Word Buzz Wednesday: aerotropolis, ballhawking, pork chop island

Museum Tower rendering seen with the Downtown Dallas Financial District to its left, Woodall Rodgers Urban Park rendering to its right, and the completed and illuminated Margaret McDermott Bridge rendering behind it and to the right, June 2010.

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: Airport City, USA; stealing balls; not a paradise for pork lovers.


“Drinkard’s vision is for a full-fledged offshore ‘aerotropolis’: a floating structure that, as well as being able to handle medium-sized airliners…[would] host a whole range of economic and research activities, from experimentation with renewable energy technology to aquaculture and yachting.”

Miquel Ros, “Floating airports: Could they finally become a reality?” CNN, July 4, 2016

According to World Wide Words, the term aerotropolis was coined in 2000 by John Kasarda of the University of North Carolina. The word blends aero, meaning “air, atmosphere; aircraft; gases,” and metropolis.


“Hample, understandably, took issue with my negative characterization of him and the wider ballhawking hobby, of which he is its most visible and most successful member.”

Barry Petchesky, “Against Ballhawking,” Deadspin, July 1, 2016

Ball hawk, says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), is U.S. sports slang for a player who’s skilled at stealing the ball, and specifically in baseball, a talented outfielder. The term originated around 1917. Ball hawk referring to a spectator who “specializes in catching home-run and foul balls” most likely came about later.

emergent gameplay

“When emergent gameplay works, it feels almost as if the player is conversing with the unseen creator, and in the case of Survivor, the producers play off the players to help introduce interesting new twists; some more successful than others.”

Matt Perez, “What Survivor Can Teach Us About Emergent Gameplay,” Kill Screen, July 6, 2016

Emergent gameplay is a design concept that “refers to a style of play not necessarily intended by the creator” and that allows for a robust range of solutions and “possible strategies for success.” In terms of video games, Technopedia says the concept refers to “mechanics that change according to the player’s actions.”


“In the case of what’s called ‘soft-titling,’ the subtitles are timed—sometimes by the translator—to an unsubtitled print of the film as it screens.”

Max Nelson, “To Surprise a Voice,” The Point, July 2016

Soft-titling is a kind of live subtitling in which the subtitles are projected onto the film while it’s being run rather than “burnt in” beforehand.

pork chop island

“A Preferred Concept image, designed by Fehr and Peers Transportation Consultants and obtained by members of Isla Vista’s PTA reveals the removal of street lights, modified turn lanes and the installation of what’s called a ‘pork chop island.’”

Beth Farnsworth, “Concept Design For Isla Vista Intersection Creates Controversy,” KEYT, July 7, 2016

Not a vacation getaway for porkivores, a pork chop island is a type of traffic island named for its shape.