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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 10:58 GMT
E-cyclopedia's glossary of 2001
Many of the defining moments of 2001 spawned their own words and phrases. At year's end, we take stock of these additions to the news lexicon.
alt.country - forget rhinestones, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, country music has been rebooted and it's cool, we're told. Alternative country singers such as Ryan Adams (no... Rrrr-yan) have been lauded by Elton John, no less.
asymmetric warfare - a conflict in which the two sides are not equally matched in strength, but where the weaker employs unconventional tactics, as in the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
blinking - the paper-thin euphemism of choice for dizzy Big Brother contestant Helen Adams during her flirtation with fellow house resident Paul Clarke. "I love blinkin', I do."
burka - the traditional Muslim cloaking garment forced on all Afghan women by the ruling Taleban. Discarded by many with the regime's fall, during the war the all-covering burka was de rigueur for foreign journalists (including John Simpson) trying to sneak into Afghanistan unhindered.
chicken tikka masala - a day-glo orange curry dish invented in the UK, CTM combines traditional Indian tandoori chicken with a masala sauce suited to the British palate. The nation's most popular supper, CTM was hailed last April as the symbol of multi-cultural Britain by then-foreign minister Robin Cook.
civil society - tactic briefly endorsed by the Conservatives in the general election, which in essence proposed that many of the functions of the welfare state would be performed by charities or religious groups.
cutaneous - anything of or pertaining to the skin, but "cutaneous" reached beyond medical circles with the posting of anthrax-tainted letters in the US. Several people (including an infant) suffered cutaneous contact with anthrax pores, while five others succumbed to more deadly inhalation anthrax.
daisy-cutter - not the colloquial term for a low-flying cricket ball or baseball, but the world's largest conventional bomb. Used to devastating effect in Afghanistan, the 12-foot-long BLU-82 is filled with 5,700kg of explosive "slurry" which incinerates everything within a 600-yard radius.
detached - once reserved to describe houses, the word was given psychiatric overtones when Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell told journalists that Peter Mandelson was "curiously detached" while explaining his role in the Hinduja passport row. "There are things that Peter can't explain, can't explain even to himself."
emotional correctness - a variation on political correctness, in which people feel that peer pressure demands they react in a certain way. Ross Clark wrote in the Spectator on 22 October that emotional correctness had "come to paralyse some areas of public life and to restrict proper debate as to how we should handle the terrorist threat".
friends reunited - phenomenally successful website that does exactly what it says on the tin - it puts people who last saw each other behind the bike sheds back in touch. Now one of the UK's fastest-growing websites, and the couple who set it up to find their own friends have quit their jobs to work on it fulltime.
gastroporn - the tendency for celebrity cooks to use suggestive descriptives (eg a "tantalising" coulis) or flirty soft-focus photography in their TV shows and recipe books. Typified by the work of "Domestic Goddess" Nigella Lawson.
impeachment nostalgia - phrase coined by novelist Douglas Coupland to characterise depression following 11 September and a hankering for the era in which details of stains on Gap dresses were the main obsession of media and politics.
Jordan - the pneumatic glamour model (real name Katie Price) has managed to put her desert kingdom namesake in the shade. She stood for Parliament (and lost), loved Manchester United star Dwight Yorke (and lost him, too), but will keep what she says is their unborn child. "It wasn't planned and it's come at the wrong time but what can I do about it?"
let's roll - the final words of Todd Beamer to a telephone operator before he and other passengers tackled hijackers on doomed United Airlines Flight 93. The call to arms was later adopted by President Bush's speech writers ("We have our marching orders. My fellow Americans, let's roll.") and immortalised on a bumper sticker ("Flight 93: Let's Roll!").
