Game of Words: Our 11 Favorites from ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6

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As always, here be spoilers.

It’s June so you know what that means: time for the Game of Thrones season finale. We’ve been gathering our favorite GoT words for a while now, and this year is no different. Here are 11 of our favorites.

UPDATE: We’ve added a couple of terms from the season finale.

Bay of Dragons

Daenerys: “Specific orders will be left for you regarding the welfare of Meereen and the Bay of Dragons.”
Daario: “The Bay of Dragons?”
Daenerys: “We can’t call it Slaver’s Bay anymore, can we?”

“The Winds of Winter,” June 26, 2016

In Vietnam you can find a real-life Bay of Dragons. Called Hạ Long Bay, which translates literally as Bay of the Descending Dragon, the bay is either named for the dragon-like sea creatures spotted by early explorers or, according to Vietnamese legend, dragons sent as protectors against invaders. The dragons spit out “jewels and jade,” which became the islands and islets of the Bay, linking together to form a wall.

Brotherhood Without Banners

The Hound: “They’re from the Brotherhood. They follow the Red God.”

“The Broken Man,” June 5, 2016

This season the Hound encounters the Brotherhood Without Banners, an “outlaw group” whose goal is to protect the smallfolk, or peasantry, “regardless of which King or Lord they support.” The Red God is another name for the Lord of Light or R’hllor. The BWB members the Hound runs into are renegades themselves, slaughtering a settlement of smallfolk rather than protecting them.

dosh khaleen

Ser Jorah: “When Khal Drogo died, she was supposed to come here and join the dosh khaleen, the widows of the dead khals.”

“Book of the Stranger,” May 15, 2016

Dosh khaleen translates from Dothraki as “council of crones.” These widows of slain khals, or clan chieftains, serve as seers for the Dothraki and “preside over the holy city of Vaes Dothrak.”

dracarys

Daenerys: “Dracarys.”

“The Battle of the Bastards,” June 19, 2016

Dracarys is a High Valyrian word that means “dragon-fire,” and is what Daenerys says to her dragons to make them unleash their blazey breath.

Heartsbane

Randyll Tarly: “See that sword? It’s called Heartsbane. Been in our family for 500 years. . . .It’s supposed to go to my first born son after I die. He will never wield that sword.”

“Blood of My Blood,” May 29, 2016

The word bane comes from the Old English bana, “killer, slayer, murderer; the devil,” and refers to “that which causes death, or destroys life,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Bane came to refer especially to poison, in particular poisonous plants such as wolfsbane, ratsbane, and dogbane. A later meaning is a cause of ruin or woe, as in “the bane of one’s existence.”

iron price

Euron Greyjoy: “I wasn’t born to be king. I paid the iron price, and here I stand.”

“The Door,” May 22, 2016

To pay the iron price means to have gotten something by seizure rather than buying out the other party. That shameful practice, at least among the ironborn, is known as “paying the gold price.” The iron price is a tenet of the ironborn’s traditional lifestyle, also known as the Old Way.

little birds

Cersei [of the children]: “Varys’s little birds.”
Maester: “Your little birds now, your grace.”

“Oathbreaker,” May 8, 2016

The little birds, mainly street children, are the network of spies once employed by Varys, also known as the Spider and the Master of Whisperers, and “adviser in matters of intelligence and espionage.” The name little birds might come from the idiom, a little bird told me, which itself might come from the Bible.

mhysa

Varys: “Mhysa means ‘mother’ in Valyrian.”
Tyrion: “I know what mhysa means.”

“The Red Woman,” April 24, 2016

Mhysa is, more specifically, Low Valyrian. The Low Valyrian spoken in Slaver’s Bay was influenced by Old Ghiscari, an ancient language of which a few loanwords remain. Mhysa is one of them. The High Valyrian word for mother is muña. Muño ēngos means “mother tongue”; muñar means “parents”; and Muña Zaldrīzoti is “the Mother of Dragons.”

nameday

Tyrion [to the dragons]: “When I was a child, my uncle asked what gift I wanted for my nameday. I begged him for one of you.”

“Home,” May 1, 2016

A nameday in Game of Thrones land is basically the same as a birthday since Seven Kingdom-ers receive their names on the day that they’re born. A name day in Christian faith is “the feast day of the saint after whom one is named,” as well as the day one is baptized.

take the black

Sansa [to Theon]: “When you take the black, all your crimes are forgiven.”

“Home,” May 1, 2016

When someone joins the Night’s Watch, it’s said that they take the black. The members of the Night’s Watch wear only black and are also referred to as the black brothers and, disparagingly, crows.

trial by faith

“After much prayer and reflection, the Crown has decided that from this day forward, trial by combat will be forbidden throughout the Seven Kingdoms. . . .Cersei Lannister and Loras Tyrell will stand trial before seven septors as it was in the earliest days of faith.”

“No One,” June 12, 2016

Trial by faith or trial of the faith is the idea of being tried by members of the Faith Militant. This is opposed to trial by combat, in which the accused and the accuser appoint fighters to battle each other to the death. A variation of trial by combat is trial by seven, in which each side appoints a team of seven fighters.

white raven

Sansa: “Jon, a raven came from the Citadel. A white raven. Winter is here.”

