In my defense, this is the era of word creation

The imagined voice of a past English teacher is haunting me. It’s telling me to revise an earlier post where I coined a word: crud-up. (Gunk that leaves your hands and attaches itself to the door or refrigerator handle that you just opened.) Back in the day, this act — inventing a new word — was a novelty. Today, it’s a triviality. I am older than most, so I still feel a pang of guilt when I disobey Merriam and Webster. This stands in stark contrast to the confidence displayed by Olympic Gold Medalist Skier Mikaela Shiffrin when she recently announced with bravado on NPR’s radio show Wait, Wait, Don’t tell Me: “I’m in the age of technology and creating your own words.” Mikaela Shiffrin is 19 years old. (What a great age!) She had me with those words. She proclaimed a generational truth: “me and my peers, we make our own words!” (It’s my peers and I, but I’ll hit the ignore button and banish Microsoft’s green grammatical error line with a new sense of freedom.)

So, let’s take a moment and consider the enormous dossier of words Millennials have created:

Facebooking. It’s a verb, which is supposed to be an action word, but facebooking is actually defined by the as “the act of wasting time by browsing Facebook.”

Bae: Before anyone else. You’d think everyone, but your bae would take offense to this. It says, not implies, that I would rather be with my bae, but he/she is not available right now so I’m with you. (Ouch.) Apparently, millennials are a tolerant bunch.

Basic: A person who has lost their individuality and follows the crowd is said to be basic. We’re still not sure how using the word basic, isn’t being basic.

Can’t even: There’s no time or need to finish the sentences. An example, “I can’t even.” Someone older might say, “I can’t even explain why this is an inappropriate sentence.”

Generic: Older folks, you probably like your generic prescriptions — they save you money. But being generic is not a compliment; you’ve gone from being basic — bad — to being generic — worse.

Fleek: Are you “on fleek” as Nicki Minaj and the Queen would say. If you immediately thought of the British monarch when you read the word queen, you really need to keep reviewing this list or better yet, give up now. (THE Queen is Beyoncé.) On fleek can be interchanged with “on point.”

YAAAS: This means yes, but it’s the word yes on steroids. It can be Yaas, or Yaaaaaaaaas for emphasis; the number of “a’s” is statistically significant — an enthusiasm indicator of sorts. The more you insert, the happier you are.

Ratchet: It’s hard to see where the Latin derivative might come from, but there is a remote correlation in usage. Ratchet means to do something in poor taste, like bringing a ratchet or hatchet into a restaurant. Today’s ratchet always implies down; one ratchets the situation down a notch, not up.

Perf: Again, like the city “too busy to hate”(Atlanta),this generation is too busy to finish words. It’s too time consuming and superfluous to finish the word perf and make it “perfect” because everyone knows what it is, fool.

The acronyms:

TBT, IRL, IKR, FTW, JK, TBH. It’s a quiz. How many do you know? (The answers are at the end.)

To summarize, in my defense, I would like to defend my word, crud-up. It’s not a contraction and not quite a portmanteau. I am willing to drop the dash and spell it “crudup,” as long as we don’t confuse it with Billy Crudup. (He is a fine actor and we don’t want to associate his name with gunk of any kind.) For the record, we did not create the word portmanteau. A portmanteau is a word that fuses two words together, like brunch, which is the fusing of breakfast and lunch, or smog, which is smoke and fog. If we can create a quasi-portmanteau word — crudup–right here on the STORD blog, then we are clearly anything but generic.

TBH, we are hoping the word STORD might appear on soon. Somewhere below the verbs facebooking or googling, we’d like to see the word: STORD.“I stord my stuff at my old roommate’s place. He was willing to keep my stuff, but not me. IRL.”

ACRONYM answers:

TBT: Throw Back Thursday. It’s an occasion to remember — and publicize through social media–the past.

IRL -In Real Life, this one is sometimes mistaken by baby boomers to be URL and they don’t know what that means either. Example: In Real Life. Did you just say URL and mean IRL? (Not good.)

IKR: I know, right? This is an acknowledgment of unity and agreement. Like, I get you.

FTW: For the win. Gamers stole this phrase from a previous generation of TV gamers, The Hollywood Squares. On the show, contestants would officially notify the host: this move is For The Win. For The Win is an optimistic phrase of accomplishment mixed with bravado.

JK: Just kidding. (We included JK because we wanted to make sure you got, at least, one right.)

TBH: To be honest. (Self explanatory.)

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