Wednesday Words: Secession, ‘Fat-Blocking’ Sodas and More

NewsFeed's weekly highlight of our vocabulary. Humans say the darnedest things.

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Screen grab from PepsiCo's Japanese website

secede (v.): to withdraw formally from an alliance, an association, a federal union, a political or religious organization.

This word was at the top of Google Trends today, due to the onslaught of secession-related petitions that unhappy citizens have started on the White House website — and the backlash of other petitions calling for the exile of all the people who want to secede. As satirist Stephen Colbert said in 2008, when a Florida group erected a giant Confederate flag following Obama’s election, “If at first you don’t secede …”

fat-blocking soda (n.): a carbonated soft drink that contains an additive meant to curtail the body’s absorption of fat.

In Japan, PepsiCo has released Pepsi Special, a “low-calorie, fiber-infused” soda that contains dextrin, which has been linked to lower fat absorption in rats. On Pepsi’s Japanese website, the so-called “fat-blocking” beverage stands before piles of greasy, fatty foods — as if to say, “If you live in Land of the Rising Sun, you don’t need to worry about rising cholesterol.” But the jury is still out on whether this drink can actually help people keep off the pounds.

oxblood (adj.): a deep red, tinged with brown, resembling oxblood.

New York Magazine has crowned oxblood the “color of the season,” describing it as the hue of “deep, red wine (somewhere between bordeaux and burgundy).” Children of the ’90s might alternatively refer to oxblood as the color of “when things go terribly wrong on the Oregon Trail.”

double Irish with a Dutch sandwich (n., slang): a tax avoidance technique employed by certain large corporations, involving the use of a combination of Irish and Dutch subsidiary companies to shift profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions.

This is the definition from Investopedia, which adds that the ol’ double Irish with a Dutch sandwich is “prominently used by tech companies because these firms can easily shift large portions of profits to other countries by assigning intellectual property rights to subsidiaries abroad.” Members of a British parliamentary committee recently criticized companies such as Google and Amazon for using such legal, if “immoral,” tactics.

ever-married (adj.): describing persons who have been married at least once in their lives although they may not be married currently.

In an USA Today article about Gen. David Petraeus and why “the powerful” cheat, Sharon Jayson interviews behavior experts who explain that big-timers are often risk-takers who have a sense of entitlement and think that “they control their destiny.” She also relays the statistic that ever-married veterans cheat at twice the rate of ever-married non-veterans. Sort of puts the logic of Army Wives in a whole new perspective.