Word Buzz Wednesday: dostadning, pard, four-way handshake


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: decluttering, Swedish death style; half a leopard; a not-so-secret handshake.


“These are some of the things that you ask during dostadning, or Swedish death cleaning, the new decluttering technique that promises to rid your life of extraneous objects.”

Hannah-Rose Yee, “The New Decluttering Trend Is Called Swedish Death Cleaning And We Tried It,” Whimn, October 3, 2017

The idea behind dostadning, says Whimn, is that “when people die they leave stuff” behind, and it’s up to friends and family to deal with it. So why not declutter as much as possible to lighten that burden for loved ones? In addition, Swedish death cleaning is “about a permanent form of organisation that makes your everyday life run more smoothly.”


“These books are veritable menageries of pards—scowling, snarling, and generally making a nuisance of themselves.”

Natasha Frost, “Just About Everything We Know About the Pard,” Atlas Obscura, October 13, 2017

While we now know leopards are “their own thing,” says Atlas Obscura, they were once thought to be a cross between a lion and what was called a “pard.” (In fact, that’s where the word leopard comes from, the Greek word for “lion” plus Greek for “pard.”)

What the heck’s a pard? Depends on who you ask. Ancient Roman philosopher and naturalist, Pliny the Elder, thought pards were male panthers, which are actually black leopards. Pards were also described as “having a “mottled coat,” speckled with white like a giraffe’s,” and being “swift and ‘headlong for blood,’” able to “kill their prey with a single leap.”


“Everything is a permanent advertisement for ‘chavismo.’”

Christine Armario, “Here is what’s at stake in Venezuela vote for governors Sunday,” Local 10 News, October 14, 2017

Chavismo or chavism is the political ideology and movement founded by the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

four-way handshake

“Focusing on the four-way handshake means that there are possible Krack attacks for most Wi-Fi enabled devices out there.”

Lily Hay Newman, “The ‘Secure’ Wi-Fi Standard Has a Huge, Dangerous Flaw,” WIRED, October 16, 2017

According to WIRED, the four-way handshake is a procedure that “determines whether a user attempting to join a network and the access point offering the network have matching credentials.” It “generates a new encryption key—the third communication in the four-step process—to protect the user’s session.” The Key Reinstallation Attack, a “newly discovered vulnerability,” lets a hacker “tamper with or record and replay this third message, enabling them to reinstall a cryptographic key that’s already been used.”

Katrina brain

“In the aftermath of Katrina, many survivors struggled with short-term memory loss and cognitive impairment, a syndrome dubbed ‘Katrina brain.’”

Christine Vestal, “‘Katrina brain': The invisible long-term toll of megastorms,” Politico, October 12, 2017

According to Ken Sakauye, a professor of psychiatry who was at Louisiana State University during Hurricane Katrina, “’Katrina Brain’ became a local term describing the fact that we couldn’t remember something as simple as a phone number after the hurricane.” While symptoms for most New Orleans residents “did not rise to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder,” they “did indicate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD),” including “anxiety, diffuse anger, guilt, and health worries.”

Word Buzz Wednesday: pseudoaddiction, Twinkie defense, gastfreundschaft

Twinkies: Comics Lied!

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: a questionable condition, a questionable defense, a cozy feeling.


“At one point, during an appointment to which Moore accompanied him, a doctor assured him that he suffered from pseudoaddiction—and needed not fewer opioids, but more.”

Esme E. Deprez and Paul Barrett, “The Lawyer Who Beat Big Tobacco Takes On the Opioid Industry,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2017

Pseudoaddiction, says Bloomberg, is a “questionable condition” in which: 

behaviors normally associated with addiction—requesting drugs by name, displaying a demanding or manipulative manner, or seeking out more than one doctor to obtain opioids—might be signals that a patient needs more pain medication, not less.

The concept was coined in 1999 by J. David Haddox, a pain doctor and employee of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the pain medication, OxyContin. The idea of pseudoaddiction was promoted in Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a 2007 publication “distributed by the Federation of State Medical Boards and co-sponsored by Purdue.”

bump stock

“Officials confirmed that Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had 12 rifles fitted with bump stocks in the hotel suite he used to stage his attack.”