“The Winds of Winter,” June 26, 2016

While black ravens deliver messages, the white raven is sent from the Citadel specifically to announce the changing of the seasons, which, as every Game of Thrones fan knows, can last for years.

So what does it mean that winter is finally here? Comicbook.com breaks it down: previous to winter was the longest summer ever, “which many believed was an ominous portent of things to come,” such as an especially harsh winter, and with that the Night King and his White Walker army, and, as Melisandre warns, the Great War still to come.

Hail to the ‘Veep': Our 10 Favorite Words of Season 5

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Another crazy and hilarious season of Veep is coming to a close, and as per tradition, we’ve kept our ears open for the most interesting Veep-isms. Here are 10 of our favorites. (Warning: some spoilers and awesomely strong language ahead.)

UPDATED: We added an addition term from the season finale.

crappenstance

Selina [to Bob]: “See? Crappenstance calling.”

“The Eagle,” May 8, 2016

A happenstance is something that’s happened by chance or coincidence. Crappenstance, a blend of crap and happenstance, refers to something crappy that’s happened.

death bump

Selina: “Just out of curiosity, if I were to [mimes pulling a plug], would [the increase in approval ratings] end?”
Kent: “There is a possibility of a shorter-lived by numerically greater outpouring. If you will, a death bump.”

“Mother,” May 15, 2016

A death bump refers to a bump in approval ratings from the perception that a politician is grieving.

full-metal Nixon

Amy: “She’s becoming seriously unhinged. She has gone full-metal Nixon.”

“C**tgate,” May 29, 2016

The term full-metal Nixon seems to have been created by Michael Raysses in Daily Kos regarding Condoleeza Rice’s response to a child’s question about “the methods used by the Bush administration to get information from detainees”:

Going full-metal-Nixon in her response, Ms. Rice asserted that if an act was ordered by the President, it was per force not illegal.

The full-metal part of the term likely comes from full-metal jacket, a bullet encased in a copper alloy, and full-metal’s figurative meaning of going full force, perhaps to a manic degree. The Nixon part is based on a quote from the former president in an interview with journalist David Frost: “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Jimmy Carter

Selina: “Hey, I’m going to be president. So I can go take a shit in the Rose Garden if I want to.”
Ben: “We used to call that a Jimmy Carter.”

“Nev-AD-a,” May 1, 2016

The term Rose Garden strategy or campaign refers to when an incumbent president stays in the White House — perhaps in the Rose Garden, which borders the Oval Office and West Wing — rather than hits the campaign road, using “pressing White House business” as an excuse.

According to linguist Barry Popkik, the term was popularized in 1976 “when President Gerald Ford spent time in the White House to look presidential, rather than to appear on the campaign trail.” Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, then a relatively unknown from Georgia. Carter used the same strategy during his 1980 campaign, losing to Ronald Reagan.

The Red Room

Selina: “Here’s an interesting fact. Would you believe that it was called the Red Room before it was actually painted red?”

“Inauguration,” June 26, 2016

According to the WhiteHouse.gov, the Red Room was named for the red fabrics that “were used for the draperies, upholsteries and floor covering in the 1840s.” It met with controversy in 1876 with the “secret swearing-in of President Rutherford B. Hayes right after his hotly contested defeat of Samuel J. Tilden.”

sham ham

Catherine: “We just thought maybe we could have, like, a sham ham for Christmas.”
Selina: “What is that, sweetie? Is that like tofurkey?”
Marjorie: “No, ma’am, tofurky is cooked. This is a raw log made of mushrooms and soaked walnuts.”

“Camp David,” June 12, 2016

Other catchy meat substitute names include Fakin’ Bacon, wheatballs, and Phoney Baloney’s.

sparrow

Marjorie: “We’re clear. Bring in Sparrow.”

“The Eagle,” May 8, 2016

We can’t help but wonder if President Meyer’s Secret Service code name is a reference to the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones, another controversial ans powerful figure. Check out 11 more great code names from the Secret Service.

a tie is like kissing your sister

Gary: “My bowling coach used to say a tie was like kissing your sister.”
Selina: “Well this feels like my sister took a shit on my chest.”

“Kissing Your Sister,” June 19, 2016

The phrase, “A tie is like kissing your sister,” originated in the early 1950s and is attributed to Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz.

wet-fingered

Ben: “Qataris likes to assert themselves. They’re wet-fingered.”
Selina: “They’re into ass play?”
Ben: “They have a gift for sensing prevailing political winds.”

“Mother,” May 15, 2016

The term wet-fingered politics — with the idea of holding up one’s damp finger to feel for the direction of the wind — means voting according to public opinion or “political breezes,” as a 1991 article in Deseret News puts it.

The earliest citation we could find for wet-fingered politics is from a 1972 article in The Morning News of Wilmington, Delaware. “I’m against wet-finger politics,” said Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden at the time. “Testing public opinion before you do anything.”

whip the vote

Selina [to Catherine]: “I have to be here, sweetie pie, because I’ve got to call all of these congress people. Whip the vote….Mommy’s gotta whip. Whip it good. What is that?”
Gary: “Devo.”

