Word Buzz Wednesday: kompromat, tori-tetsu, smound

bacon

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: compromising material, Japanese trainspotting, food that sounds delicious.

kompromat

“‘The Kremlin does not have ‘kompromat’ on Trump.’ That was how Russia rejected claims that it has compromising personal and financial information about US President-elect Donald Trump.”

Bryony Jones and Eliza Mackintosh, “What is Kompromat?” CNN, January 12, 2017

Kompromat translates from Russian as “compromising material.” The practice of gathering kompromat, says CNN, “is a well-known tactic in Russia.” To understand it, says Igor Sutyagin, senior research fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute, “you must first understand Russia’s political culture,” and that it’s  “standard for Russian politicians to gather kompromat on all members of their inner circle,” and even “a matter of survival.”

heckler’s veto

“Snyder, with the First Amendment Coalition, said that what happened at UC Davis on Friday may have been what’s called ‘the heckler’s veto.’”

Sammy Caiola, Hudson Sangree, Christopher Cadelago, “UC Davis embroiled in another free-speech controversy,” The Sacramento Bee, January 14, 2017

Heckler’s veto refers to “a controversial legal position taken by law enforcement officers based on an alleged right to restrict freedom of speech where such expression may create disorder or provoke violence.”

In this case, according to The Sacramento Bee, speeches by Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of the right-wing Breitbart News, and Martin Shkreli, best known for “raising the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent,” were canceled due to the perceived danger from the 150 protesters who had gathered, although “no weapons of any kind were confiscated.”

wet foot, dry foot

“‘Wet foot, dry foot’ allowed only those Cubans who made it to U.S. soil to stay. Those caught at sea were to be turned away.”

Adrian Florido, “End Of ‘Wet Foot, Dry Foot’ Means Cubans Can Join Ranks Of Undocumented,” NPR, January 15, 2017

In 1995, President Bill Clinton put in place the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, a revision of “a more liberal immigration policy,” says ABC, which allowed “Cubans caught at sea trying to make their way to the United States … into the country” and “to become legal residents after a year.” This was because the U.S. didn’t want to “send people back to the communist island then run by Fidel Castro, and the Cuban government also generally refused to accept repatriated citizens.” The “wet foot, dry foot” policy only allowed those who actually made it to dry land to stay while those caught on water were turned away.

tori-tetsu

“Then there are tori-tetsu like Muneki Watanabe and Katsuhiko Orido, 43 and 49, respectively, who spend many of their weekends taking photos of various trains.”

Anna Fifield, “Japan’s trains are in a league of their own. Japan’s subculture of train fanatics is no different,” The Washington Post, January 6, 2017

Tori-tetsu are train hobbyists and translates from Japanese as “take train.” In addition to tori-tetsu, says The Washington Post, are nori-tetsu, those who enjoy traveling on trains; oto-tetsu, those who record train sounds; eki-tetsu, those into studying about stations; and our favorite, ekiben-tetsu, “aficionados of the exquisite bento lunchboxes sold at stations.”

smound

“What you hear can change the way your cells process odors. The noise in your environment or in your mouth can impact the scents you perceive. Some members of the media dubbed this connection ‘smound.’”

Molly Birnbaum, “Taste with Your Ears,” Cook’s Science, December 19, 2016

Smound is a blend of “smell” and “sound.” Daniel Wesson, a professor of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University, tells Cook’s Science that when “you’re eating food, you’re not just tasting.” You’re smelling, “feeling the texture,” and hearing the food, and that it all comes together “to give you the unique perception you know as that food.”

Word Buzz Wednesday: nduja, democracy sausage, Ge You slouch

egg breakfast tacos with nduja, avocado, jalapeño salsa

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: a delicious sausage paste; a sausage word of the year; slouching into January.

raggare

“Going to a raggare meet feels like stepping out of a time machine. Attendees sporting slicked-back hair and leather jackets roll up in vintage hot rods, ready to spend the day drinking beer from the can and listening to Elvis Presley.”