Lois Beckett, “The NRA made a concession on bump stocks – but did we all just get played?” The Guardian, October 6, 2017

According to The Guardian, a bump stock is “a device that allows semi-automatic rifles to mimic the rapid fire of a fully automatic weapon.” While Democratic gun control advocates proposed an outright ban of the device and and some Republican Congress members might support the ban, the National Rifle Association (NRA) suggested only “additional regulations.”

Sixties Scoop

“A class-action lawyer is applauding the federal government’s decision to give Sixties Scoop adoptees financial compensation.”

Jillian Taylor, “Sixties Scoop settlement ‘in the best interest of all class members': Lawyer,” CBC News, October 6, 2017

The Sixties Scoop took place in parts of Canada in the 1960s, in which children of Aboriginal peoples were “scooped up” from their families and placed in foster homes or adoption. The practice seems to have been along the same lines of the residential school system that was in effect from the 1880s until 1996. The idea was to “educate” these children on “Euro-Canadian and Christian values so they could become part of mainstream society.”

Twinkie defense

“In reality, the Twinkie defense is a form of diminished capacity defense.”

Robin L. Barton, “Understanding the So-Called ‘Twinkie’ Defense,” The Crime Report, October 5, 2017

The Crime Report says the term Twinkie defense was coined by the media during the 1978 coverage of the trial of Dan White, “who was charged with murder for the shooting deaths of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.” The defense “presented evidence that White suffered from mental illness, including depression,” which was further exacerbated by his “excessive consumption of junk food—including Twinkies.”

Since then the Twinkie defense has become “shorthand for any defense in which the accused blames the consumption or use of some substance for his or her actions.”


“No matter what form they take, the common denominator for the best German bars — besides beer, wurst and sauerkraut — is a sense of what’s called ‘gastfreundschaft,’ says Marco Santomauro, the general manager of New York City’s Paulaner Brauhaus.”

Albert Stumm, “Best German bars around the world,” CNN, October 10, 2017

Gastfreundschaft is a German term that means cozy and homey, says CNN, but also “being surrounded by good people that you like.”

Word Buzz Wednesday: mood repair, CSI effect, 500-year storm


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: in the better mood, forensic fallacy, too many storms.

mood repair

“Even weirder is if you ask people why they’re sitting down in front of the screen in the first place or why they’re picking a particular television show or film, they’ll explicitly mention what’s known as ‘mood repair.’”

Jessica Firger, “Why ‘This Is Us’ Makes You Cry So Much,” Newsweek, September 29, 2017

Mood repair is the attempt to shift one’s mood from negative to positive, or to avoid negative feelings. While some mood repair strategies can lead to procrastination — “I imagine that cleaning my house is boring so I’ll watch TV instead”  — it can also be used to complete those dreaded tasks, such as imagining a clean house. The mood repair strategy of recalling positive autobiographical memories has been shown to improve sad moods.


“Hawkins said the welcome sign is part of what’s called wayfinding — giving the city its own brand and letting visitors and residents know what the community has to offer.”

Bob Gross, “Signs help St. Clair toot its own horn,” The Times Herald, October 2, 2017

According to the Society for Experiential Graphic Design, wayfinding refers to “information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space.” In cities, wayfinding involve “signage and information systems for both pedestrians and motorists, who each have unique challenges navigating streets and roadways.”

chicken pickin

“I’ve worked on different approaches to chicken pickin’ techniques for years, and I love to incorporate this distinct sound into metal-style solos.”

Mike Orlando, “Using Country-Style ‘Chicken Pickin’ in Metal,” Guitar World, October 2, 2017

Chicken pickin’, says Guitar World, is a “distinct country-style [guitar] picking approach.” It involves “hybrid picking,” a technique in which “one alternates between notes picked with a downstroke in a conventional manner and notes that are fingerpicked.” It’s perhaps named for the chicken’s pecking motion.

CSI effect

“Despite that, the shows have led to a so-called ‘CSI effect’ in court cases where jurors expect forensic evidence to be presented.”

Melissa Locker, “John Oliver Casts Josh Charles as ‘CSI: Crime Scene Idiot’ on Last Week Tonight,” TIME, October 1, 2017

The CSI effect refers to the expectation created by forensic television shows that “every trial must feature high-tech forensic tests,” says NPR, and that the lack of such tests might lead juries to wrongfully acquit guilty defendants.

500-year storm

“Allison was what’s known as a 500-year storm.”