“Thanksgiving,” May 22, 2016

Whip the vote might be a play on the game Whip the Vote. Created by Ryan Lambourn, the game “tasks players with negotiating Congressional votes as a Democratic whip.”

zitzilla

Ben: “Zitzilla just stomped all over Wall Street.”

“Morning After,” April 24, 2016

Zitzilla, a blend of zit and Godzilla, refers to a monster pimple Selina tries (unsuccessfully) to hide.

‘Downton Abbey’ Takes the Biscuit: Our Favorite Words of Season 6

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We don’t want to believe it but it’s true: Downton Abbey is coming to a close. We’ve been there since (almost) the beginning, collecting British idioms, cultural references, and plenty of anachronisms.

This final season doesn’t disappoint. Check out our favorite words and expressions from Downton Abbey, season 6.

crackers

Mary: “You don’t really mind, do you?”
Lord Grantham: “No, but I think it’s crackers.”

Episode 6, February 7, 2016

Crackers, British English slang for insane or crazy, has been around since 1925, the year this episode takes place. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term began as soldier and sailor slang — “To get the crackers, to go off one’s head” — and comes from cracked, “mentally unsound.”

But would Lord Grantham be using such a new slang term? Perhaps: he did serve in the military (although he wasn’t active in the trenches of World War I) and the word was widely used in print beginning in 1928, which means it might have been used in everyday speech shortly before then.

deb

Lord Grantham [to Mary]: “I suppose you were a widow after all and not a deb in her first season.”

Episode 1, January 3, 2016

Deb is short for debutante, a young woman formally introduced into society. While debutante entered English from French in the early 19th century, deb began as U.S. slang around 1920, says the OED. F. Scott Fitzgerald used debbie in his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise: “Tom and Amory had outgrown the passion for dancing with mid-Western or New Jersey debbies at the Club-de-Vingt.” In 1922, James Joyce used deb in Ulysses: “Josie Powell that was, prettiest deb in Dublin.”

hold onto your hat

Mr. Finch: “If you could just tell me who’s replaced him.”
Mary: “Hold onto your hat, Mr. Finch, but I’m afraid I have.”

Episode 2, January 10, 2016

Hold onto your hat or hang onto your hat means “get ready for something big.” The idiom has been in use since the early 1900s with the OED’s earliest citation from American journalist Damon Runyon: “Hang onter yer hat—th’ cavalry’s comin’ through!”

fatstock

Mary: “I thought all the fatstock shares took place before Christmas.”

Episode 2, January 10, 2016

Fatstock is a British term referring to marketable livestock and comes from the idea that farm animals such as pigs or cattle have been fattened for market. The term has been in use since either 1880 or 1812, depending on if you’re referring to the OED or Merriam-Webster, respectively.

golly gumdrops

Lord Grantham: “Golly gumdrops, what a turn-up!”

Episode 8, February 21, 2016

While we couldn’t find an exact origin of golly gumdrops, we assume it’s an alteration of golly, a euphemism for God or by God used to express wonder or surprise. Golly originated in the U.S. around 1743, says the OED. Another phrase involving gumdrops, goody gumdrops, is also a U.S. expression and came about in 1930.

I’ll say

Lady Rosamund: “This must be a strange and unsettling time for you.”
Bertie: “I’ll say.”

Episode 8, February 21, 2016

Used to express emphatic agreement, I’ll say originated around 1919.

Madame Defarge

Daisy: “’Not possible’? Don’t give me ‘not possible.’
Mrs. Patmore: “All right, Madame Defarge, calm down and finish that mash.”

Episode 4, January 24, 2016

Madame Defarge is a character from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities and a “tireless worker for the French Revolution.” In this episode Daisy is angered about the ill treatment she thinks her ex-father-in-law has received at the hands of the upper class, namely her employer Cora Grantham.

make a pass

Mary [to Henry]: “I hope this means you’re boiling up to make a pass before we’re done.”

Episode 4, January 24, 2016

The term to make a pass, to make a sexual or amorous advances upon, originated in the mid-1920s as U.S. slang, says the OED, and possibly by Dorothy Parker: “Men seldom make passes At girls who wear glasses.” Confusingly, the expression also means to make a threat of violence against.

medium smart

Mary [to Anna]: “Pack something for the evening. Medium smart.”

Episode 6, February 7, 2016

Smart here means “attractively neat and stylish,” as the OED puts it, or “relatively formal.” We couldn’t find any references for medium smart, beyond those for the show itself, but we’re guessing it means something like a little less formal.

prolix

Carson: “Before we take our seats, I believe, as the groom, that I have the right to a few words. I will not be prolix, but it must be right that I mark that I am the happiest and luckiest of men.”

Episode 3, January 17, 2016

Prolix is a rather stuffy term well-suited for Carson: it means overly long or wordy, and comes from the Latin prōlixus, “poured forth, extended.”

sex appeal

Lord Grantham: “What’s he got that fascinates Mary when poor old Tony’s rolling acres and glistening coronet didn’t? You’ll say sex appeal, but isn’t Mary too sensible?”

Episode 7, February 14, 2016

In addition to making us uncomfortable coming out of Robert’s mouth, the term sex appeal originated around 1904. Twenty years later, a verb form of the phrase arose: “She’d sex appeal me all right!”

singleton

Mary: “A table of singletons at our age. Well done.”

