A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.

By Nina Pajak

It’s my favorite thing that happens more often than I realized! When a dictionary — in this case, Merriam-Webster’s—updates to include a spate of new words which have, for better or worse, officially infiltrated the lexicon enough to merit an entry.

Like, as The Huffington Post reports, sexting.

Listen, if sexting wasn’t meant to be a genuine word, why would the universe have made sex and texting so easily and obviously combined, both in life and on paper? And what has Tiger Woods been doing all this time, anyway? I’m glad to see this valid hobby finally getting some institutional support. There were about to be some very confused and disappointed people out there.

More From Nina: Sexting Will Get You Nowhere

Also, the F-bomb. This is one of my personal favorites. It’s so evocative, so raw and good-natured. To accuse someone of cursing or swearing sounds judgmental. To euphemize the word into “fudge” or “funk” or “eff” is insufficiently powerful. To drop an F-bomb is to acknowledge that you are attempting to clear the room, in a manner of speaking, with your profanity. It puts the fun back in Fu . . . n! (This is not to be confused with the H-bomb, which is the phrase people from Harvard use to refer to that conversation-killing moment when they inevitably manage to slip in the name of their alma mater. You know, like within the first thirty seconds. This is also a real thing, though has no place in any dictionary of record. Sorry for the outing, Harvard friends, but I simply cannot get over this one.)

Then there’s flexitarian, which is used to describe a person who is basically a fake vegetarian. We all know these people. They like to talk about how they don’t eat meat for a variety of reasons—the ethics of modern-day farming, cruelty to animals, sustainability, health concerns, carbon footprints, hormones and additives—but are generally willing to bend on all of these very important principles if the right burger comes along.

More: NYC’s 7 Best Vegetarian Burgers

Also in the consumables category: craft beer, gastropub and energy drink, to further solidify our culture’s descent into perma-pretension.

More: NYC’s 10 Best Gastropubs

Then there is a smattering of some of the more ubiquitous phrases which generally cause me inexplicable levels of irritation: man cave, bucket list, life coach. I suppose they’re here to stay.

Finally, here’s one I’ve never heard before: obesogenic, which describes something (environment, trend) which promotes weight gain and obesity. Eg. I know I need to lose weight, but my obesogenic brain demands pizza all the time, and if I don’t comply it will shut down my cerebral cortex. Seriously. Don’t mess with that thing. I don’t want to drop an F-bomb here, but it doesn’t mess around. Good thing my flexitarianism allows me to eat what I want when I feel like it while convincing myself I’m maintaining a standard of health.

For a longer list, click here.


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

 Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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