Brittanie Shey, “Houston after Harvey,” Curbed, October 2, 2017

A 500-year storm or flood is one that has only .2% chance of occurring in any given year. Houston has already seen three 500-year floods in the past three years.

Word Buzz Wednesday: breeching ceremony, 386 generation, grave-casual


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: a big boy pants party, an activist generation, getting comfortable for the big sleep.

breeching ceremony

“Today, almost all Western children start wearing pants of some sort at an early age, but for centuries a little boy’s first donning of trousers was momentous, worthy of celebration. This meant a ‘breeching’ ceremony or party.”

Natasha Frost, “For Centuries, People Celebrated a Little Boy’s First Pair of Trousers,” Atlas Obscura, September 18, 2017

Back in the day, at least in Western society, boys and girls both wore dresses — that is until the boys turned between four and eight. Then out came the trousers, and with great fanfare. This breeching ceremony, says Atlas Obscura, “seems to have started in the United Kingdom sometime in the middle of the 16th century, and then made its way across the Atlantic with early European migrants.” By the early 20th century, the practice died off, “perhaps in part because changes in laundry technology made washing soiled pants—after inevitable childhood accidents—a bit easier.”

386 generation

“This translates into rage against Korea’s political left, much of which comprises what’s called the ‘386 generation.’”

Kelly Kasulis, “Inside Ilbe: How South Korea’s angry young men formed a powerful new alt-right movement,” Mic, September 18, 2017

On the cusp between baby boomers and Generation Xers, the 386 generation in Korea refers to those who were “in their 30s in the 1990s, went to college in the 1980s and were born in the 1960s,” says Mic. They were also known for “driving the democracy movement in the 1980s, which railed against oppressive dictatorial presidents who slaughtered protesters, censored the media and tortured college students.”


“In other words, people dying today are buried in what you might call grave-casual.”

Katie Heaney, “What Your Future Burial Outfit Says About You,” Racked, September 18, 2017

Think business casual, only deader. For baby boomers, says Racked, “self-expression is more important than social status or propriety,” even six feet under. So instead of suits and dresses, they might opt for “a beloved sweater, the jersey of a favorite sports team, or even jeans.” The term business casual, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, originated around 1968.

female athlete triad

“I don’t remember them ever talking about the female athlete triad or anything related to it. … It destroyed my collegiate career.”

Christine Yu, “The Condition That’s Quietly Sidelining Female Athletes,” Outside, September 15, 2017

The term female athlete triad seems to have originated in the late 1990s, says Outside. The American College of Sports Medicine described it as “three distinct conditions: disordered eating, amenorrhea (the absence of a period), and osteoporosis.” It “can contribute to long-term health issues like stress fractures, infertility, and impaired cardiovascular health.”

Pao effect

“That’s what some women have been doing since Pao filed her lawsuit in 2012, putting their careers on the line to call out companies and individuals that engaged in discrimination — and got away with it. In Silicon Valley, it’s called the ‘Pao effect.’”

Jessica Guynn, “It’s called the ‘Pao effect’ — Asian women in tech are fighting deep-rooted discrimination,” USA Today, September 19, 2017

Investor Ellen Pao is known for accusing her one-time employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, “of not promoting her because of her gender and retaliating against her for complaining,” says USA Today.

Asians and Asian Americans hold “41% of jobs in Silicon Valley’s top companies,” and while “Asian women hold fewer of those jobs than Asian men, they’re employed in far greater numbers than other women of color.” However, research has shown “that Asian women report experiencing as much bias, and sometimes more, than other women do,” and are the least represented demographic group “in the executive suite relative to their percentage in the workforce.”

Word Buzz Wednesday: hapax, sobremesa, coward’s castle


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: not to be confused with a horcrux, a delicious untranslatable, scared man in the metaphorical castle.


“The Satyricon contains a number of hapaxes, including ‘bacalusias’ (possibly ‘sweetmeat’ or ‘lullabies’) and ‘baccibalum’ (‘attractive woman’).”

Maya Nandakumar, “How Do You Decode a Hapax? (Also, What’s a Hapax?),” Atlas Obscura, September 7, 2017

A hapax legomenon, says Atlas Obscura, is “a word that occurs only once in a text, an author’s oeuvre, or a language’s entire written record.” Honorificabilitudinitatibus, being able to achieve honors, is one of Shakespeare’s most famous hapaxes. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, hapax legomenon translates from Greek as “once said,” where hapax means “once only” and legomenon is a form of legein, “to say.”


