all these plus-size people when I was young.)

It’s “prostitute” not “sex worker” now, apparently. (July. Maybe not, Sept.)

Instant novichok conspiracy theories, and people pronouncing it “novachek”.

Worthy attempts to teach children about gender identity a) far too young and b) by means of exercises involving blueberry muffins.

Heterosexual civil partnerships are now available. The usual Polly Fillas are writing the same article about “We never saw the need to get married – commitment – big party – expense – religious baggage – no rights in 19th century – chattel – but now you can just go and sign a form!” Heterosexuals have been able to “just go and sign a form” (get married in a registry office) for years. Any mention of religion is forbidden at a registry office wedding. All the religious, patriarchal and property baggage has been removed from marriage. And nobody ever mentions the legal and financial implications. Oh, apparently they do on Money Box and other financial programmes. But why has nobody told the Polly Fillas?

Wolf-whistling and barracking women in the street called a “compliment” by people who have been beamed here from the 50s.

Harry and Meghan go to Dublin for a “mini-moon”.

People have got that it’s “contactless” not “contractless”.

People have stopped whining about Comic Sans. They’ll find something else. (Meanwhile, what about Mathlete?)

“There’s no such thing as whiteness” – red flag for someone who wants to use racist language. Also “I don’t see what’s wrong with saying ‘coloured people’. I don’t tell other people what to say – why should they tell me?” (“Person of colour” puts the person first.) Same goes for “I loathe political correctness” and “I don’t believe in ‘cultural appropriation’.”


One day I’m going to have to find out what being “verified” on Twitter means.

Everything’s “broken” week of July 23.

“I was asked by the BBC to debate a climate-change denier/flat-earther/homeopath/creationist/moon-landings disbeliever but I refused and I told the BBC they should give up this ridiculous ‘balance’ idea.” (Must be a campaign.)

August: Attempts to rationalise Boris Johnson’s remarks about women in burkas looking like letter-boxes. He’s “standing up for liberal values”, apparently. (He’s resigned, and his wife has kicked him out.)

Customer experience, seller experience, please rate your experience, we want to give users a better experience (by targeting ads to them more accurately).

Calling Twitter “this website” and “this app” – which is full of abusive neo-nazis. Nice people like us somehow aren’t part of “this site”.

Lots of people complaining about FB and Twitter and threatening to leave. It may be a stunt organised by a rival, Mastodon. (Like the people who used to complain about email.)

All right there are “pockets” of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, but people are just using the issue to attack Corbyn.

Nobody can spell any more they confuse they’re and their and the bus is full of screaming brats can’t their parents keep them under control!

Unicorns proliferate, and little girls are wearing plastic horns.

“Gaslighting” is going the way of “trolling” – now just used for “being mean”.

Chavs no longer spend their dole money on “flat screen TVs” (since 2009 we’ve all got them). They now splash out on “wide screen TVs”, the fiends!

Everyone’s accusing everyone else of “bad faith”. (I always confuse it with “false consciousness”.)

Globalists v nativists

Those Japanese bowls mended with gold are back. They prove that life is OK however disastrous because, er, er...

Slack or Discord channel – whatever will young people think of next? And Twitch?

Jamie Oliver sells packet “jerk rice” with the wrong spices – and you can’t “jerk” rice. And now everyone’s saying “but there’s no such thing as cultural appropriation, most culture is borrowed what about French cuisine?” And others are saying “what is this ‘cul-tur-al a-ppro-pri-a-tion’?” Still others are saying “It’s the power relations, stupid!” And “minorities can’t culturally appropriate”.

Cultural appropriation is about the stealing of elements of one culture by another to profit and reassert power dynamics”. Marxist theory? It may just be reducing another culture to a caricature. How do you say that in Marxist?

White men having hysterics about being referred to as “white men”. (The privileged is the unmarked, you see.)

Emotional labour (Can mean “forgiving awful behaviour for years”, or “teaching male flatmates at uni how to bake”.)

24 Aug Desperate attempts to justify a no-deal Brexit, and explain that Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitic remarks a) aren’t anti-Semitic and b) don’t count because he said them in 2013. It’s a mad world, my masters.

Leavers now saying that shortage of medicines will “thin us out” and shortage of food will help us lose weight. Yes, that’s “thin us out”, not “slim us down”.

IG and YT (You guessed it.)

Love Island talent scouts trawl Instagram – of course they do! It’s the Spotlight of its day.

This is a Vanity Fair for the 21st century – it’s all about snobbery and female friendship. (It's based on a book by William Makepeace Thackeray – about snobbery and female friendship.)

carceral feminists (whatever they are)

Sept: What happened to Mastodon, then?

Double down (You’ve been told off for racist remarks, you apologise – while making more racist remarks. Or you only apologise for the “hurt caused”.)

“Ration your children’s use of devices and social media” is the new “ration TV watching” or “forbid comics”. (They used to tell me off for reading all the time.)

Calling pups “puppers”. Please don’t.

