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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January 2004, 10:07 GMT
E-cyclopedia's glossary of 2003
Many of the defining moments of 2003 spawned their own words and phrases. Now in its fifth year, the E-cyclopedia again takes stock of these additions to the news lexicon.

Use the form at the bottom of the page to add any choice words you've picked up through the year.


ambifootrix - as used by an ITV commentator during the Rugby World Cup, referring to Jonny Wilkinson's ability to drop goals with both feet
(Suggested by reader Mike, UK)

approximeeting - arranging to meet in a roughly-defined place at a rough time - the finer details can be sorted out when necessary via mobile phone

axis of weasel - those countries which led opposition to the war in Iraq, namely France, Russia, Germany and China; coined by a weblog and adopted by the mainstream media


Barker - as in Linda; annoying
(Suggested by reader Marcus Pickett, UK)

beagled - a feeling of anti-climax
(Suggested by reader Paul Kilduff, Ireland)

Bennifer - shorthand media term for the on-off-on showbiz couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
(Suggested by reader Jo Brough, UK)

Bernard - anyone mildly ineffectual or comic, according to writer Richard Curtis, who has a character named after Tory MP Bernard Jenkin in everything he writes, from Blackadder to Love Actually

Bliar - epithet for Tony Blair among those who believe he lied in the run-up to the war in Iraq
(Suggested by reader Stephen Fyles, UK)

bluejacking - sending an anonymous message from one Bluetooth-enabled handset to another
(Suggested by reader Kat, UK)

bobfoc - body of Baywatch, face off Crimewatch; a person with an attractive body but an ugly face
(Suggested by reader Minxie, UK)


car-rassment - how the government treats motorists, according to the Tories

cheese-eating surrender monkeys - stock epithet for the French in certain US circles, alluding to their culinary mores and distaste for military action; coined by Groundskeeper Willie in the Simpsons

Chelsea tractors - euphemism for four-wheel drive vehicles

Chelski - Chelsea Football Club, after its purchase by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich
(Suggested by reader Sam Tilakasiri, UK)

Chessex girls - posh society girls with un-posh tastes (eg fake tan and footie)

coalition of the willing - White House phrase for countries prepared to sign up to Iraq war, eg: US, UK, Spain, Australia, Italy

cohlinisation - having a normal name, but pronouncing it differently

complete Horlicks - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's quaint verdict on the government's handling of the "dodgy dossier"

criminal invader enemies - US and UK forces, according to then Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf


data smog - too much information, a new entry in the OED

de-Baathification - process of persuading Iraqi society that the old regime is over

decapitation - the single bullet theory to conquering Iraq, whereby assassinating Saddam Hussein would have also killed off his regime and delivered instant victory to the coalition

desk-Yeti - similar to a desk monkey (someone who spends all day working) but rarer; in fact so rare they have never been seen

did you see what I did there? - a phrase used to draw attention to a "subtle" joke or play on words, often accompanied by a smirk of self-satisfaction
(Suggested by reader Darren, UK)

dodgy dossier - the name for the government report into Iraqi weapons which used a student's thesis

dogging - enjoying, either through interaction or observation, the love of two or more people in an open air environment: "Usually in like woods or car parks or summat - they do it all using the internet and that," says reader Paul Marcroft, England


embed - shorthand for a journalist living and travelling with coalition forces in Iraq

emotional hijack syndrome - condition suffered by then Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, according to psychologist Jane Fairbank


fauxmosexual - young, Beckham-like man, who in terms of grooming, style, sensitivity and culture appears to be gay, but actually sleeps with women
(Suggested by reader Justin, UK)

flash mob - brief fad in the summer for spontaneous e-mail-organised groups to turn up somewhere, seemingly at random, and do a bizarre thing, then go back home to their computers

flatpack embassies - a UK plan to have everything needed to set up an embassy, such as desks, chairs, computers, food etc, stored in a container, ready to be deployed at short notice to a trouble spot anywhere in the world

freedom fries - US rebrand of French fries
(Suggested by reader Kate, UK)


gallery zombies - people walking round galleries or museums wearing headphones for audio guides, and seemingly oblivious to everyone else around them

ganfyd - get a note from your doctor: Used primarily by GPs to denote situations where, for no apparent purpose, generally healthy people have been instructed to have their GP write a letter/complete a lengthy form to that effect
(Suggested by reader Sarah, UK)

Granita moment - what the Tories needed to resolve their internal leadership difficulties, in which the leading players decided to let one person have a clear run

greengrocers' apostrophes - the mis-use of the apostrophe eg apple's, carrot's (also seen at garages as in: MOT'S available here)
(Suggested by reader Maura B, Wales)