“When you do this at home, it’s wonderful. When you do this at a restaurant, at least an American restaurant, you may get dirty looks from your server.”

Robin Shreeves, “8 foreign food words English doesn’t have,” Mother Nature Network, September 7, 2017

Sobremesa translates from Spanish as “over the table,” says Mother Nature Network, and means to stay at the table chatting long after the meal is done. Other foodie untranslatables include the Telugu engili, meaning food that has been bitten into; the Norwegian uteplis, enjoying a drink in the subshine; and the Georgian shemomechama, continuing to eat when already full.


“The lead schoolgirl experiences ‘Wanchan Wandoki’ when her friends change her profile in a way that prompts her boyfriend to call her.”

Oona McGee, “Learn Japanese schoolgirl vocabulary with new video from Line,” SoraNews24, September 10, 2017

Wanchan is a transliteration of the English “one chance,” says SoraNews24. Other Japanese schoolgirl slang includes amore, “I love you,” and NHK, an acronym which comes from ni no ude, hippate, kiss, or “upper arm, pull in, kiss.”


“The day before I meet her a councillor under Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, called Gabrielle to ask whether she would consider organising the capital’s first anti-grossophobia (sizeism) day.”

Stefanie Marsh, “Gabrielle Deydier: what it’s like to be fat in France,” The Guardian, September 10, 2017

Grossophobia refers to the irrational fear of fatness or obesity. Grosso- ultimately comes from the Late Latin grossus, “thick, coarse.”

coward’s castle

“Shackles could be applied to the so-called ‘coward’s castle’ of unfettered parliamentary privilege following Rob Pyne’s repeated and unprecedented claims of local government corruption.”

Chris Calcino, “Rob Pyne’s repeated corruption claims under parliamentary privilege could lead to change,” The Cairns Post, September 7, 2017

Coward’s castle is Australian slang referring to parliament when it’s “used as an arena in which to vilify and abuse others while under parliamentary privilege.” The Online Etymology Dictionary says the term means “a pulpit,” because “a clergyman may deliver himself therefrom without fear of contradiction or argument.”

Word Buzz Wednesday: hurricane hole, door stacking, dragon booger

Photo via BGR

Photo via BGR

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: a port in a storm, a sorority pyramid scheme, Smaug snot.

hurricane hole

“Boaters have been trying to seek refuge at this marina because it is what’s called a hurricane hole.”

Kailey Tracy, “Local boaters dock in preparation for possible impact of Hurricane Irma,” WECT, September 4, 2017

A hurricane hole is “a port of refuge from powerful Atlantic storms; a safe haven; a secure anchorage, marina, or harbour, that has a reputation for offering protection from wind and waves.” The Wilmington Marine Center is considered a hurricane hole because it’s “almost entirely enclosed inland so that there’s no sea running,” says WCET, and “tends to break the wind a little bit.”

door stacking

“This is called a ‘door stack,’ and if you haven’t seen one in real life, you very well may have in one viral sorority recruitment video or another.”

Stephanie Talmadge, “The Sisterhood of the Exact Same Pants,” Racked, August 30, 2017

According to Atlas Obscura, door stacking is a sorority tradition in which new pledges form a pyramid in the doorway of the house, “singing welcoming songs to visitors and senior sisters,” and sometimes clapping and engaging in “jazzy choreography.” The practice has been banned by some colleges due to minor injuries that can occur when jostling for position or swinging heads around.


“Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, one of India’s so-called ‘godmen’, has as many as 60 million online devotees, and last weekend’s protest was not the first to turn violent in his defence.”

Ibbo Mandaza, George Nyrota, and Wendy Willems, India: Godmen, Con Men and the Media, Al Jazeera, September 2, 2017

Godman is used in India to refer to a “charismatic guru” or leader of a religious sect. They sometimes claim to have supernatural powers, such as healing abilities, clairvoyance, and telepathy. Recently, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a so-called godman with “as many as 60 million online devotees” was convicted of “raping two of his female followers.”

mind wandering

“This encourages what’s known as ‘mind wandering’, scientifically known to make creative insights more likely.”

