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Copyright: Copyright 2017 Logophilia Limited and Paul McFedries


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

n. An elderly person 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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Tue, 13 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

n. The characteristics or qualities that enable something to be read, watched, or listened to completely.

Finally, there is {ih finishability ih}. Emails are concise, overcoming the readers sense of being overwhelmed by limiting the length and the number of items made available. Contrast that with the infinite scroll of endless content on many websites and social media platforms which can never be fully read and can leave readers frustrated.
—Kaspars Grinvalds, “Email isn’t dead -- and it’s helping to keep newspapers alive,” The Conversation, November 10, 2016

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Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

n. A person who collects, trades, or is passionate about running shoes.

Ghanaian funerals are a big deal. And rather than simply mourn the dead, attendees prefer to celebrate them, too. One way they do it is with wildly creative custom caskets. Artisans there will make caskets in the shape of pretty much anything you like -- Coke bottles, race cars, etc. And for sneakerheads, even a favorite sneaker.
—Scott Christian, “Real Sneakerheads Get Buried in Custom Nike-Shaped Caskets,” Esquire, December 5, 2016

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flake rate

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

n. The percentage of people who have volunteered to help a campaign but do not show up.

Jon Carson: The technical term we like to use in the political world is we had a negative flake rate. Usually you have a bunch of volunteers scheduled to come and a certain percentage of them flake off. Well we had a negative flake rate. People were showing up and they were bringing extra friends with them.
—Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, “'Oh Man, I Guess We've Won This Thing',” Politico, November 7, 2016

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USB condom

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

n. A modified USB adapter that prevents data from being stolen or malware from being installed when a mobile device's USB cable is plugged into a public charging station.

USB ports are ubiquitous on our electronic devices as a way to charge them and transfer data. But theyre also an easy entry point for malware or other nasty viruses. Enter the USB condom. These prophylactics for your digital devices are plugged to the end of a USB cable, and allow electricity to flow through while preventing data from being transferred or accessed.
—Joon Ian Wong, “People are buying 'USB condoms' to prevent their devices from catching nasty viruses,” Quartz, November 7, 2016

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Tue, 08 Nov 2016 05:00:00 +0000

n. An animal with a diet consisting mostly of meat.

House cats are an absolute ecological nightmare, implicated in the extinction of dozens of species, and posing a grave threat to many more....Theyre only follow[ing] their predatory instincts; ultimately the fault is with you. Your love of felines opens the door for these hypercarnivores to invade new environments and catch unsuspecting creatures unaware.
—Jacqueline Ronson, “Cats Are an Ecological Nightmare and Ruining the Environment,” Inverse, October 12, 2016

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speed geeking

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 04:00:00 +0000

n. An event in which multiple groups rotate through a series of short presentations.

If you havent tried speed geeking in your class, you should. You students will be engaged, communicating, thinking critically and having fun.
—Nancy Foote, “Speed Dating + Science = Speed Geeking,” The Unintentional Geek, February 26, 2016

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exercise desert

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 04:00:00 +0000

n. An area where exercise programs and facilities are either non-existent or unaffordable.

This is the reality of life inside what Holt described as an exercise desert. She explained these are places where there are conditions that do not support being physically active, based on the social demographic conditions and the daily realities for those who live in particular neighborhoods or communities.
—Emily McCoy Glover, “The Remarkable Privilege Of Running,” The Establishment, October 6, 2016

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Norman door

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 04:00:00 +0000

n. A door with a design that makes it difficult to determine the correct way to open the door.

A so-called Norman Door has design elements that give you the wrong usability signals to the point that special signage is needed to clarify how they work. Without signs, a user is left guessing about whether to push or pull, creating needless frustration.
—“Norman Doors: Don’t Know Whether to Push or Pull? Blame Design,” 99% Invisible, February 26, 2016

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