Episode 6, February 7, 2016

Anachronism alert! While the word singleton has been in use since the late 1800s, says the OED, it began as a bridge or whist term referring to the only card of a suit left in a player’s hand. About 20 years later it came to mean “a single thing” and “a single entry in a competition,” and 10 years after that, a child born from a single birth as opposed to twins, triplets, etc.

It wasn’t until the late 1930s, more than a decade after this episode takes place, that singleton came to mean an unaccompanied or unmarried person.

take the biscuit

Gladys Denker [to Septimus Spratt]: “Well, if that doesn’t just take the biscuit.”

Episode 7, February 14, 2016

The British idiom take the biscuit might be used to express surprise. In this scene, Denker’s having the opportunity to accompany Lady Grantham on her trip to the South of France is what takes the biscuit. The American expression take the cake could mean being ranked first, but is also an expression of surprise, either good or bad.

To make matters even more complicated, in Canadian English, to take or have the biscuit means to be of no further use or to be near death. The biscuit, says World Wide Words, refers to the Communion wafer taken during extreme unction, a Roman Catholic sacrament, and implies that if you take the biscuit slash wafer, you’re nearing the end of your life.

Not enough Downton Abbey for you? Check out our favorite words from more seasons past.

Game of Words: Our 14 Favorite Words from ‘Game of Thrones,’ Season 5

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Spoilers galore!

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The latest season of Game of Thrones is coming to a close. We’ve seen uprisings, great battle scenes, a giant we totally want to hang out with, another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad wedding, and finally — finally! — Dany flying on a dragon, even if it was a bit Falcor-esque.

And as with seasons past, we’ve been collecting the most interesting GoT words. Here are 14 of our favorites.

Black Wedding

“Game of Thrones is famous for its tragic weddings, but last night the show pushed that into even darker territory with what fans have dubbed ‘the Black Wedding.’”

Mallory Busch, “Twitter Was Not Okay with the ‘Black Wedding’ on Game of Thrones,” TIME, May 18, 2015

Another season of Game of Thrones, another horrible wedding. We’ve already had the bloody Red Wedding and the poisonous purple one. Now we have the Black Wedding to add to our GoT lexicon.

The Black Wedding is what fans have dubbed the nuptials between Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton, nee Snow, in the episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” The ceremony takes place in the darkness of the Godswood, but the situation turns even darker when Ramsay horrifically assaults his young bride on their wedding night.

dragonglass

Stannis: “You don’t look like a soldier. But I’m told you killed a white walker. . . .How?”
Sam: “With a dagger made of dragonglass.”

“Kill the Boy,” May 10, 2015

Dragonglass is Westeros vernacular for obsidian, a volcanic glass formed from rapidly cooling lava. The word obsidian comes from the Latin obsidiānus, a misprint of obsiānus, “lapis,” named after Obsius, the Roman who supposedly discovered the stone.

Dragonglass and Valyrian steel are the only two known substances that can kill White Walkers.

Faith Militant

Cersei [to the High Sparrow]: “In the days before the Targaryens, the Faith Militant dispensed the justice of the Seven.”

“Sons of the Harpy,” May 3, 2015

The Faith Militant are the barefoot and berobed army of the Faith of the Seven, the dominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms. The religious regiment was disbanded long ago by King Maegor Targaryen but has made a fast and furious comeback.

Author George R. R. Martin has said the Faith Militant are based on the medieval Catholic Church, complete with corrupt religious leaders, aggressive reformation, and one god with multiple aspects, in this case seven as opposed to the three of the Trinity of the Catholic Church.

Graces

Announcer: “Free citizens of Meereen! By the blessings of the Graces and her majesty the Queen, welcome to the Great Games!”

“The Dance of Dragons,” June 7, 2015

The Graces are priestesses of the Ghiscari religion in Slavers’ Bay. While they have yet to appear on the show (at least as of this penultimate episode), in the books they wear different-colored robes according to their hierarchy. Red Graces are “cult prostitutes,” or those involved with sacred prostitution; Blue Graces are healers; White Graces are “young girls of noble birth” with yet undetermined grace-y skills; and the Green Grace, of which there’s only one, is the high priestess.

greyscale

Gilly: “What do you call it in the south? What happened to your face.”
Shireen: “Greyscale.”

“The House of Black and White,” April 19, 2015

Greyscale is a contagious and often fatal disease that leaves the flesh scaly, gray (hence, the name), and “stone-like to the touch.” Princess Shireen Baratheon survived the disease, only to be left disfigured.

Greyscale might be likened to such real-life diseases as leprosy and ichthyosis. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is contagious and causes ulcers of the skin, bones, and organs, often leading to loss of sensation, gangrene, and paralysis. Ichthyosis is hereditary and characterized by “dry, thickened, scaly skin,” hence its nickname, fishskin disease. The word ichthyosis comes from the Greek ikhthys, “fish.”

High Septon

Cersei: “The High Septon‘s behavior was corrosive, as was his attitude.”

