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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 13:01 GMT
E-cyclopedia's glossary of 2002
Many of the defining moments of 2002 spawned their own words and phrases. Once again we take stock of these additions to the news lexicon.


addition by subtraction - large scale redundancies (Nominated by reader Andrew D Smith)

E-cyclopedia records words behind the headlines
This is 2002's collection, with suggestions from readers
archery - telling lies, getting punished, and then writing a book about the whole crazy escapade

audit worship - the practice of creating pointless documentation and processes, just for the sake of meeting the "best practices" of internal audits (Nominated by reader Paul Willmott)

axis of evil - George W Bush's phrase for countries which he claims sponsor terrorism; initially included Iran, Iraq and North Korea, but later expanded to take in Libya, Cuba and Syria


back-slashing - the art of back-stabbing in a new media environment (Nominated by reader Jack, UK)

black special - the new red. The level of terror threat below amber, but just above normal (Nominated by reader Nick P, Newcastle)

bling-tastic - very flash, as in Daily Telegraph's description of Alicia Keys' fur coat. From bling bling, for extravagantly flashy, particularly diamond-encrusted, as favoured by rap stars

blogger - someone who keeps a weblog. Also blog, blogtastic, blogchalking, blogology, blogarithm

bollotics - a combination of nonsense and political correctness that annoys and amuses in equal measure (Nominated by reader Neil, Scotland)

burrell - a cock up no-one will admit to (Nominated by reader Mark Love)


cashback - an expression of joy usually associated with hearing good news (Nominated by reader Barnaby Moffat, UK)

chilled-out entertainer - what every boss should aim to be, following David Brent's school of management: "a friend first, boss second, and chilled-out entertainer third".

cold mechanical conceptual bullshit - modern art, according to culture minister Kim Howells, and specifically referring to the work of Turner Prize finalists, including a billboard describing a pornographic film, a suspended Perspex ceiling, an octagonal block with computer machinery inside, and some giant full stops

coup de grace - a new term in the City for gardening leave when you're sacked (Nominated by reader Toby Aldrich)

crawfishing - to back out of an agreement, as Saddam Hussein has done regarding previous undertakings, according to GW Bush. Nothing to do with global warming

chuggers - charity muggers, attractive young men and women who wear branded tabards and repeatedly stop passers-by in the street, asking them if they can spare two minutes for the homeless/environment/third world/elephants. They are the charities' response to falling contributions; an average direct debit gained by a chugger lasts six years


data entry monkey - an unfortunate species which loses seven hours each day typing variables into a PC. The result is then printed out and handed to countless other DEMs who perform an almost identical task. The vicious circle of DEMMING has begun. Do not confuse with Lib Dems. Also keyboard monkey (Nominated by reader Ed Wharam)

deskfast - breakfast designed to be eaten conveniently at one's workstation, ie a nice clean clinical muesli bar, not a greasy cooked breakfast. Good manners used to dictate that one would not eat on the move or in the office, but not now according to analysts. One said: "Young office workers are pressed for time and looking for a fast and functional breakfast solution." People used simply to "look for breakfast". Related to "no-think food", "one-handed food", and "commuter food"

dossier - a carefully-prepared government report for public consumption, which wants to sound more exciting than a carefully-prepared government report


euronating - what "spending a penny" will become if the UK joins the single currency (Nominated by reader GR Taylor)

exiting - to make redundant, cf resign (Nominated by reader Mandy, England)


firefighter - more glamorous sounding (and less sexist) than tradition fireman

FF8282 - the perjurer formerly known as Lord Archer of Weston Super Mare; his prison number which he adopted for publication of his prison diaries. cf HP6007, the amusingly Bond-esque prison number given to former spy David Shayler

flim-flam - criticism of Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, according to Mr Duncan Smith. The row over his sacking of David Davis was "nitty gritty and silly flim-flam", while talk of his baldness was "peripheral flim-flam". A linguistics expert said Mr Duncan Smith's turn of phrase was Victorian and "phonologically unappealing" (Nominated by reader Emma G, UK)

f****d - technical term in the British Civil Service for things having gone wrong. As used by Sir Richard Mottram, formerly of the Department of Trade and Industry, in his classic phrase: "'We're all f****d. I'm f****d. You're f****d. The whole department's f****d. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f****d." Also to be Mottrammed


generation text - those of the age who have thrown off the angst and rebellion of previous generations, and instead spend their time texting each other and comparing ringtones. (NB not related to 2001's Generation X-wing). (Nominated by reader Jim Downing)

grotto grooming - supposed tactic by paedophiles to dress up as Father Christmas to get access to children. Strict "no-touching, stay with an elf-witness" guidelines introduced for Santas at work in UK grottos


helicoptering - to rise above an issue and take a look at it from a business wide perspective, ie: trying to see the whole picture.