net babies - infants put up for adoption over the internet. Alan and Judith Kilshaw caused much moral disquiet when they paid £8,000 for American twins, Kimberley and Belinda. Their odyssey to keep the baby girls took the Kilshaws to social services, the courts and, of course, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
people's peers - the 15 independent life peers elevated as part of a reform of the House of Lords. Selected by the Appointments Commission to "better reflect the different experience and backgrounds" of UK citizens, the people's peers include a senior diplomat, an Oxbridge don, an oil company boss and a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
plane-spotter - a variation on the much derided train-spotter, so-called "aviation enthusiasts" brighten their lives by observing, photographing or cataloguing aircraft. Largely a British hobby. The Greek authorities detained a group of UK military plane buffs for a month, suspecting them of spying.
politically sound - a variation on political correctness, identified by writer Matthew Parris, who said that those on the right, like him, had their own version of "PC". Thus people who were being "PS" would say "Aids" even when its use was incorrect, they would say "country pursuits" instead of "blood sports", and would always say "chairman" instead of "chair" or "chairperson".
special relationship - the much debated bond between the UK and the US. Coined in World War Two, commentators had speculated that the phrase was doomed, with George Bush seeming an unlikely soul mate for Tony Blair. The relationship was re-invigorated by 11 September, as Mr Blair proved his stalwart ally credentials by vowing to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the US.
3G phones - several third-generation mobile phone networks were switched on this year in high-tech Japan, glamorous Monaco and... the Isle of Man. But will anyone use them? First 3G was hailed as a magnificent money-spinner, then as a technological marvel no-one would buy. Now commentators are cautiously saying customers may well like 3G phones after all.
White Stripes - Detroit musical duo Meg and Jack White (Siblings? A once-married couple? The jury's still out) were declared the "future of rock 'n' roll" by such arbiters of taste as NME, the Guardian and, of course, BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.
weblog - a log of webpages a surfer has visited and recommends. In 2001 the term also came to mean public online journals where cyber diarists let the world in on the latest twists and turns of their love, work and internal lives. "The majority ... are not all that interesting," says weblog-tracking psychologist John Grohol.
wi-fi - the catchier name for 802.11b, the wireless network standard tipped to have us all downloading audio, video and data without the need for pesky cables.
worm - replacing bug and virus, worm is the new word of menace on the web. Worms, such as 2001's Code Red and Nimda, are malicious programs which spread across networks looking for vulnerable machines to infect.
Some of your suggestions so far:
Text-dumping or m-dumping - a new way of getting ride of your boy/girlfriend by texting him/her
Moore-ing: the act of burying bad news.
Talibanisation - strict enforcement of oppressive, anachronistic rules in the name of religion
Fauxriental - orientally-themed furniture sold at large furniture retailers such as Ikea, often displaying Chinese/Japanese characters inappropriately (e.g. upside down).
Terrorgoating - using the events of 9/11 as an excuse for doing what was planned even before the attacks, whether that be a business' massive layoffs or government's excessive military spending (or even breaking it off with a lover).
Generation X-Wing - late 20/early 30-somethings who first saw Star Wars at an impressionable age. [See also 'Disillucased' - members of above group who were profoundly let-down by The Phantom Menace].
Leader envy - people in the US who wish Tony Blair was their President.
Euronating - the media hype over introducing the Euro.
e-metics - the sickening and systematic habit of prefacing words with e- to indicate internet activity; often used by lazy sub-e-ditors.
Bandwidth Bandit - a person who takes up all or the majority of available bandwidth of a shared network connection.
Euro-creep - increasing use of the euro beyond the eurozone.
9/11 for the WTC attacks.
E-sackings - act of staff dismissal via e-mail.
Potterphobia - fear of being bombarded by mega-hype surrounding the CS Lewis-lite Potter books and/or movie whenever you ventured out of your house, turned on your TV or radio, or read a newspaper.
Simpsoning - act of liberating whole cities single-handedly, armed with nothing more than a reporter's notebook and a detachment from reality.
Creeding frenzy - annual deluge of media coverage that damns the recently named Turner Prize winner and paradoxically proclaims that contemporary art is dead and anyone can create it.
Queen of Mean - quiz show host and byword for wives, ex-wives, and mother-in-laws.
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