Michele Debczak, “The Swedish Subculture Keeping 1950s America Alive,” Mental Floss, December 19, 2016

Grease meets ABBA in raggare, a Scandinavian subculture that originated in the 1950s as a form of rebellion, says Mental Floss, and has persisted ever since. The word raggare comes from the Swedish raga, “to pick up girls.”

nduja

“When chef Francesco Mazzei put nduja on the menu in London back in 2006, he had to add a note explaining what it was: a spicy, spreadable sausage from his native Calabria in southern Italy.”

Richard Vines, “What Is Nduja and Why Is It Suddenly on Every Menu?” Bloomberg, December 13, 2016

Nduja, in addition to sounding delicious, is pronounced in-DOOJ-ah, says Bloomberg. The sausage spread originated in the Vibo Valentia province and is made with pork fat, herbs and spices, and “spicy Calabrian peppers, which give nduja chili heat and a distinctive red color.”

white gold

“Mining companies have for years been extracting billions of dollars of lithium from the Atacama region in Chile, and now firms are flocking to the neighboring Atacama lands in Argentina to hunt for the mineral known as ‘white gold.’”

Todd C. Frankel, Peter Whoriskey, “Tossed Aside in the ‘White Gold’ Rush,” The Washington Post, December 19, 2016

White gold is another name for lithium, a metal that’s “essential for the lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles,” says The Washington Post. The ubiquity of these products “has prompted a land rush” in the ancestral lands of the indigenous Atacamas people of Chile.

democracy sausage

“The all-important democracy sausage is a staple at polling booths across the nation on election day.”

Alkira Reinfrank, “Democracy sausage snags Word of the Year as smashed avo, shoey lose out,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), December 14, 2016

Australia’s selection for 2016 word of the year, democracy sausage, first came into circulation in 2012, says ABC, “but rose to prominence during this year’s federal election.” One candidate noted his sausage sandwich (otherwise known as a sausage sanga and a snag) was “the taste of democracy,” then promptly ate said sandwich incorrectly.

Ge You slouch

“Chinese netizens coined the phrase ‘The Ge You slouch’ to describe a state of idleness which they called ‘living without hope.’”

Zheping Huang, Echo Huang, “The memes that took over China’s internet in 2016 speak to the country’s power and fragility,” Quartz, December 21, 2016

The Ge You slouch, which pretty much sums up January for us, is named for veteran actor Ge You, says Quartz, who once guest starred on a 1990s sitcom as a slouchy, freeloading scam artist.

Best of Word Buzz Wednesday 2016

Trophies

As you may know, the American Dialect Society is now accepting nominations for their words of the year. In addition to the big kahuna (last year’s was the singular “they”), they have categories for Political Word of the Year, Most Useful, Most Creative, Euphemism of the Year, and WTF Word of the Year.

In that tradition, we’ve devised our own (silly) categories for the best of Word Buzz Wednesday, our semiweekly roundup of interesting words in the news.

Weirdest Crime

express kidnapping

Back in August we wrote about these short-lived abductions in which abductors often force victims to pay their own ransom through ATM withdrawals.

Most Well-Deserved Eponym

Biles

Gymnast Simone Biles is our pick for the Most Well-Deserved Eponym of the year. The Biles is her signature move of “two back flips followed by a half twist, all with a straight body position and landing blind.”

Runners-up: Bowie bonds and Ophiohamus georgemartini

Bowie bonds, a 1997-coined term, popped up after David Bowie passed away in January. These asset-backed securities “awarded investors a share in [the singer’s] future royalties for 10 years,” says the BBC.

Ophiohamus georgemartini was a newly coined name for a deep sea brittle star found in the South Pacific. Named for Game of Thrones author George Martin, it bears a resemblance to a thorny crown on the cover of one Martin’s books.

Least Favorite -Sexual

ammosexual

In 2014 we learned about lumbersexuals. This year we weren’t so lucky: an ammosexual is someone who’s into firearms in a sexual way.

Another disturbing weapon term we learned this year was ghost gun, a kind of untraceable, “homemade” gun often not known to police until it turns up at a crime scene.

Most Disturbing Yet Important Word to Know

stochastic terrorism

Speaking of disturbing, this year we also learning about stochastic terrorism, which Rolling Stone describes as “using language and other forms of communication ‘to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.’”