“High Sparrow,” April 26, 2015

The High Septon is to the Faith of the Seven as the Pope is to the Catholic Church. “As the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven,” says the High Septon shortly after being found in a brothel, “I give voice to the will of the Gods and I am their foremost servant in this world.”

You probably won’t find this definition of septon in traditional dictionaries. The Century describes septon as “a principle formerly supposed to be the essence of infection,” while the Oxford English Dictionary says it’s a name for nitrogen, “from its being regarded as the agent in putrefaction.”

A discussion at Wordsmith.org describes septon as a word commonly used in science fiction and fantasy to describe the leader of a sept, or a division of a family or clan. Sept is probably an alteration of sect, which comes from the Latin secta, “course, school of thought.”

House of Black and White

Ternesio Terys [to Arya]: “The House of Black and White. This is where you’ll find the man you seek.”

“The House of Black and White,” April 19, 2015

Both a temple dedicated to the Many-Faced God and the headquarters of professional assassins known as the Faceless Men, the House of Black and White is so-called because half its door is ebony and the other half weirwood, which is white.

In the House of Black and White is the Hall of Faces, a crypt for the faces of the dead, which the Faceless Men use to change their appearance.

The Long Farewell

Tyene: “My dagger was coated with a special ointment from Asshai. They call it the Long Farewell. It takes time to work, but if a single drop makes contact with the skin, death.”

“The Gift,” May 24, 2015

The Long Farewell is native to the city of Asshai, which is to “the distant east of the Free Cities, Dothraki Sea, and Slaver’s Bay.” Other poisons of Westeros include Wolfsbane; Essence of Nightshade, a calming agent in small doses but fatal in large doses; and the Strangler, the culprit in King Joffrey’s wedding death.

Many-Faced God

Jaqen: “Lana is very impressive. Very industrious. She will make a fine servant for the Many-Faced God.”

“Hardhome,” May 31, 2015

In the books, the Many-Faced God is also known as Him of Many Faces, and is only called the God of Death in the TV series. The Faceless Men in particular worship this god and believe that the god “is unknowingly worshipped by most faiths, simply under different names,” and, presumably, faces.

Other gods with multiple faces include Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways, depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions, and Brahma, the creator god in Hinduism, depicted with four faces for each of the four Vedas, or sacred texts.

Master of Coin

Cersei [to Mace]: “As the King’s Master of Coin, I can think of no one more qualified.”

“Sons of the Harpy,” May 3, 2015

The Master of Coin is basically the royal treasurer of Westeros. The position was previously held by Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who was seen as a true money master, “always about to conjure up gold to meet the Crown’s demands,” but who was actually borrowing huge sums from the Iron Bank of Braavos, leaving the Iron Throne in debt.

Master of War

Kevan: “What mission?”
Cersei: “That is not your concern as Master of War.”

“The House of Black and White,” April 19, 2015

Unlike the Master of Coin, the Master of War isn’t a “real” position in the Small Council but one Cersei devised to offer to her uncle with the purpose of stacking “stack the Small Council with sycophants.”

Sons of the Harpy

Daenerys: “Sons of the Harpy. . . .They’ve never killed before.”
Ser Barristan: “It was only a matter of time, your Grace.”

“The Wars to Come,” April 12, 2015

The Sons of the Harpy are gold-masked anti-Khaleesi marauders, hell-bent on killing the queen’s army. The Sons’ masks resemble the Harpy, which “takes the form of a giant gold statue atop the Great Pyramid, aka Dragon Queen HQ,” and which Daenerys covered with “a black banner bearing the three-headed red dragon insignia of House Targaryen.”

But who are the Sons of the Harpy the sons of? Some believe they’re controlled by the Masters of Slaver’s Bay, who lost everything when Dany freed their slaves. A fan theory suggests the Harpy is the Green Grace, the Ghiscari high priestess of Slaver’s Bay.

The word harpy comes from the Greek Harpiya, “snatchers.”

Sparrows

Kevan Lannister [to Cersei]: “They call themselves Sparrows. Bloody fanatics.”

“The Wars to Come,” April 12, 2015

The Sparrows are the un-armed version of the Faith Militant. This extremist division of the Faith of Seven was originally formed in response to “the suffering being inflicted on the commoners,” and become the Faith Militant after Cersei appointed the High Sparrow, the leader of the Sparrows, as the High Septon, and gave the Sparrows weapons. Of course this ends up being to her own demise.

Stone Men

Tyrion: “Stone Men. Good luck stopping this spread of greyscale with prayer.”

“High Sparrow,” April 26, 2015

Stone Men is the moniker given to those severely afflicted with greyscale and who have been exiled in a colony in the ruins of Old Valyria, much like lepers were once exiled to such isolated places as the Kalaupapa Peninsula of Hawaii.

Leper colonies, leprosariums, and lazar houses are all places used to quarantine those with leprosy. The word leper comes from the Greek lepros, “scaly,” while lazar comes from the New Testaments’s Lazarus, the “beggar full of sores” who would rise from the dead.

Want more GoT? Revisit our favorite words from seasons three and four, and definitely don’t miss the musical.

A Glossary of ‘Veep': Our 10 Favorite Words

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There’s so much to love about Veep: the biting humor, the swearing, the hilarious actors, and of course the words. Enjoy 10 of our favorites as this latest season comes to a close.