Hello?! - goodbye, as used by angel Charlotte "Voice of an Angel" Church: "**** this. I didn't agree to no meet-and-greet. Hello?!"


lifestyle guru - like Cherie Blair's friend Carol Caplin, someone to advise you on fashion, fitness and well-being. Also will help on property matters

listmania - media obsession to categorise anything into lists, be they musical artistes, memorable sporting moments, quotations, words of the year etc etc

logtastic - a general exultation, coined by former DJ Tony Blackburn on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. (An homage to "poptastic", the phrase used by Harry Enfield's Smashy and Nicey as being the typical kind of word DJs like Tony Blackburn used to say.) After the jungle, Blackburn said with typical understatement "Logtastic is sensational!". (Nominated by reader Jon, UK)

luxury flats fast track apartment blocks built cheap and sold extortionately (Nominated by reader Justin, UK)


make no mistake - a catch-all phrase, popularised by GW Bush, which is now used by officials and politicians of every level to imply a tough stance on an issue (Nominated by reader Jonathan Parker, Canada)

manufactured memory syndrome - remarkable ability of celebrities taking part in nostalgia documentaries to remember intricate details of events long past in uncannily similar terms

metatarsal - a part of the foot that few people had heard of, but which everyone in the UK knew about exactly for a few weeks. Now forgotten

McDonaldisation - process in UK universities where the syllabus becomes a fixed menu or contract between student and professor rather than starting point, according to Times Higher Education Supplement. (Nominated by reader Steve Webb, UK)

minging - adjective expressing disgust, apparently with its roots in the 1970s, but popularised by Big Brother 3 runner-up Jade Goody. (Nominated by reader GR Taylor, who adds: No offence intended to an ancient Chinese dynasty famous for its pottery, as far as I'm aware.) File with "kebab" and "lulu"

modernisation - variety of meanings, depending on point of view. Reader Shaun Barton says: "cutbacks"; reader Simon Colton says: "The new downsizing"


nasty, finger-wagging - how the country sees the Tories, according to party chairman Teresa May, and what it must stop being if it is to win elections in the future. Former chairman Lord Tebbit disagreed, saying that when the party was truly "nasty", it used to win elections

nuculer - a favourite of GW Bush (nominated by reader Joshua Cacopardo, who adds: "One can only hope that in his search for nuculer weapons he doesn't overlook the more common 'nuclear weapons' which seem to pose a greater threat.")


percussive maintenance - striking a recalcitrant piece of computer hardware in order to facilitate a successful reboot, and repeating as necessary

permanet - inspired suggestion for a new name for broadband, devised by BBC News Online reader "Daniel, UK" in response to Bill Thompson's plea for a replacement phrase which reflected broadband's biggest selling point, ie that it is always on

popbitch - a rumour surrounding a celebrity which may or may not be true. (Nominated by reader Softlad Machine, UK)

pop idle - a couch potato whose main appetite is reality TV programmes. (Nominated by reader GR Taylor, UK)

post-ironic - anything so obviously pretentious and really rubbish that the only thing to commend it is how pretentious it is. Examples include entries for the Turner Prize. (Nominated by reader Chris, Scotland)

pub culture - the working practices in offices where visiting the pub together before or during working hours is an important part of the curriculum. (Nominated by reader Ravi Motha)


quiet man - as in Iain Duncan Smith's speech to the Tory conference: "Don't underestimate the determination of the quiet man." Alternatively 1. an attempt by Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith to post-rationalise for his lack of public profile OR 2. illustration of the evils of Labour spin. You decide


reality fatigue - when ordinary people get bored with watching ordinary people doing very little on TV, leads to reality shows about ordinary people becoming more popular when featuring celebrities (Nominated by reader Tom Phillips)

reality TV - public execution (Nominated by reader Ken Lucas)

the real Middle Earth - the country formerly known as New Zealand. An NZ government minister has been appointed unofficial "minister for Middle Earth" to ensure the country capitalises on its new exposure (Nominated by reader Tony Smith)

regime change - what the US and UK seek for Iraq. Alternatively a synonym for 1. liberation, emancipation, liberty OR 2. overthrow, coup, revolution. You decide

resign -formerly something someone did. After the Stephen Byers/Martin Sixsmith row, it became something somebody did to you instead of sacking you; ie Sixsmith said: "I was therefore amazed to hear they had unilaterally 'resigned me'." (24 Feb 2002)