Most Regrettable Portmanteau

regrexit

In June, British citizens voted to exit the European Union, otherwise known as Brexit. This was followed almost immediately by regrexit, regretting the Brexit.

In November, after a contentious election, California vowed to Calexit, or secede the country.

Most Self-Centered Portmanteau

meflection

Lili Loofbuorow at The Week suggested meflection — a blend of me and deflection — for Donald Trump’s habit in the presidential debates of using “just about any issue principally to aggrandize himself and deflect from the actual issue.”

Favorite Bro-manteau

BROTUS

BROTUS is one bromance we’re going to miss. We’ll have to make do with these Obama-Biden BROTUS memes.

Best Regionalism We Learned This Year

Philadelphia lean

We love a good regionalism, especially one about food or drink. The Philadelphia lean is what one does when eating a proper Philly cheesesteak, to avoid getting the “juice” of said cheesesteak on one’s shirtfront.

Most Delicious-Sounding Traffic Lingo

pork chop island

This delicious-sounding phrase unfortunately has nothing to do with a porkivore’s vacation getaway but a type of traffic island named for its shape.

Most Unnecessary Portmanteau

brunchfast

What we didn’t need this year was a blend describing what’s essentially another blend. So if brunch is a meal between breakfast and lunch, what’s brunchfast? A meal between breakfast and brunch? Whatever it is, we don’t need it, Jack in the Box.

Coolest Historical Term We Learned This Year

Hello Girl

We love the term Hello Girl, a nickname for switchboard operators in the late 19th century.  During World War I Hello Girls gained further recognition when women fluent in English and French were hired to aid in communication among American officers in France.

Best Old-Fashioned Insult

wazzock

Back in February, Conservative Member of Parliament Victoria Atkins called Donald Trump this North England slang term for “a stupid or annoying chump.”

Best Way to Describe Prince

superfunkycalifragisexy

In April, we lost Prince way too soon, but we’re happy for this word — a blend of funky, sexy, and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious — which we think best encapsulates the Purple One’s style, music, and funky, sexy something.

Best Excuse to Write About Beyonce

bama

A recent addition to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), this slang term got the spotlight earlier this year when Beyonce described herself as a “Texas bama” in her song, Formation.

The OED has a few senses of the word. The earliest is as a colloquialism for the state of Alabama and specifically, the University of Alabama, with its earliest citation from 1921: “Though Bama lost they realize that the Purple Tennessee Beast played the better brand of ball.” The derogatory sense of someone uncouth or unsophisticated from the rural South is from 1970 or earlier. Bama chukker refers to “a white person from the rural American South.”

Second Best Excuse to Write About Beyonce

Becky

Beyonce brought attention to another slang term this year. In her single, Sorry, she sings, “He better call Becky with the good hair.” The expression refers to a woman who engages in certain sex acts, as well as the sex act itself.

Favorite Singlish Term to Be Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

sandwich class

In May, the OED added more than 30 East Asian terms, including the Hong Kong English sandwich class, a term for the “squeezed middle class,” those who can’t afford to buy private homes but earn too much to live in public housing.

Coolest Concept from the Netherlands

woonerf

Continuing in the borrowing category, we also love the woonerf, which translates from Dutch as “living street,” and refers to a shared space for pedestrians, cyclists, and, at times, very slow-moving cars.

Most Surreal Literary Genre

chaohuan

This Chinese literary term coined by novelist Ning Ken translates as “ultra-unreal,” and is intended to describe modern-day China beyond the genres of mystery, satire, and horror. Chaohuan could also very well describe the post-election landscape of the United States.

Word-Nerdiest Scandal

gridgate

And saving the word-nerdiest for last. In March, Timothy Parker, the editor of the USA Today and Universal crosswords, was exposed for having possibly plagiarized crossword puzzles from The New York Times.

What were your favorite — or least favorite words this year? Let us know in the comments!

What’s happening at Wordnik: Dating Advice, word nerdy gifts, PubWest 2017

News

Welcome to the latest roundup of what’s happening at Wordnik.

Dating Advice: Use your words

Thank you to Dating Advice for featuring Wordnik in their piece, “From First Message to First Date: Explore Wordnik’s Online Dictionary to Communicate What’s In Your Heart.” We certainly agree that words matter, and that using or spelling them incorrectly can be a real turnoff.