AIDS-nami

Amy: “Hey, Egan, is somebody gonna get fired over this AIDS-nami?”

“Data,” April 26, 2015

AIDS-nami, a blend of AIDS and tsunami, refers to the disaster of a massive White House data breach which results in the Reddit-outing of an 8-year old girl with HIV mentioned in the President’s speech.

The word tsunami is Japanese for “seismic wave.”

backup booty

Gary [to Selina]: “Listen, you are Beyoncé, and his is backup booty.”

“Storms and Pancakes,” May 17, 2015

The backup booty in reference here is that of Tom James, Selina’s running mate and potential out-shiner. Gary might mean that James is merely a backup (booty) dancer to Selina’s Queen Bey, or a backup booty call, i.e., not the voters’ first choice.

cock-thumb

Ben: “Yeah, we just got to do a cock-thumb.”

“Joint Session,” April 12, 2015

A cock-thumb is when someone makes a radical suggestion in order to prompt the other person to make a more reasonable suggestion, which is actually what the first person wanted. In Veep’s case, the President’s office plans to propose “a radical cut to the military, cutting off the cock,” hoping that “the Joint Chiefs in turn propose their own more reasonable cut, cutting off the thumb.”

Colonel Kurtz

Amy [of Selina]: “She’s gone full Colonel Kurtz. Is she giving orders from under the desk?”

“B/ill,” May 31, 2015

The isolated, cruel, and possibly insane Colonel Kurtz is the main antagonist in the film Apocalypse Now, and is based on the character Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

friendered

Leon: “Are you seriously detaining me again? Am I being rendered?”
Ben: “No. You’re being friendered, so just please accept our compulsory hospitality.”

“Tehran,” May 3, 2015

Leon is an American journalist who has been detained in Iran, only to be further detained by the President to accommodate her schedule for a photo op.

Those who are usually rendered — or sent to countries outside the U.S. for interrogation, imprisonment, and sometimes torture — are untried criminal suspects. Both the U.S. and the United Kingdom are known to engage in this practice of extraordinary rendition.

Friendered means being rendered by friends.

half-ecuted

Sue: “He’s half-dead.”
Ben: “Half-ecuted.”

“Convention,” May 10, 2015

Half-ecuted, a shortening of “half-executed,” refers to the recent botched executions of several death row inmates. Since pharmaceutical companies don’t want to be associated with, well, killing people, death penalty states are having more and more difficulty obtaining the right drugs, and end up using new formulas in “untested doses.”

the Jonad files

Ms. Bennett: “Do you recall a document shared on the J-drive titled the Jonad Files?”

“Testimony,” June 7, 2015

The Jonad files — where Jonad is a blend of Jonah and gonad — is a “glossary of abuse” containing insulting nicknames for the hated (and very tall) Jonah Ryan. Such nicknames include Jizzy Gillespie, Jack and the Giant Jackoff, Wadzilla, One Erection, The Pointless Giant, The 60-Foot Virgin, Gimpanzee, Jonah Ono, Hagrid’s Nutsack, and Spewbacca.

Latina-geddon

Selina: “She’s a woman! She’s fucking ethnic!”
Amy: “This is Latina-geddon.”

“Convention,” May 10, 2015

The Latina-geddon referenced here is New Mexico Senator Laura Montez, the running mate of Selina’s opponent. Not only is Montez Latina-American, she’s brilliant, pretty, and charming, according to Selina. She also has the very un-PC moniker of “Sexy Mexy.”

The word Latina-geddon is a blend of Latina and armageddon, or the end of the world.

sale-bait

Dan: “Ladies, you are going to be our sale-bait.”

“Mommy Meyer,” May 24, 2015

Sale-bait is, as Amy puts it, “independent, well-educated young women. . .who also happen to be very hot to lure congressmen into the room in a way that is deeply feminist.” The word sale-bait is a play on jailbait.

Tangerine Dream

Mike [regarding his dyed mustache]: “I call it Tangerine Dream.”

“East Wing,” April 19, 2015

In his newfound fame as the President’s press secretary, Mike dyes his mustache bright orange. Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in the late 1960s.

One for the Road: The Words of ‘Mad Men,’ A Final Roundup

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Mad Men has always shown, perhaps this last half-season more than ever, that everything must come to an end — jobs, relationships, life, and yes, even our logophilic round-ups of the show.

So pour yourself a cocktail, light a smoke (actually, don’t), and enjoy these drinking terms, hobo words, and of course an anachronism or two.

battle royale

Peggy: “They all have their own toy. If we want enthusiasm, we should just have one toy.”
Stan: “Like a battle royale, just throw one in there, last kid standing gets the gig?”

“Time & Life,” April 26, 2015

Anachronism alert! While the term battle royal — that’s royal without an “e” — has been around since the 1670s, battle royale (with an “e”) didn’t come about until 1999 with the publication of the novel by Japanese writer Koushun Takami.

Both meanings, however, are the same — a fight involving many combatants —  with the added implication of a fight to the death for battle royale.

According to the Grammarist, the original battles royal were common as “huge boxing matches” in 17th and 18th century England. When they lost popularity, the big brawls migrated to the southern United States, and today exist “in the domain of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts.”

beer belt

Bill Phillips: “He lives in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio. Some call it the heartland. Some call it the beer belt.”