Popular meme: I was at a garden centre/beauty spot/National Trust café. We had delicious hot chocolate and banana bread. Only flaw was the family of feral kids who ran around shouting while their chav mother ignored them.

Some people think accusing all lefties of being hippies is a new thing...

Everybody is fighting racism, utterly opposed to anti-Semitism etc. But they bring it on themselves...

“Should we just turn of the internet???!!!” (The country would go bust even quicker – isn’t Brexit bad enough?)

The .... is strong with this one.

Mining landfill? Did he just say “mining landfill”? We can't do that, it's far too sensible. After all, we are British!

“The heating” – is yours on yet?

Radio announcers waver between Kavan-AH and Kavan-AW. (Brett Kavanaugh will be a forgotten man in a year – I hope.)

Dimbulbs whining that calling people “white” or referring to “brown people” is racist. Especially in sentences like “There are still people who think that all brown people should go somewhere else”.

29 Sept and people are whingeing about Christmas starting too early and being too commercial. Actually John Lewis put up their Christmas tree last week. Happens every year. Nothing you can do about it. If retailers waited until Dec 1 to sell Christmas stuff they’d go bust and you could all have a good old moan about the death of the high street.

Brownies now get mindfulness and self-care badges.

A rash of “moms” tweeting that their sons are “afraid to date” because of the #metoo movement. One tweet went viral, and “mom” admitted she’d made it up.

People moaning about feminism think it was invented by “Gen X” – the one before the millennials. This would be news to Mary Wollstonecraft and Emmeline Pankhurst.

Voxels (Same thing, but for video.)

Like farming: Amusing things I overheard at the cash desk, my five-year-old niece said to her gran.
Moaning about technology in a maudlin, sentimental way. Eat an apple instead of using your Mac! Go out and smell the flowers! Take a holiday from screens! Ask your granny what “paper bags” are!

You’re supposed to change your twitter handle for Halloween?

Conservative Christians in Australia and America telling us that London is full of “no-go” zones for white people. (They're still at it in December.)

Writers belatedly picking up on “sheeple” because it has been included in the dictionary and we’re having our annual flap.

Block party – Trump supporters, Brexiteers or pro-motorway campaigners gang up to get a Twitter account blocked.

Apparently we need to “do something” about Oxford Street because it’s “scruffy”. They’re going to widen the pavements. I hope they’re going to wash them, too, instead of waiting for a rainstorm as usual. I think they mean “We need to replace McDonald’s and the American candy shop with upmarket cafés and clothes shops that nice people will go to and all the chavs who shop in Oxford Street now can go to Bluewater or Stratford East.”

March for a People’s Vote, and they’re making Waitrose jokes. Middle-class folk who shop at Waitrose aren’t “people”, of course.

People who like to tell us that London is full of “no-go zones” now telling us that we can’t see them because we “live in La-La Land”.

Word of the week seems to be “units”. “Absolute units.” Something big and impressive. Oct 24

“Columbising – when, like Christopher Columbus, white people think they have discovered something that was already in existence.” Guardian – I think they mean “discovered something that other people discovered millennia ago”.

Q Why is everyone so angry nowadays? A They always have been.

De-colonialising any discipline has become an industry.

Carceral capitalism, now.

“Jo Johnson challenges the "spangly unicorn with a head at each end of its body" Norway for Now plan by Nick Boles” Enough with the unicorns! And this is overkill – you can’t get any more mythical than a unicorn.

Videos of presents being unwrapped get millions of hits on Instagram. Allegedly. And successive pix of house renovation. (“We ripped out the kitchen – and the dated features – and turned it into a modern family home with a rustic, country feel!”)

Juul, hypebeast – what? Isn’t Juul a character in Borgen?

What to say about the new She-Ra animated film: The original was just a means of selling moulded plastic toys with a few different details. The new one looks more modern and Japanese and is far, far superior! Of course the new characters are “headstrong” and have “depth”, not like the shallow old characters. The original She-Ra looked like a 50s-80s Marvel or DC comic.

Lots of blether about freelancers living in pyjamas. I wear office clothes.

Squirrelly now means weaselly!

Vegan food has gone mainstream which means manufacturers are producing processed instant versions and it’s on sale in supermarkets. Hence Tory fury – they never had to notice it before.

How to make a joke these days: Just say “vegan”.

There’s a hairdressing salon in Kings Cross called Radio.

Why are we obsessed with Thanksgiving? (There’s a bit of coverage in the papers.)

Is “leadership” the new “assertiveness”? The same old American I can – and I will!

David Baddiel using “radicalised” to mean “turned into racists”. (Brainwashed?)

Young people are practising this thing they call “polyamory”!

Tabloids trying to persuade us that “Kate and Meghan have fallen out”.

Lots of waffle about chocolate and Advent calendars.

People confusing tear gas (used at the Mexican border) with nerve gas (lethal).

Decolonising popular, for "removing the colonialism" rather than "retreating from a country you have colonised".

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. bookmarked!!, I like your blog!

  2. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show
    up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  3. I love your buzzword roundup of the year, and every year I say the same thing: that it's like living through the year again. Perfect history.