Wednesday Words: ‘LeBronning It,’ Groomzillas, Planking and More

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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).

Bitter sports slang: to LeBron it (v.)

The NBA finals might have finished last week with a loss for the Miami Heat, but discussion of LeBron “The Decision” James’ faltering performance is still heating up. Some taking joy in his failure to bring home the title have suggested that “LeBronning it” should mean “to not finish,” as in, “I started my homework too late and totally LeBronned it.”

It could be worse: Slang is only as powerful as it is popular, and while random sports fans might be using LeBron’s verb, no less a person than Barack Obama has said he wouldn’t “do a Tonya Harding,” meaning he wouldn’t use underhanded means to eliminate the competition—as Harding did when conspiring to take out a fellow figure skater’s leg in the 1994 championships.

(VIDEO: LeBron James: Making the Shot)

Proof that craziness is equal opportunity: groomzillas

We’ve all heard of bridezillas, those wives-to-be who would happily draw-and-quarter fellow shoppers to get the discounted dream dress. But word is the men are getting cray-cray too. On a Good Morning America segment entitled “The Rise of the Groomzillas: Planning Makes Men Go Wild” they report that the bridezillas’ “territory is being invaded by an unexpected partner in crime.”

Behind the rise: They speculate one of three motivations leads men to become groomzillas: wanting to have a say in something they’re paying for, getting in touch with their feminine side or simply craving control. “Honey, I’m off to watch the game with the boys, but if I come back and see so much as a HINT of a cascade in these bouquets, we are going to have WORDS.”

(PHOTOS: The World Watches the Royal Wedding)

Creative euphemism of the week: “limited kinetic operation”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said this on Sunday about American involvement in Libya: “The way I like to put it is, from our standpoint at the Pentagon, we’re involved in a limited kinetic operation,” as opposed to being “at war.” Kinetic has become parlance to describe operations with bullets and bombs, versus engagements like cyber-warfare. But to say it’s “limited” has muddled significance (so long as one bullet kills as well as two).

Waxing euphemistic: The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf, who felt Gates’ description deserved some satire, suggested “10 New Orwellian Euphemisms for the War in Libya,” including “A multilateral hazing rite to initiate Libya into the fraternity of free nations,” and “A support mission where America is a mere pit crew to the NASCAR drivers of NATO.”

(PHOTOS: Scenes from the Battle for Libya)

Social-media speak: planking

Planking, “the practice of being photographed while lying face down in an unusual or dangerous place so that the photo can be put on a social networking website,” started as an Australian phenomenon (see the Australian rugby player pictured above). But now that the fad has become so widespread that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey tried it, some are pronouncing it not-cool-anymore.

The next generation: The Thai government issued the following warning yesterday: “People, especially teenagers, are warned to perform planking carefully and appropriately. [It's been] reported that photos of some people performing planking in inappropriate ways, such as nude planking in fish tanks, bathtubs or in other public places, were widespread.” So don’t worry, plankers: If anything can breathe life back into a fad, it’s doing whatever it is naked in a fish tank.

(LIST: YouTube’s 50 Best Videos)

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