The word nerdiest gifts

You still have a little time to get the word nerd in your life the perfect gift. Check out this gift guide from our fearless leader Erin McKean at 20×200. The guide includes lovely prints; awesome books, such as Green’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathan Green and The Word Detective by John Simpson; and fun games.

Want even more word game ideas? Head on over to the latest issue of Logodaedaly, our word games newsletter, for 10 giftyworthy word games.

Finally, don’t forget: also available are Wordnik T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and adorable onesies as well as word adoptions. You can adopt a word in someone’s name. Plus your donation is tax deductible (where permitted by law).

Upcoming: PubWest 2017

If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area or just want an excuse to go, head on over to the PubWest 2017 publishing conference. Wordnik founder Erin McKean will be giving one of the keynotes. Register by January 5 to get the early bird discount.

To keep up with all things Wordnik, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Word Buzz Wednesday: reindeer rule, balikbayan, koumpounophobia

[xmas display]

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: Rudolph the law-abiding reindeer, a really big box of gifts, and button, button, who’s got the fear of buttons.

reindeer rule

“In the 1984 case of Lynch v. Donnelly, the court established a precedent that became known as the ‘reindeer rule,’ a legal standard that has governed public displays of holiday cheer ever since.”

Shaunacy Ferro, “The Legal Reason Why Public Christmas Displays Often Feature At Least One Reindeer,” Mental Floss, December 5, 2016

The reindeer rule is a nickname for a legal standard that governs “public displays of holiday cheer,” says Mental Floss. Basically it says that if you want to display a nativity scene at a place like a courthouse or public park, you’d better include “secular elements,” such as a reindeer.

balikbayan

“As the most iconic symbol of the Filipino diaspora, the balikbayan box serves as an emotional bridge between parents and siblings who part with their families to earn a higher wage abroad collectively known as ‘Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW).”

Anne Quito, “The ultimate 100-lb. gift box Filipinos send their relatives every Christmas,” Quartz, December 7, 2016

According to Quartz, the word balikbayan “is a Tagalog compound word that translates to ‘return [to] country,’” and the balikbayan box:

is typically stuffed with a random assortment of everyday, household goods—canned meats, small electronics, gently used clothing, tubes of toothpaste, vitamins, toiletries, and of course, “imported” chocolates in bulk.

Quartz goes on to say that the “ordinariness” of balikbayan gifts is by design, and that perhaps “the assortment of seemingly random items convey a kind of intimacy among separated relatives,” mapping “migrants back into the household economy by reproducing their labor and participation in their absence.”

seasteading

“Variants on seasteading led to the founding of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with the caveat that conquest was involved, as these territories were not unsettled at the time.”

Tyler Cowen, “Go Wet, Young Man,” Bloomberg, December 7, 2016

Seasteading refers to “the founding of new and separate governance units on previously unoccupied territory, possibly on the open seas,” says Bloomberg. Seasteading plays on homesteading, the act of claiming “unclaimed” land, especially under the Homestead Act of 1862.

koumpounophobia

“Andy’s condition is called koumpounophobia. It is not as common as some phobias – but still affects around one in every 75,000 people.”

Sirena Bergman, “The misery of weird phobias: ‘In the office, there are buttons everywhere’,” The Guardian, December 5, 2016

Koumpounophobia is the morbid fear of buttons. People with this particular phobia, says the Guardian, “report losing contact with family and friends because they are unable to attend weddings and funerals, or abandoning their careers and doing jobs that allow for remote working or casual clothing.” In addition, “because of the ridicule sufferers are often met with, people tend to suffer in silence and phobias go untreated.”

While the suffix -phobia comes from the ancient Greek phobos, “fear,” koumpouno- may come from a modern Greek word meaning button, according to this thread. One poster says koumpouno “comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘bean’ (κύαμος, kuamos), which makes sense, because the ancients didn’t have buttons, but some buttons resemble beans.”

samizdat

“VHS tapes were easy to copy, so samizdat editions began circulating, and the video was prominently displayed in stores during the holidays because it was the most recent Christmas movie available.”

