Wednesday Words: Obamaloney, NASA Lingo and More

NewsFeed's weekly highlight of our vocabulary includes useful, new and hilarious words (as well as some that are just fun to say)

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David McGlynn

Obamaloney (n.): a pejorative term characterizing President Obama’s statements as absent of rationality or meaning. To be fair, Obama started it this time. The President characterized Mitt Romney’s tax plan as “Romney Hood” — a version of the Robin Hood legend that involves stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. Romney countered by calling the President an espouser of “Obamaloney”—defined by him as “a dish which is simply in contradiction with the truth.” (This election cycle has a rich history of meat-related mudslinging. See: pious baloney, desperate baloney.)

fiscal cliff (n.): foreseen changes in the government’s financial policies that it is feared could harm the economy; specifically, automatic spending cuts and expiring tax breaks. Congress has left town and hand-wringing about the fiscal cliff is back in headlines. Bush-era tax cuts are set to run out at the end of the year, and spending cuts–aimed at tackling the deficit–are scheduled to kick in about the same time. Before the “fiscal cliff” was common wonk parlance, legislators referred to “fiscal cliffhangers” and “fiscal cliffhanging.”

yestersol (n.): on Mars, the day before today; derived from Latin sol, meaning sun. The Associated Press put together a rundown of NASA lingo, so we can all talk about the Mars rover landing like those geniuses sitting around in California. Mars’ days — which are slightly longer than Earth’s — are referred to as sols: hence, yestersol. Other tidbits: The rover is nicknamed Curiosity but is officially called MSL–as in Mars Science Laboratory. And signals are sent through the DSN–as in Deep Space Network. As with most government endeavors, the more acronyms you throw in, the more street you’ll sound.

(PHOTOS: Martian Vistas: A Look at Curiosity Rover’s New Home)

hate rock (n., slang): musical genre associated with white supremacist groups; also skinhead rock. Hate rock rose to the fore in the post-mortem of the recent temple shooting in Wisconsin: the gunman had fronted for one such band. Hate rock singles are ideological songs often used as recruiting tools. “Hate rock spans several different types of music but is connected by an underlying commitment to white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology,” one expert explained to the Huffington Post. So on one level or another, it’s bound to be discordant.

library amnesty (n.): a general overlooking and pardon of past offenses by a the keepers of a library, esp. fines for overdue books. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the city’s first library amnesty in 20 years. It’s a chance for those people who have hoarded books and been blacklisted to bring them in and be forgiven. It’s like those pet amnesty days Florida hosts each year, but with more bookworms. Ba-dum!

MORE: The Town That Turned Its Wal-Mart Into a Library