Word Soup Wednesday: moochacracy, mad as a hatter, take it on the arches

Welcome to Word Soup Wednesday! While the television show The Soup brings you “the strange, obscure and totally unbelievable moments in pop culture, celebrity news and reality TV,” Word Soup brings you those strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words from talk shows, sitcoms, dramas, and just about anything else on TV.

bug

Corcoran: “My leg’s been bugging me.”

“La Tempete,” Copper, September 16, 2012

Anachronism alert! While Copper takes place in 1864, bug meaning “to annoy, pester” originated in 1949, says the Online Etymology Dictionary. For more Copper anachronisms see Prochronisms.

bully pulpit

Nucky [to Margaret]: “My name is on that hospital, and it’s not to provide you with a bully pulpit.”

“Resolution,” Boardwalk Empire, September 16, 2012

A bully pulpit is “an advantageous position, as for making one’s views known or rallying support,” and was coined by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1904. (This episode takes place in the 1920s.) More words coined by U.S. presidents.

keen

Eli [showing his son a model airplane]: “Happy two birthdays ago.”
Will: “Pretty keen.”

“Spaghetti & Coffee,” Boardwalk Empire, September 23, 2012

Keen in this context means “great; splendid; fine,” and originated in the early 1900s.

mad as a hatter

Cullen [to Lily]: “Sober as a judge, mad as a hatter.”

“Purged Away With Blood,” Hell on Wheels, September 16, 2012

Mad as a hatter means “demented or crazy,” and originated around 1829, says the Online Etymology Dictionary, “supposedly from erratic behavior caused by prolonged exposure to poison mercuric nitrate, used in making felt hats.”

Mad as March hare is attested from the 1520s, via the “notion of breeding season.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with its Mad Hatter hare was published in 1865, the same year this episode takes place.

moochacracy

Jon Stewart: “Or the incredible tax breaks the government gives the investor class, whose money is taxed at a capital gains rate of 15% as opposed to ordinary having-a-job income which can be taxed up to 35%. Boy I wish we had a poster boy for that element of moochacracy. Oh right.” [Cuts to picture of Mitt Romney]

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, September 19, 2012

Moochacracy is a blend of mooch, “to get or try to get something free of charge; sponge,” and -cracy, “rule or government by.” Mooch probably comes from the Old French muchier, “to hide, skulk,” while -cracy comes from the Greek kratos, “strength.” Stewart continues:

In 2010, Governor Romney had an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million yet paid only $3 million in federal income tax, or 13.9%. Without the preferential investor tax code, Romney would have paid $7.56 million – a government subsidy of $4.56 million, or. . . .enough food stamps to feed Mr. Romney through the year 4870.

reboot

Diane Sawyer: “The Romney camp is said to be engineering a reboot.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, September 18, 2012

Reboot means “to turn (a computer or operating system) off and then on again; restart,” and originated in 1971, says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The noun form originated in 1980.

redistribution

Stephen Colbert: “[Obama] dropped the R-bomb! Redistribution, which is just fancy talk for ‘a black guy is coming for your stuff’! Here’s his vision for America, folks. You pay taxes into a single federal agency that pools it and redistributes it across the country to build roads and bridges, sometimes in states you don’t live in!”

The Colbert Report, September 19, 2012

Redistribution is “an economic theory or policy that advocates reducing inequalities in the distribution of wealth,” and originated around 1825, says the OED.

steamy

Eva: “You look steamy, Kevin. Can’t wait to pull those clothes off you later.”

“La Tempete,” Copper, September 16, 2012

Another anachronism. Steamy meaning “erotic” didn’t come about until 1952, almost 90 years after this episode takes place. Again, for more Copper anachronisms see Prochronisms.

take it on the arches

Woman [to Nelson]: “Take it on the arches!”

“Resolution,” Boardwalk Empire, September 16, 2012

Take it on the arches is “encouragement for one to move along and walk away via one’s foot arches.”

welfare queen

Jon Stewart: “That says nothing about the real parasites, welfare queens. Public assistance is clearly a path to dependency. I would like to see evidence otherwise.”
Video of Mitt Romney’s mother speaking of Romney’s father: “He was a refugee from Mexico. He was on relief-welfare for the first years of his life.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, September 18, 2012

Welfare queen is “a pejorative phrase used. . .to describe people who are accused of collecting excessive welfare payments through fraud or manipulation.” The term seems to have first appeared in a 1976 speech by then presidential hopeful Ronald Reagan.

That’s it for this week! Remember, if you see any Word Soup-worthy words, let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsoup. Your word and Twitter handle might appear right here!

Word Soup Wednesday: Creatrix, EKIA, hop the twig, and more

Welcome to Word Soup Wednesday! While the television show The Soup brings you “the strange, obscure and totally unbelievable moments in pop culture, celebrity news and reality TV,” Word Soup brings you those strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words from talk shows, sitcoms, dramas, and just about anything else on TV.