Sam Kashner, “How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition,” Vanity Fair, November 2016

Samizdat refers to “the secret publication and distribution of government-banned literature in the former Soviet Union”; “the literature produced by this system”; or “an underground press.” The word came into English around 1967, says the Online Etymology Dictionary, and comes from the Russian samizdat, which translates as “self-publishing.”

A close look at some “cozy” words

cozy

By now you might have heard about the Danish phenomenon, hygge, a kind of cozy contentment, which sounds heavenly on chilly winter days like these. That got us wondering about the English word cozy, where it comes from, and about other cozy words and expressions.

Some not-so-clear cozy origins

While we all know what cozy means, it’s not clear where the word comes from. The Online Etymology Dictionary says it started out as colsie, which is Scottish dialect, and might ultimately be of Scandinavian origin. For instance, the Norwegian kose seg means “to bask” or “be cozy.”

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), on the other hand, doesn’t mention the Scandinavian connection. While it agrees the word is originally Scots, “and perhaps northern English,” it proposes a possible connection with old meanings of cosh, “neat; snug; quiet; comfortable,” or “a cottage; a hovel,” or the Gaelic còsagach, “full of holes or crevices; sheltered, snug, warm.” But then it immediately shuts these theories down, saying neither “seems tenable.”

Regardless, the earliest meaning of cozy, again according to the OED, is in regard to people —  “Comfortable from being warm and sheltered; snug” — with the earliest citation from 1665 in a sermon by a minister named William Guthrie: “When Israel was Colsie at Home.”

The next oldest meaning is about place: sheltered and warm, or that which is warm and comfortable. The earliest recorded usage is from Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1786: “Then canie, in some cozie place, They close the day.”

The newest meaning of cozy is from the 1920s: “warmly intimate or friendly,” but also the pejorative sense of “complacent, smug.” The earliest citation is in a 1927 letter by English essayist Max Beerbohm: “We liked her very much. She isn’t exactly cosy, but she’s very spirited.”

More “cozy” words

How to keep that pot of tea warm? With a tea-cozy of course (or if you prefer your beverage warmers British, tea-cosy). The earliest recorded usage is from 1863 by scientist John Tyndall in his book Heat: A Mode of Motion: “It is not unusual to preserve the heat of teapots by a woollen covering, but the ‘cosy’ must fit loosely.” An egg-cozy is a similarly quilted covering but for, you guessed it, a boiled egg.

A cosy seat (1876), says the OED, is “a canopied seat for two, occupying a corner of a room,” while a cosy corner (1894) is “an upholstered seat which fits into a corner of a room,” or “such a corner, cosily furnished.” Cosy stove was a proprietary name for “a free-standing enclosed stove.”

One of our favorite cozy words is coze, “to be snug, comfortable, or cozy,” or  “anything snug, comfortable, or cozy; specifically, a cozy conversation, or tête-à-tête.” The term might have been coined by Jane Austen  in her 1814 novel Mansfield Park:

Miss Crawford appeared gratified by the application, and after a moment’s thought, urged Fanny’s returning with her in a much more cordial manner than before, and proposed their going up into her room, where they might have a comfortable coze. . .

One night say that cozy mysteries, also known as cozies, are Austen-like — light, humorous, and quirky, unlike darker and more violent traditional crime fiction. When and where the term originated, however, is, well, a mystery. This blogger uncovered some of the same findings we did, including this 1992 article in The New York Times: “Thrillers like Thomas Harris’s ‘Silence of the Lambs’ have incited a new wave of polite, ‘cozy’ mysteries, remarkable for their nonthreatening content and nonviolent characters.”

Earlier is a use in a 1986 magazine, San Francisco Focus (“Winn cites Christie as the doyenne of cozy mystery writers”), and a 1987 issue of Kirkus Reviews: “A sluggish attempt at writing a modern thriller in the style of an old-fashioned tea-cozy mystery, full of stiff upper lips and bracing cups of tea.”

Some “snug” sleuthing

A cozy word that might give coze a run for its money is snuggery, a British term for a snug, warm, comfortable place or position. The OED describes it as a small and cozy room, “into which a person retires for seclusion or quiet; a bachelor’s den.” Another meaning is “the bar-parlour of an inn or public-house.”

