Word Buzz Wednesday: body woman, ikemen, litefeet

litefeet-05Still from Litefeet via BOOOOOOOM

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: the ultimate assistant, a hot gorilla, and it’s showtime!

body woman

“After decades of rope lines — she started working for Clinton as a 19-year-old intern in the First Lady’s office — the role of body woman comes naturally to Abedin, and her hovering presence there, a few feet away from the candidate, is what normal feels like for Clinton.”

Annie Karni, “Hillary’s Shadow,” Politico, July 2, 2015

A body woman or body man is, in politics, a sort of “uber” assistant who takes care of a politician’s every need. The term may come from body servant or body valet.

While body woman may have come about around 2008, the exact origin of body man is unclear. The earliest mention we could find is from 1992:

Begala, the governor’s “body man”. . .wrote speeches, formulated strategy, tried to “keep the governor focused on the message” and served as “a bridge between the candidate and the campaign,” phoning Little Rock from the road as many as 20 times a day.


“Dubbed an ikemen (colloquial phrase for ‘hot guy’) due to his well-defined facial features, 18-year-old Shabani has attracted throngs of visitors to the gorilla habitat on weekends.”

Chunichi Shimbun, “Good-looking gorilla has crowds going gaga at Higashiyama Zoo,” The Japan Times, June 29, 2015

The word ikeman may have originated in Japanese around 2000 as a combination of ikeru, “cool,” and either the English word men or the Japanese men, “face.”


“In late 1938, [Britain] began a program, called Kindertransport, to admit unaccompanied Jewish children up to age 17 if they had a host family, with the offer of a 50-pound warranty for an eventual return ticket.”

Robert D. McFadden, “Nicholas Winton, Rescuer of 669 Children From Holocaust, Dies at 106,” The New York Times, July 1, 2015

Kindertransport, German for “children’s transport,” ran from 1938 through 1940 as a “series of rescue efforts which brought thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany.”

leap second

“In the process, the leap second—through no fault of its own—puts at risk countless critical computer systems around the world.”

David Yanofsky, “The origin of leap seconds, and why they should be abolished,” Quartz, June 29, 2015

A leap second is a second that is inserted into clocks “to realign them with the earth’s rotation.” There have been 27 leap seconds since 1967 when scientists adopted an atomic standard and, presumably, determined the need for leap seconds. The 27th leap second was added on July 1.


Litefeet originated in Harlem and the Bronx as a style of dancing with its own moves (like the Chicken Noodle and the Tone-Wop) that you might see at parties, or during halftime at a basketball game.”

Two ‘Showtime’ Subway Dancers Give Us The Lowdown On Litefeet,” Gothamist, June 29, 2015

Those guys you see dancing, flipping, and showtiming on the subway? That’s litefeet, a style of dance which originated in the mid-2000s in New York and is named for the dancers’ light-on-their-feet acrobatic movements.