Creatrix

Bender: “What the hell’s a free will slot?”
Monk: “All robots have such a slot, placed there by the Creatrix herself.”

“Free Will Hunting,” Futurama, August 8, 2012

A creatrix is a female creator, where -trix is the feminine form of -tor. See also dominatrix, aviatrix, rixatrix, and more. Futurama’s Creatrix is also known as Mom, “the owner and CEO of MomCorp,” an Apple-like company.

EKIA

Sloan: “What does EKIA mean?”
Don: “Enemy killed in action.”

“5/1,” The Newsroom, August 5, 2012

The EKIA here refers to Osama Bin Laden. The full message that President Obama received was, “Geronimo EKIA,” where Geronimo was the code name for Bin Laden. Some controversy arose around this code name as Geronimo is “the nickname of a Native American leader considered by many to have been a hero and a freedom fighter.”

get

Maggie: “It’s what’s called a get. It’s promotable.”

“The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate,” The Newsroom, August 19, 2012

A get is, presumably, a hot news story, although some question “whether a real newsroom would consider [an interview with a high school classmate of Casey Anthony] a get worth fighting for.”

greater fool

Sloan: “The greater fool is actually an economic term. It’s a patsy. For the rest of to profit, we need a greater fool, someone who will buy long and sell short. Most people spend their lives trying not to be the greater fool. We pass him a hot potato, we dive for his seat when the music stops. The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools.”

“The Greater Fool,” The Newsroom, August 26, 2012

The greater fool theory, also known as survivor investing, “is the belief held by one who makes a questionable investment, with the assumption that they will be able to sell it later to ‘a greater fool.’”

hop the twig

Eva: “He’s put food in my belly and a roof over my head ever since we hopped the twig.”

“Slaughterhouse,” Hell on Wheels, August 26, 2012

While hop the twig more commonly means to pass away or die, it also once meant ‘to run away from one’s creditors, as a bird eludes a fowler, ‘hopping from spray to spray,’” which is the meaning in this context.

imagination inflation

Pierce: “It’s imagination inflation. The agents interrogating Brady told him he had stabbed the judge with the knife so that’s the false memory that he forms. But he didn’t do it.”

“Nemesis,” Perception, August 27, 2012

Imagination inflation refers to the phenomenon of believing a non-existent event has occurred as a result of having imagined it.

knocking shop

Madam: “How the hell are you two skinny chaps gonna protect my knocking shop?”

“Viva La Mexico,” Hell on Wheels, August 12, 2012

A knocking shop is a brothel. Knock was once slang for “to copulate with.” See knocked up.

mauvais dents

Kelly: “From what our ancestors wrote, it’s a vicious killing machine. One of them can wipe out an entire village. But you better be careful. Mauvais dents is like a cat. He’ll watch, he’ll wait.”

“Bad Teeth,” Grimm, August 13, 2012

Mauvais dents translates from the French as “bad teeth” of “bad fangs.”

meatbag

Bender: “Goodbye, sweet meatbags! Sweetbags.”

“Free Will Hunting,” Futurama, August 8, 2012

Meatbag is a derogatory term used by robots for humans. It was first used by Bender in Futurama’s first episode, “Space Pilot 3000“, which premiered on March 28, 1999. We couldn’t find an earlier usage, but if anyone finds one, please let us know.

RINO

Will: “I’m what the leaders of the Tea Party would call a RINO, Republican in Name Only, and that’s ironic because that’s exactly what I think about the leaders of the Tea Party.”

“The Greater Fool,” The Newsroom, August 26, 2012

RINO, pronounced like the animal, rhino, “is a pejorative term that refers to a member of the Republican Party of the United States whose political views or actions are considered insufficiently conservative or otherwise conforming to liberal positions.” While the term Republican in name only has been in use since the 1920s, the acronym arose in the 1990s.

rotgut

Elam: “That there the good stuff, not that rotgut y’all drank.”

“The Railroad Job,” Hell on Wheels, September 9, 2012

Rotgut is “bad or adulterated liquor, injurious to the stomach and bowels; in the United States, specifically, whisky adulterated with deleterious substances to cheapen it while increasing its apparent strength.” The term originated in the 17th century, and is especially significant in this scene as Elam’s drinking partner has a bleeding injury in his “gut.”

sardini

Zoidberg: “I’m having fun. . .and a sardini.”

“Viva Mars Vegas,” Futurama, August 22, 2012

Sardini is a blend of sardine and martini. Other martini blends include vodkatini, appletini, saketini, and our favorite, the bacontini.

sawbones

Doctor: “He needs a more qualified surgeon ma’am, not some battlefield sawbones like me.”

“The Railroad Job,” Hell on Wheels, September 9, 2012

Sawbones is slang for a surgeon, and originated around 1837.

That’s it for this week! Remember, if you see any Word Soup-worthy words, let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsoup. Your word and Twitter handle might appear right here!