The word snug, like cozy, might be of Scandinavian origin. The sense of “compact, trim” is from the 1590s, says the Online Etymology Dictionary, and was originally a nautical term, especially meaning “protected from the weather.” This might have come from a “Scandinavian source” such as the Old Norse snoggr, “short-haired,” or the Old Danish snøg, “neat, tidy.”

The sense of “in a state of ease or comfort” was first recorded in the 1620s while “fit closely” is from 1838. And in case you were wondering, the the expression snug as a bug in a rug originated around 1769. Before then you’d have said snug as a bee in a box, which we’d argue sounds far less cozy.

Word Buzz Wednesday: post-truth, BROTUS, Muism

muism

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: an untruthy word of the year, a POTUS blend we’ll miss, a magical ancient religion.

post-truth

Post-truth, which has become associated with the phrase ‘post-truth politics’, was chosen ahead of other political terms, including ‘Brexiteer’ and ‘alt-right’ from a shortlist selected to reflect the social, cultural, political, economic and technological trends and events of the year.”

‘Post-truth’ declared word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries,” BBC, November 16, 2016

Post-truth is defined as “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals,” says the BBC. The term was first used in 1992, according to Oxford Dictionaries, with its frequency of usage increasing “by 2,000% in 2016 compared with last year.”

See also truthiness.

emolument

“If you’ve never heard the term emolument, it’s because it has rarely cropped up in the context of the US presidency in recent memory. Oval Office occupants in past decades have tried hard to avoid conflicts of interests.”

Ana Campoy, “There’s a word for the profit Donald Trump can make from being president,” Quartz, November 23, 2016

Emolument refers to payment of compensation for an office or employment. Quartz says the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution “bars office holders from receiving economic benefits from foreign governments.” Currently, “there’s a debate over whether the president-elect’s wide-ranging business dealings abroad violate that rule.”

The word emolument comes from the Latin ēmolumentum, “gain, originally a miller’s fee for grinding grain.”

BROTUS

“President Obama and Vice President Biden have long been open about their friendship and respect for one another, so much so that the POTUS bromance has come to be known as a ‘BROTUS.’”

Barbara Sprunt, “#MemeoftheWeek: The Best Of The Obama-Biden ‘BROTUS’,” NPR, November 15, 2016

BROTUS is a blend of POTUS and bro. Bro was first used to mean “a close male friend” around 1969, says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Bromance, an intimate yet nonsexual relationship between two men, is attested to 2001.

POTUS, an acronym that stands for “President of the United States,” was first used in 1895, also according to the OED. SCOTUS, Supreme Court of the United states, is slightly older (1879) while FLOTUS, First Lady of the United States, is much newer (1983).

pin-pen merger

“Weirdly enough, this accent class was called a ‘neutralization technique’ at Carnegie Mellon: theoretically, the idea is that it removes regional signifiers like the pin-pen merger.”

Dan Nosowitz, “How A Fake British Accent Took Old Hollywood By Storm,” Atlas Obscura, October 27, 2016

In the pin-pen merger, says Atlas Obscura, the word “pen” sounds like “pin,” and is “indicator that a speaker is from the American South.” The “fake” British accent made famous by the likes of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn seeks to eradicate regional signifiers like the pin-pen merger. It’s sometimes referred to as the Mid-Atlantic accent while 1940s elocutionist Edith Skinner called it “Good Speech.”

Muism

“While Christianity and Buddhism are officially the two biggest religions, Choi’s religious universe is a syncretic one, mixing the two religions with many shades of magical shamanism, or Muism.”

Ilaria Maria Sala and Isabella Steger, “A Rasputinesque mystery woman and a cultish religion could take down South Korea’s president,” Quartz, October 28, 2016

Muism, which comes from the Korean mugyo, “shaman religion,” is “the indigenous religion of the Korean Peninsula,” says World Atlas. Evidence dates the religion back as much as 5,000 years ago. Muism rituals “involve a shaman contacting the spirit world,” moving in and out of trances with his or her soul “leaving the body and traveling to other realms,” where, followers believe, “spirits help the shaman perform spiritual, psychological, and physical healing.”