Michael Bloomfield, “Forget about work and keep a dream diary: how to think creatively,” The Guardian, September 5, 2017

When your mind wanders, you stop paying attention to what you’re doing. This can be harmful. You don’t want to zone out when you’re operating dangerous equipment, performing surgery, or in the middle of a conversation. But purposeful mind wandering has been scientifically shown to help with creative insights, says The Guardian. A good way to do so, they suggest, is during “undemanding physical tasks” such as walking, cycling, or knitting (or showering).

dragon booger

“‘Dragon boogers’ go by many names. ‘Moss animals,’ for one, and ‘bryozoans,’ for another. They’re also known as ‘ectoprocta,’ meaning ‘anus outside.’”

Sara Chodosh, “Look at the mysterious ‘dragon booger’ found in Vancouver’s Lost Lagoon,” Popular Science, September 1, 2017

While it might resemble something Drogon sneezed out, a dragon booger, says Popular Science, is actually a colonial animal, or “many individual organisms that live together.” They can “wiggle around using tiny tentacle-y arms called cilia, which they also use to help usher food bits into their mouths.”

Word Buzz Wednesday: milkshake duck, soccer baseball, Westermarck effect


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: if it walks like a milkshake duck and talks like a milkshake duck; a descriptive Canadianism; kissing cousins, Game of Thrones style.

milkshake duck

“Perhaps the best example of milkshake duck is the tale of Ken Bone, the jolly man in the red sweater who asked a question about climate change at the 2016 presidential debate.”

Eve Peyser, “Corncob? Donut? Binch? A Guide to Weird Leftist Internet Slang,” Vice, August 22, 2017

This term was coined by comic artist Ben Ward, says Vice. Tweeting as Pixelated Boat:

The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist

In other words, “a random person gets their 15 minutes of viral fame, everyone loves them, and then their secret problematic past is uncovered.” Ken Bone “met his demise” when it was revealed that he had posted on Reddit “about how the murder of Trayvon Martin was ‘justified’ and his penchant for pregnancy porn.”


“What now? Meet ‘stashing,’ the newest relationship term to strike fear into our hearts.”

Cassie Murdoch, “‘Stashing’ is the newest way to get screwed over in love,” Mashable, August 21, 2017

Stashing refers to when, in a new relationship, everything seems to be going well, except that one party has yet to introduce the other to their friends or family, as though being stashed or hidden away. The Online Etymology Dictionary says stash was originally criminals’ slang from about 1797. Otherwise the origin is unknown.


“It’s believed that less than 1% of the US population has orthorexia, but the documented rates for those heavily involved in the wellness world—including yoga instructors, dieticians, and nutrition students—are, in some studies, as high as 86%.”

Rosie Spinks, “Is wellness culture creating a new kind of eating disorder?” Quartz, August 23, 2017

Orthorexia, says Quartz, is an “eating disorder not about thinness, but rather a moral or righteous fixation on consuming ‘pure’ and ‘clean’ foods.”

Steven Bratman, an alternative medicine practitioner, coined the term “in a 1997 article for Yoga Journal after he noticed that some of his clients, ‘had reduced the dimensionality of their human lives by assigning excessive meaning and power to what they put in their mouths.’” The word comes from the Greek orthos, “straight, correct, right,” and the Greek orexia, “appetite, desire.”

soccer baseball

“But nothing is so upsetting as the above map, which indicates that a large part of the country calls kickball ‘soccer baseball.’”

Barry Petchesky, “Attention: Half Of Canada Calls Kickball “Soccer Baseball,” Deadspin, August 25, 2017

According The 10 and 3’s online survey on “how Canada talks,” other Canadianisms include the Saskatchewan bunnyhug for a hooded sweatshirt; garburator, a genericized brand name for garbage disposal, in much of the West; and Kraft Dinner for macaroni and cheese, regardless of brand, in most of the country.

Westermarck effect

“It is the Westermarck effect, gone terribly wrong. It is a warning about what can befall the world when narcissism gets politically weaponized.”

Megan Garber, “Game of Thrones: About That Hookup,” The Atlantic, August 28, 2017

The Westermarck effect is named for Finnish philosopher and sociologist Edvard Westermarck, who posited that “people raised as siblings do not regard the other as potential sexual partners,” although of course sexing siblings, Jaime and Cersei Lannister, would beg to differ.