“Lost Horizon,” May 3, 2015

A beer belt (not to be confused with this snazzy accessory) is a swathe of countries or states where beer is the beverage of choice, or where it’s produced.

However, while certain countries in the UK and Europe have been referred to as the beer belt since at least the early 20th century, we couldn’t a reference to the beer belt of the U.S. earlier than 2014.

Other regional “belts” include the bible belt, parts of the U.S. dominated by Southern Baptist Convention or Protestant fundamentalism; the rust belt, an industrialized area with older factories, often no longer in use; the borscht belt, “the predominantly Jewish resort hotels of the Catskill Mountains”; and many more.

catch

Mathis [to Peggy]: “You’re a catch.”

“Severance,” April 5, 2015

While to be a catch, someone desirable for marriage or a relationship, might sound modern, the idiom has been around since about 1722, and comes from an early meaning of fish as someone desirable to catch or hook for matrimony.

catchphrase

Peggy [to Don]: “Have a big idea. Create a catchphrase.”

“The Forecast,” April 19, 2015

A catchphrase is widely-used phrase originally created as a slogan for a group, movement, fictional character, advertisement, etc. The term originated around 1837 with the idea of a group of words that “catch” attention.

Another catch- word is, well, catchword, a well-known word or phrase that encompasses some idea; a catchy name or slogan; or in printing, “the first word of a page printed in the bottom right-hand corner of the preceding page.”

Draw-a-Man test

Mr. McDonald: “Your little girl scored very low on her Draw-a-Man test.”

“Time & Life,” April 26, 2015

The Draw-a-Man test — now known as the Draw-a-Person test — was developed by American psychologist Florence Goodenough in 1926. In the current evaluation, the child is asked to draw a man, woman, and herself. The drawings are then assessed for absence or presence of features, amount of detail, and correct proportion.

The test’s validity has been questioned as there is low correlation between Draw-a-Person scores and other intelligence tests. In addition, since at least the 1960s, the exam has also been used as an indicator of schizophrenia.

go cry in church

Marie [to Megan]: “Let her go cry in church.”

“New Business,” April 12, 2015

Go cry in church is a dismissal of someone’s self-righteous complaints. In a cursory search, we couldn’t find the origin of the phrase. If you have any information, let us know in the comments!

Mildred Pierce

Roger [to Diana]: “Hey, Mildred Pierce, can I get the check?”

“Severance,” April 5, 2015

Mildred Pierce is a 1940s novel and movie about a Depression-era woman who supports her family by working as a waitress.

The Milk and Honey Route

“‘The Milk and Honey Route’ derives its title from a 1931 book subtitled ‘a handbook for hobos.’ It’s an apt point of reference for Don’s aimless wandering.”

Scott Meslow, “Mad Men Recap: ‘The Milk and Honey Route,’” The Week, May 11, 2015

The Milk and Honey Route: A Handbook for Hobos was written in 1930 by American sociologist Nels Anderson under the pseudonym, Dean Stiff. Anderson’s earlier study, “The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man,” was based in part on his own experiences as a migratory worker.

As for the milk and honey route, according to Anderson, it’s how “hobos” referred to the railroad. The original milk and honey route referred to the train that traveled from “Salt Lake City southward through the valleys of Utah,” an area which became “the greatest feeding ground” — or a land of milk and honey — for itinerant workers.

The phrase milk and honey meaning prosperity and abundance comes from biblical description of the Promised Land.

one for the road

Peggy [to Roger]: “This is the one for the road, okay?”

“Lost Horizon,” May 3, 2015

It’s popularly thought that the phrase one for the road, a final drink before departure, comes from “the supposed practice of offering condemned felons a final drink at pubs on the way to the the place of public execution in London.” However, no historical record supports this, says The Phrase Finder, and more likely it’s simply a colloquial reference to “a departing drink in English pubs.”

The earliest citation according to both The Phrase Finder and the OED is from 1939: “Propaganda should be employed to train and fortify public opinion in the condemnation of persons who drink before driving—above all to discourage the practice of ‘one for the road’.” The phrase was popularized by the 1943 Johnny Mercer song, “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road).”

person-to-person

Operator: “I have a person-to-person call for Betty Francis from Donald Draper.”

“Person to Person,” May 17, 2015

Person-to-person refers to a long distance phone call booked through an operator and “chargeable only when the caller speaks to an indicated person at the number reached.” The term, and presumably the practice, originated around 1919, says the OED.

Person-to-person calls still exist today, but, as a poster on Straight Dope says, “no one in their right mind” would actually place one. This type of call was useful in the past when long distance prices were exorbitant, but now with mobile phones and other technology, person-to-person calls are probably unnecessary.

Person-to-person also means direct communication between two people.

Want more Mad Men? Check out all of our Don Draper-esque posts.

‘Community’ Soup: 12 Best Words So Far

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Community is back next week (at least via Yahoo Screen)! And while we’ll miss Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley, we’re glad school is back in session for the rest of the Greendale gang — so glad we’re rounding up our favorite class Community-isms from Word Soups past.

accusational opposition disorder

Britta: “For our midterm, we actually get to diagnose a fellow student with something.”
Annie: “Don’t you do way too much of that already?”
Britta: “Accusational opposition disorder.”