Scargillite - how Mr Blair reportedly described Fire Brigade Union strikers. Trade Unionists in turn described Mr Blair as Thatcherite

shoe-bomber - nickname given to Briton Richard Reid, the man who attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight using explosives in his trainers. Reid admitted being a member of al-Qaeda, and faces up to 60 years in prison. (Nominated by reader Ivor Wells)

singing for survival - the fate of young people desperate to succeed in television talent contests (Nominated by reader Katherine Russell)

sit-trag - televisual genre mixing tragedy and situation comedy, prime examples being I'm Alan Partridge and The Office

slashdotted - to have a website so overwhelmed by users that it temporarily goes offline (Nominated by reader Dreadz1, Barbados)

slideware - imaginary things contained in a glossy presentation, or as used by the Economist: "glowing overhead presentations given by software salesmen that rarely deliver what they seem to promise"

snoutcasts - people who are banished from their workplace because of their smoking habit and huddle around outside doorways (Nominated by reader Eric)

Spain - new name for Portugal, coined by Jade on Big Brother (Nominated by reader Alastair, UK)

step change - a change, or a step. As used particularly by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who announced step changes on housing policy, on transport, on sustainable development

stiffing - what Saddam Hussein is doing to the rest of us, according to George W Bush "...and so I'm going to call upon the world to recognise that he is stiffing the world". cf crawfishing

studentification - the process by which the proportion of students living in rented accommodation in particular suburbs of university cities or towns take over the area, typically leading to increasing numbers of video shops, pizza deliveries, off licences, and pubs being converted to theme pubs


taikonaut - a Chinese astronaut. China plans its first manned spaceflight in 2003; the word therefore likely to become more common (Nominated by reader Richard UK)

targetitis - the syndrome by which government decides its priorities and approach by setting specific targets for departments. More concerned with the setting of targets than the actual achieving of those targets

targetry - see targetitis. Phrase used by Cabinet minister Clare Short

transparency - universally used in government/business/legal circles instead of openness, honesty, accountability. (Nominated by reader John Young, who says: "This word is familiar to me as I have worked in photography all my life.")

tweenagers - young children (ie under 10s) who take on behaviour of older children, eg. having their own mobile phones, "allowances" and (according to Daily Mail) "boob tubes, off-the-shoulder numbers and bottom-skimming miniskirts"


überdeal - a big deal, particularly in business when the other party is continental. (Nominated by reader Colin Miles)

uptitling - tendency for employers to give workers grander-sounding job titles in lieu of pay rises, eg technical horticultural maintenance officers (gardeners)


value proposition - an idea (Nominated by reader M Harper, UK)


warchalking - the use of chalk symbols on the street to indicate where passers-by can access wireless networks. Coined by Matt Jones. Spawned blogchalking, pubchalking, chalkchalking (coined by Graybo)

weaponisation - what Saddam Hussein has increasingly been up to all this time, according to US, by which civilian production converted to military uses (Nominated by reader Nicci Gafinowitz)

weaponsofmassdestruction - a phrase which used to be four words, now rolled into one (Nominated by reader W A Hansen)

webliography - a bibliography of web sources (Nominated by reader Jack Robertson)

wreckers - people who are against reform, according to Tony Blair, speaking in February. Never quite clear who exactly he meant, although the trade unions felt it was directed at them. Coincidentally, wreckers had been Stalin's favourite enemies


404 - someone who's clueless. From WWW error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located

Some of your suggested additions so far:

webnesia - the act of loading a web browser, then instantly forgetting the site you were going to visit. A very common ailment.
Lee Monamy, UK

