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Fashionable Words

Gennaio 2005
Una linguista inglese ha raccolto in un libro le parole più di moda anno per anno, per gli ultimi 100 anni? Così scopriamo che già si mangiavano “cheeseburger” nel ‘38, mentre “wonderbra” fu coniato nel ‘47...
File audio:

Susie Dent's Book
Susie Dent's Book

Speakers: Rachel Roberts, Mark Worden (Standard British)

Lovers of English should read an en­tertaining book by lexicographer Susie Dent which was published by the Oxford University Press in October. Called Larpers and Shroomers: The Language Report, it details contemporary developments in English, particularly the words and expressions that have come into fashion in recent years. Larpers and shroomers are themselves deliberately obscure examples of new words or expressions. A “larper” is someone who likes to indulge in LARP, “Live Action Role Playing,” i.e. dressing up and assuming character roles. A Shroomer, on the other hand, is a person who likes to use hallucinogenic substances such as magic mushrooms. Yet Susie Dent's book doesn’t only cover contemporary English. In addition to covering the words that have slipped into the language from politics, sport, the internet and business, Larpers and Shroomers concludes with an intriguing list of the "buzz” or in words that have become part of the language in the last 100 years. It is an intriguing document, not least because so many buzz words are older than we think. This is the list:
1904    hip
1905    whizzo
[an interjection expressing delight]
1906    teddy bear
[named in humorous allusion to the US President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt]
1907    egghead
[an intellectual]
1908    realpolitik
[from the German meaning “practical politics,” i.e. politics determined by practical rather than ideological considerations]
1909    tiddly-om-pom-pom
[representing the sound of brass-band or similar music]
1910    sacred cow
[as a journalistic term, meaning a person or institution that cannot to be criticised]
1911    gene
1912    blues
1913    celeb
1914    cheerio
1915    civvy street
[the return from military to civilian life was known as “going back to civvy street”]
1916    U-boat
1917    tailspin
1918    ceasefire
1919    ad-lib
1920    demob
[short for “demobilize,” i.e. leaving the army to return to civilian life after World War I]
1921    pop
[as in “pop song”]
1922    wizard
[very good]
1923    hem-line
1924    lumpenproletariat
[a term applied by Karl Marx to the lowest and most degraded section of the proletariat, who make no contribution to the workers’ cause]
1925    avant garde
1926    kitsch
1927    sudden death
[in sport, a period of extra time to bring a game to a sudden, decisive conclusion]
1928    Big Apple
[New York City]
1929    sex
[an abbreviation of “sexual intercourse”]
1930    drive-in
1931    Mickey Mouse
[as an adjective meaning “inauthentic”  or “worthless”]
1932    bagel
1933    dumb down
1934    pesticide
1935    racism
1936    spliff
1937    dunk
[in basketball, to push the ball down through the basket]
1938    cheeseburger
1939    Blitzkrieg
[from the German meaning a quick and decisive war]
1940    Molotov Cocktail
1941    snafu
[an acronym for “situation normal, all fouled (or fucked) up.”?The expression was meant to express a soldier’s resigned acceptance of the disorder of war and the ineptitude of his superiors]
1942    buzz
[a sense of excitement]
1943    pissed off
1944    DNA
1945    mobile phone
1946    megabucks
1947    Wonderbra
1948    cool
1949    Big Brother
[an apparently benevolent, but ruthlessly omnipotent, state authority.?The term was coined by George Orwell in the novel, 1984)
1950    brainwashing
1951    fast food
1952    Generation X
[a lost, disillusioned generation]
1953    hippy
1954    non-U
[a British term coined by Nancy Mitford in her book Noblesse Oblige to indicate lower social status.?“U” behaviour described the accepted conventions of the upper class]
1955    boogie
[as a verb, meaning to dance]
1956    sexy
[as an adjective meaning “interesting”]
1957    psychedelic
1958    beatnik
1959    cruise missile
1960    cyborg
[an integrated man-machine]
1961    awesome
1962    bossa nova
1963    peacenik
[a member of a pacifist movement, and (usually) also a hippy]
1964    byte
1965    miniskirt
1966    acid
[the hallucinogenic drug LSD]
1967    love-in
[as in sit-in]
1968    It-girl
[a girl who is sexually attractive]
1969    microchip
1970    hypermarket
1971    green
[concerned with protecting the environment]
1972    Watergate
1973    F-word
1974    punk
1975    de-tox
1976    Trekkie
[a fan of the TV series Star Trek]
1977    naff all
[Brit., meaning “nothing at all”]
1978    trainers
1979    karaoke
1980    power dressing
1981    toy-boy
1982    hip-hop
1983    beatbox
[an electronic drum machine]
1984    double-click
[as a verb]
1985    Ok yah
[a British expression parodying upper-middle class speech]
1986    mobile
[for “mobile phone”]
1987    virtual reality
1988    gangsta
[a gangster, particularly used in rap lyrics]
1989    latte
1990    applet
[a small application programme on a computer]
1991    hot-desking
[using office desks on a temporary basis to save resources]
1992    URL
abbreviation for “universal resource locator,” the ad­dress of a World Wide Web page]
1993    have it large
[to enjoy something to the full]
1994    Botox
1995    kitten heels
1996    ghetto fabulous
[ostentatiously fashionable and expensive]
1997    dot-commer
[someone who conducts their business on the internet]
1998    text message
1999    google
[as a verb, to use the Google search engine]
2000    bling bling
[used to describe the jewellery and luxurious life stye of rap artists]
2001 9/11
2002    axis of evil
2003    sex up
2004    chav
[a British term for a group of people pejoratively described as delinquents]


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Glossary

dressing up... roles - travestirsi e interpretare dei ruoli.

mushrooms - funghi.

to slip - entrare (per caso).

buzz words - parole di moda in un certo periodo.

teddy bear - orsacchiotto.

celeb - abbrev. di celebrity.

cheerio - ciao, arrivederci.

tailspin - avvitamento (di un aereo).

ceasefire - cessate il fuoco.

ad-lib - improvvisare (da ad libitum).

hem-line - lunghezza dell’orlo di una gonna.

bagel - specie di ta­rallo salato (v. foto).

dumb down - instupidire.

spliff - canna.

Molotov Cocktail - bottiglia Molotov.

pissed off - incazzato.

mobile phone - telefono cellulare.

megabucks - grande capitale di denaro (bucks, slang per dollari).

brainwashing - la­vaggio del cervello.

awesome - fantastico.

hypermarket - ipermercato.

F-word - eufemismo per ‘fuck’, conside­rato impronunciabile fino a pochi anni fa.

de-tox - abbreviazio­ne di ‘detoxification’, trattamento di disintossicazione.

trainers - scarpe da ginnastica.

power dressing - abbigliamento per ostentare la propria posizione nell’ambito lavorativo.

toy-boy - “ragazzo giocattolo” (un fidanzato – oppure un amante – più giovane).

latte - nel linguaggio delle grandi catene di caffetteria come Starbucks, la parola italiana è passata a indicare un lungo caf­felatte con panna.

Botox - prodotto usa­to in chirurgia estetica per il ringiovanimento della pelle.

kitten heels - tacchi a rocchetto molto bassi resi famosi da Audrey Hepburn negli anni ‘50.

text message - messaggio SMS.

sex up - rendere più sexy una notizia ‘gonfiandola’.