“Contemporary Impressionists,” March 22, 2012

Accusational opposition disorder is a pseudo-psychology term for disagreeing with someone in an accusatory tone.

analogy

Jeff: “Somebody tell Britta what an analogy is.”

Britta: “I know what it is! It’s like a thought. . .with another thought’s hat on.”

“Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” March 15, 2012

The traditional definition of analogy is “similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar,” and “a comparison based on such similarity.” So “a thought with another thought’s hat on” is actually pretty close.

Britta

Jeff: “You probably just Britta’d the test results.”
Britta: “Wait, are people using my name to mean ‘make a small mistake’?”
Jeff: “Yes.”

“Horror,” October 27, 2011

An eponym is “a word or name derived from the name of a person.” Another example is bowdlerize, “to expurgate in editing by expunging words or passages considered offensive or indelicate,” named for Thomas Bowdler, “who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare in 1818.”

For even more eponyms, check out this list.

Changnesia

Dr. Kedan: “Changnesia is a fascinating and extremely rare disease on the forefront in psychological landscape.”

“Advanced Documentary Filmmaking,” March 14, 2013

Changnesia is “the complete loss of memory caused by sudden trauma that was, itself, also forgotten.” It’s named for, and perhaps only affects, one Benjamin Chang, Greendale’s erstwhile Spanish teacher.

Also known as “Kevin’s Disease” (Kevin being Chang’s amnesic name slash pseudonym), Changnesia is a blend of Chang and the Greek amnēsiā, “forgetfulness.”

It was also our selection for most ridiculous portmanteau-eponym of 2013.

copera

Cop: “Love is not admissible evidence! I’m working on a cop opera.”
Everyone: “Copera!”
Pierce: “Policial!”

“First Chang Dynasty,” May 17, 2012

Copera is a blend of cop and opera. Cop originated in 1704 as a northern British dialectecal meaning “to seize, to catch,” and may have ultimately come from the Latin capere, “to take.” Opera comes from the Italian word for “work.” Policial is a blend of police and musical.

Cop Rock was a musical police TV drama that aired in 1990 for a staggering 11 episodes.

deanelganger

Cop: “Of course. The head of security of Greendale Community College has kidnapped the real dean and replaced him with a deanelganger.”
Jeff: “Well, when you say it that way, it sounds ridiculous.”
Troy: “The word we used was doppeldeaner.”

“First Chang Dynasty,” May 17, 2012

Deanelganger is a blend of dean and doppelganger, a double or apparition of a living person. Doppelganger translates from the German as “double-goer.” Sometimes doubleganger.

A deanelchanger, a blend of dean, doppelganger, and Chang, is a bell that Chang rings to summon the fake dean. Changer may be a play on clang, “a loud, sharp, resonant, and metallic sound,” and clanger, a British English word meaning “a blunder.”

deutschbag

Jeff [practicing foosball]: “I just thought the next time those deutschbags try to show off, I could catch them by surprise.”

“Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism,” December 1, 2011

Deutschbag — a blend of deutsch, German for the word German, and douchebag — is a douchebag from Germany.

dewhimsify

Troy: “We dewhimsified ourselves.”

“Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” March 15, 2012

To dewhimsify means to make less whimsical, “having odd fancies or peculiar notions.”

Whimsical probably comes from whim-wham, “fanciful object.”

Ferris Buellerian

Narrator: “Winger’s critics suggest he merely improvised hot-button patriotic dogma in a Ferris Buellerian attempt to delay school work.”

“Pillows and Blankets,” April 5, 2012

Ferris Buellerian refers to the titular character in the film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, who plays hooky and encourages his reluctant best friend to follow suit.

Hawthornes

Singer: “I’ve got a pocketful of Hawthornes.”

“Advanced Gay,” November 3, 2011

Hawthorne refers to the character, Pierce Hawthorne, who owns Hawthorne Wipes, a company that manufactures cleaning and disinfecting towelettes. It also refers to the wipes themselves.

A brand name that has become genericized is a metonym. Other trademarks that are often seen in semi-generic use are kleenex for tissues, xerox for photocopy, and saran wrap for plastic wrap.

hypernarcissosis

Britta [to Jeff]: “Without anxiety to keep your vanity in check, you are vulnerable to a syndrome called hypernarcissosis.”

“Contemporary Impressionists,” March 22, 2012

Hypernarcissosis, another pseudo-psychology term, is excessive narcissism or love and admiration for oneself. It contains the Greek hyper, “over, above, beyond, exceedingly, to excess,” and narcissism, which comes from Narkissos, the “name of a beautiful youth in mythology. . .who fell in love with his own reflection in a spring and was turned to the flower narcissus.”

reverse bully-ism

Jeff: “Oh please, not liking glee club doesn’t make us bullies, and implying that is reverse bully-ism!”

“Regional Holiday Music,” December 8, 2011

Reverse bully-ism, like reverse discrimination, places the normally dominant group, in this case the bullies, in the position of the victim (the bullied).

[Image via Collider]