Wednesday Words: Foodists, Stuff J.K. Rowling Says and More

NewsFeed's weekly highlight reel of the things people are saying.

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David McGlynn

foodist (n.): a pejorative term for a person who is pretentiously preoccupied with food.

In a column for the Guardian, Steven Poole argues that we need to pump the brakes on our “foodier-than-thou” culture. To this end, he proposes replacing the cutesy name foodie, a title that the food-obsessed proudly apply to themselves, with foodist. “I like ‘foodist’ precisely for its taint of an -ism,” he writes. “Like a racist or a sexist, a foodist operates under the prejudices of a governing ideology, viewing the whole world through the grease-smeared lenses of a militant eater.” Here’s betting that foodists embrace the slur as a badge of artisanal honor.

kickoff (n., slang): in high society, a smaller party that is put on to promote a larger, upcoming party.

New York City is the greatest. It’s also an exhausting marathon of poseurs and posturing, as we are reminded in the Wall Street Journal article titled “Partying in Anticipation of a Bigger Party.” Kickoffs are, apparently, often held at clothing or jewelry stores — where people who have never been invited to a kickoff probably can’t afford to buy anything.

aspic (n.): a savory meat jelly composed of and containing meat, fish, hard-boiled eggs, etc.

This is the type of word you need to know if you’re going to have a casual conversation with J.K. Rowling, the awe-inspiring creator of Harry Potter and author of the new adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. (TIME called it “brilliant,” by the way.)  “Language isn’t and shouldn’t be static, ever,” she said in an ABC News interview. “I’m the reverse of the person who wants to preserve it in aspic.” Preserving our words in meat jelly certainly does sound terrible. Or maybe delicious.

MORE: J.K. Rowling’s New Book: We’ve Read It, Here’s What We Think

brush-hog (v.): to cut down vegetation that could otherwise become invasive or overgrown.

There was some hubbub in Northern Ohio recently, when some Chagrin River Park visitors began to suspect that people were logging their trees. But it turned out that park officials were just doing some brush-hogging. (Classic mixup.) The practice, also called bush-hogging, is named after the type of rotary mower used to do it. Fun fact: brush hog has also been used as an insulting name for farmers and rustic people.

spear-phish (v.): to try to extract information from specific computer users, typically by sending messages that mimic familiar senders or patterns.

On Sunday night, the White House told Politico that someone had attempted to hack into an “unclassified network” by spear-phishing. Spear-phishing is a more targeted, individualized version of regular phishing. (Regular phishing might be a blanket attempt to get usernames and passwords from thousands of people by sending the same fake email.) Spear-phishing attacks that target especially specific, high-profile people are, fittingly, referred to as “whaling.”

MORE: Site Lets You Simulate a Facebook Hack, Goes Viral