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Copyright: Copyright 2017 Logophilia Limited and Paul McFedries


Fri, 24 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. Soothing words used to calm or distract a patient who is awake during a surgical procedure.

Verbicaine. Spoken anesthesia, as in talking a patient through a rough patch of surgery when they are awake.
—Darrell White, “Sunday 170212” (comment), CrossFit, February 12, 2017

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iceberg home

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. A home where what is seen at ground level is only a small part of structure, with the rest being underground.

Mr. Graham already infuriated neighbours five years ago with plans to dig four storeys below his mansion in Knightsbridge to build a swimming pool, a three-car garage, a gym, a ballroom, changing rooms, a hot tub, wine cellars, an art storage room and servants quarters. His subterranean escapade became a hot topic in London and shed light on the growing trend among the superrich for "iceberg homes," named because most of the house is below ground.
—Paul Waldie, “Canadian businessman David Graham’s home expansion enrages London neighbours,” The Globe and Mail, February 9, 2017

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Fri, 17 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

v. To make bland, boring, or generic; to set text in, or convert text to, the Helvetica typeface.

It was rather a skirmish between a bunch of young designers, like your age now, who were called New Wave, Postmodern, Swiss Punk, whatever, and believed it necessary to reject the status quo for something freer and more contemporary. Doing that meant criticizing old-guard designers, who believed design should be simple"clean on tight grids and Helveticized.
—Steven Heller, “The Legibility Wars of the ’80s and ’90s,” Print, December 5, 2016

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Thu, 16 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. Rule or government by algorithm.

In the Threat of Algocracy I used ideas and arguments drawn from political philosophy to assess the social and political impact of algorithmic governance. I defined algorithmic governance " or as I prefer algocracy " as the use of data-mining, predictive and descriptive analytics to constrain and control human behaviour. I then argued that the increased prevalence of algocratic systems posed a threat to the legitimacy of governance.
—John Danaher, “Algocracy as Hypernudging: A New Way to Understand the Threat of Algocracy,” Philosophical Disquisitions, January 11, 2017

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rug-rat race

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. Intense pressure put on children to achieve early educational success, particularly as a prerequisite for eventually getting into an elite university.

This striving is necessarily, and worryingly, inegalitarian. Parental investment in childrens education is an arms race in which poorer families cannot hope to keep pace. Richer, better-educated families can call on many more assets in helping struggling students or providing enriching rsum-building material. The more the rug-rat race leads parents to withdraw their children from public-school systems, the worse this trend becomes.
—Ryan Avent, “High-Pressure Parenting,” 1843, February 6, 2017

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Wed, 08 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. Using hoaxes or mischievous acts as part of a marketing campaign.

A cabbie takes two supposedly unsuspecting riders on a stunt-filled journey of terror. ...In reality, of course, this is nothing more than prankvertising.
—“Oh goodie, another hilarious example of prankvertising,” Campaign, January 6, 2017

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Thu, 02 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. The quality or state of being like former United States Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

In fact, Gorsuch was ranked highest in a Scalia-ness scale recently created by legal scholars and was deemed the deceased jurists natural successor. Scalia-ness in this case manifests in three things"adherence to originalist principles of interpretation, writing about how to consider the law beyond just legal issues, and issuing separate opinions to elucidate a personal position.
—Ephrat Livni, “Trump’s US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is a lot like Scalia, with one key difference,” Quartz, January 31, 2017

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resistance fatigue

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. Mental exhaustion brought on by the constant protesting of unpopular government policies.

I see a few key patterns here. First, the decision to first block, and then allow, green card holders was meant to create chaos and pull out opposition; they never intended to hold it for too long. It wouldn't surprise me if the goal is to create "resistance fatigue," to get Americans to the point where theyre more likely to say "Oh, another protest? Don't you guys ever stop?" relatively quickly.
—Yonatan Zunger, “Trial Balloon for a Coup?,” Medium, January 30, 2017

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Tue, 10 Jan 2017 05:00:00 +0000

n. A person over 80 years old who exhibits little cognitive decline.

Our lab used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan and compare the brains of 17 superagers with those of other people of similar age. We succeeded in identifying a set of brain regions that distinguished the two groups. These regions were thinner for regular agers, a result of age-related atrophy, but in superagers they were indistinguishable from those of young adults, seemingly untouched by the ravages of time.
—Lisa Feldman Barrett, “How to Become a ‘Superager’,” The New York Times, December 31, 2016

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Fri, 16 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

n. An odor that a person continues to smell even in the absence of the original odorant.

Walking away after a morning episode comparing almond, walnut, peach, apricot, cherry, and prune, I find that the whole room smells like prune. I step outside with Finnegan; a wind wrests the screen door from my grip. His nose rises to attention at the passing air. I smell ... prune. I have been afflicted with a prune noseworm.
—Alexandra Horowitz, Being a Dog, Simon and Schuster, October 4, 2016

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