Welcome to NewsFeed’s weekly highlight of the vocabulary of our lives — including useful, new, hilarious and surprising words (as well as some that are just fun to roll off the old tongue).
New liquor lingo: “an Osama”
This bar offering, created in the wake of Osama’s death at U.S. hands and his subsequent burial in the sea, is simple to make: add two shots and a splash of water. The tongue-in-cheek concoction has been making the rounds on Twitter and the rest of the Interweb, though some may find it in bad taste (figuratively and literally, depending on the shots in question).
Other eponymous beverages: Leading up to Gov. Michael Dukakis’ presidential nomination in 1988, Democrats swigged “Cool Hand Duke” (and then presumably cried over it). Baseball legend Pete Rose had a chocolate-flavored drink simply named “Pete.” And in the wake of his misdeeds, a Plaza Hotel bar created the “Mel Gibson Bipolar Cocktail,” a gin and onion juice concoction said to be “Best served on the rocks — like Gibson’s career.”
Newest sad-but-funny nickname: Arnold Divorcenegger
As you’ve probably heard, one of Poliwood’s longest-lasting couples split. And to commemorate Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ending his celebrity marriage with Maria Shriver, Gawker bestowed upon him this moniker, a melancholy follow-up to the spirited “Governator” we’ve been using all these years.
Inside “celebrity marriage”: This term is used to refer to a marriage which is acceptable to enter upon for the sake of looks or workplace convenience and which has a typical shelf life roughly 1/10 that of a “normal marriage.” Eventual dissolution is expected.
Natural-disaster speak you need this week: cresting
As floods swamp the Midwest, the word crest will continually crop up, as it has been doing. When a river crests, it reaches the highest level it will before starting to drop. Of course, lower is better, and you’ll want to express hopes for quick crests. (As in, “That river will crest soon, good Lo’ willin’ the creek don’t rise.”)
Know your floods: We’ve all heard about floods and flash floods, and doubtless meteorologists have had emotional debates about where the line between them is, but this is what the Red Cross says: Floods take several hours or several days to develop, while flash floods take several minutes or several hours, usually developing within six hours of a “rain event” or levee breach, etc. (Now don’t say NewsFeed never helped you impress your really cool friends.)
Word you should really use more: tattarrattat
In a Twitter discussion about palindromes — those fancy words that are spelled the same forwards and backwards — @OxfordWords proposed this as a contender for the longest palindrome around. The word, describing the sound of a knock, is simply delightful to say and to type. It could equally well be used as the bass line for Jay-Z‘s next single, if chanted with some gruff.
More rap for word nerds: “Alphabet Aerobics” by Blackalicious is the coolest thing that ever happened to alliteration. “Artificial amateurs aren’t at all amazing. Analytically I assault, animate things.” Right through to Z. Booyah.