Weapons of Mass Consumption - 11mpg behemoths driven by those dedicated to eradicating the world's petroleum surplus.
Andrew Osler, United States

Theft - used by a cable television executive to describe skipping over advertisements on recorded programmes.
Dave, US

Blamestorming - sitting down after something goes wrong and deciding whose fault it is.
A Reader

Fahrenheit 404 - the temperature at which a Chinese internet cafe will mysteriously implode. Thought to be caused by excessive numbers of customers trying to access revisionist websites such as Google or Yahoo! (see Combustion Engine). Naturally results in all other Chinese internet cafes being closed for the safety of customers and health of the owner.
Terry, UK

Eurocreep - the process by which the government hopes that voters will get to love the single currency by using it while on holiday.
Ian Matthews, London

Bhangra - traditional Punjabi folk music (modernised) which made its first appearance on Radio 1 as a regular playlist feature thanks to Punjabi MC, after being popular amongst young Asians for some 20 years.
Anil Vij, UK

Delia (doing a ) - piece of gastronomical excellence; no second meaning intended.
Danny Eth, UK

Lame Academy - as in "he/she is a member of the lame academy" to describe a person who wastes their life watching reality TV shows.
Mike Abbott, UK

Weapons Of Mass Distraction - any topic, the promotion might distract the attention of the electorate from the right wing mugging of America, eg War on Iraq, War on Terror, tax cuts at time of massive budget deficits.
Dan McSweeney, New York

Do a Google - trying to find something on the internet via the search engine Google, that is otherwise hard to find.
Brandon P, US

Shoeicide bomber - or, if preferred, 'shuicide bomber' for Richard Reed.
Peter Rowsome, UK

Higher State of Awareness - the few days when a nation looks for unattended bags upon being told it should be in this state to help The War Against Terrorism. Not to be confused with reaching cosmic consciousness through mediation or by taking hallucinogenic drugs.
Callum Rodgers, UK

flashing 12:00 - newcomer to a workplace who has yet to be indoctrinated/assimilated into the company way. Taken from the display of a digital alarm clock just after it has been plugged in but before the time has been set.

plagiarhythm -To steal the tunes of rich pop stars by downloading them from the internet.
Terry Shaw, UK

unbeholden - divorced
Dave H, UK

deferentiate - to distinguish oneself through obsequiousness
Mark Brookes, US

thought showers - brainstorming or having meetings without an agenda
Scott Novak, UK

swoon merchant - a faint-inducing star such as Leonardo Di Caprio or Cameron Diaz
Natasha Kaplinsky, BBC Breakfast

give it up - "would you be so kind as to applaud?" Reader Pamela Smith writes: "I've heard of giving things up for Lent. But what do they want us to do?"

boomerang boy - an adult who moves back to live with his parents - perhaps after travelling in Australasia and "finding himself"?
Richard Immins

gamma detoxing - part of the result of staring at computer screens for too long
John, London

slacktivitst - an armchair (would-be) activist
Thom White, England

netritus - all the personal web pages uploaded to free web space two years ago that no one will ever look at
Doug, UK

brasstapsification - the process by which traditional English boozers are turned into trendy theme bars
Alan, England

tookies - (pronounced 'Two-keys') word used to describe this decade/century (from 2K). Replaces 'noughties' which is too puerile sounding for public use.
James Upton, UK

textasy - the variety of expressions on a mobile phone user's face when their phone goes off
Malcolm Jeffrey, UK

an Edwina - a dodgy curry that repeats on you

permie - a permanant member of staff - as opposed to the ever-increasing temporary (Temp) member.
Sue W, England

comnambulating - aimlessly walking up and down while using a mobile telephone.
Nigel Gregory, UK

America - Canada, according to Charlotte Church
Ludwig, UK/Singapore

Hussain's weapons of misdirection - England cricket team
Peter Gilbert, UK

fauxhemian - one who thinks that drinking lattes and living in Islington makes him an artist
Anna , UK

windows shopping - the art of retail therapy via the internet
Karen Williams, Peterborough

premier encore - US television term for a repeat
P. Martyn, US

Jacka-nacker-nori - exclamation of joy, usually accompanied by the movement of clenched fist, or fists, down and to the sides of your body. As used by David Brent
Spike, Newcastle, UK

T9 Slang - words created by accident while writing a predictive-text message
Russ, UK

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