Governator - term for the new governor of California
(Suggested by reader David, USA)


hammer time - start of war, as predicted by US Vice Admiral Timothy Keating. "Make no mistake, when the president says go - look out, it's hammer time"


idiocracy - the fooling classes
(Suggested by reader Anthony Tomkins, UK)

intexicated - drunken text messages will be sent by the inebriated
(Suggested by reader George, UK)

Iraqistan - the new US empire, according to the Economist


jdammed - on a personal or business level, being set upon and completely demolished unawares, as with a stealth weapon [based on Joint Direct Attack Munition]
(Suggested by reader T.E.D., US)


kinetic, going kinetic - military term for invading or bombing; shorthand for "kinetic targeting"

kippers - kids in parents' pockets exhausting retirement savings
(Suggested by reader Mick Waite, UK)



Mark 7 and 8 Mammal Marine Systems - dolphins, as used by Allied forces

mere doggerel - the insult "paki", according to one magistrate who ruled it was not criminally offensive; he was later overruled

merror - (pron me-ror, any reflective surface used by the vain to look at themselves
(Suggested by reader Dave, UK)

metrocentric - a world view formed by limiting one's contact with current affairs to free newspapers
(Suggested by reader Paul Torpey)

metrosexual - US term for fauxmosexual
(Suggested by reader Stacey Scott, Minneapolis, USA)

moab - acronym either for "mass ordnance air blast" or, unofficially, "mother of all bombs"; specifically a 21,000lb bomb which is the largest non-nuclear bomb; also has Biblical associations


new Iraq - Tony Blair's goal for the shattered Middle East state


OBE-sity - the giving of honours to people with fat wallets
(Suggested by reader Neil, UK)

old Europe - taken to mean France and Germany, as identified by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld


phishing - spammer's trick of sending out cod e-mails to online banking customers, purporting to be from the bank and asking for confirmation of passwords and PINs

political pawn - how David Beckham reportedly felt in the tussle of Spanish clubs trying to sign him

poxy moron - a person wearing a "happy to help" badge but who actually isn't anything of the sort (typically a zit-covered shop assistant who has no idea where anything is)
(Suggested by reader A Greenwood, UK)



rate tart - borrowers who transfer their overdrafts from one interest-free offer to another

recreational assistant - politically correct term for drug dealer
(Suggested by reader Julian, UK)

roadmap - initially the "plan" for peace in the Middle East, now used in business to mean any kind of plan
(Suggested by reader Chris Cooke, UK)


safety cameras - what road safety campaigners have taken to calling speed cameras

self-dating - euphemism for masturbating, according to GB Trudeau's Doonesbury

self-styled - euphemism for unfunny, as in "Aaron Barschak, the self-styled comedy terrorist"

sexed-up - for ever more the phrase for making something seem more interesting or compelling than it actually is

shock and awe - Pentagon buzz-phrase for an initial no-holds barred air assault on Baghdad; later considered as a name for computer game

simultaneity - Pentagon buzzword referring to synchronised air and land assault on Iraq

Sitcom - single income, two children, oppressive mortgage. The fate of yuppies when they have children and one stops working to stay home
(Suggested by reader Indy, UK)

ski-ing - spending the Kids' Inheritance

sneer television - programmes like Big Brother, according to social psychologists. It's "very good sneer television, and provides an opportunity for everyone to feel superior," said one

snip-snip - to advertise anything, everything and all sorts in between through the use of naff hand-signals and dubbed sound effects
(Suggested by reader Joe, England)

soft berets - sartorial code for UK forces in southern Iraq that embodies a non-confrontational approach to governing the region

spider-hole - place in which former dictators of Iraq reside.
(Suggested by reader Tim Saward, UK)


that country - France, according to UK ambassador to the UN, Jeremy Greenstock

tipping point - moment at which the regime in Iraq changes, according to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

total politics - what Tony Blair does, according to former Tory leader IDS; a parallel with total fighting in which there are no rules

trilogitis - psychological condition associated with the conclusion of film trilogies
(Suggested by reader Matt Korris, London, UK)


unknown unknowns - things we don't know that we don't know, according to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
(Suggested by reader Terry Jarvis, England)


vertically envelop - Pentagonspeak for invading by helicopter


wargamed - simulated attack on Iraq, according to General William Wallace. "The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we wargamed against"

webinar - a seminar or meeting held over the internet using audioconferencing and web connections for display of visual material.
(Suggested by reader Keith Marshall, UK)

whatever - retort commonly uttered by 11-18 year-olds in response to parents' efforts at civilised conversation
(Suggested by reader Nick Barnard, UK)



yellow bit, the - egg yolk, as coined by Jade in Celebrity Wife Swap
(Suggested by reader Richard Carr, UK)

yuppie food stamp - $20 bill from an ATM(Suggested by reader Chris Perry, US)


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E-cyclopedia's glossary of 2002
10 Jan 03 |  UK News
E-cyclopedia's glossary of 2001
20 Dec 01 |  UK News


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