Word Buzz Wednesday: fyrirtækjagripdeildir, graver, Karman line

Jim Morrison's Grave

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: a very long Icelandic word; grave-hopping for fun; to infinity and beyond.


“And there was no word for ‘corporate raid’. As that caused so much of our trouble I invented one and it has been accepted into the language: fyrirtækjagripdeildir.”

Brian Oliver, “‘No McDonald’s, no motorway, no army’: Iceland’s evolution recalled,” The Guardian, May 28, 2016

Fyrirtækjagripdeildir translates from Icelandic as “corporate looting.” Check out more delightful Icelandic words and phrases.


“In the shorthand parlance of men and women who collect graveyard experiences, Thornley is what’s known as a ‘graver.’”

Johnette Howard, “Stew Thornley’s macabre adventure: Visiting every dead baseball Hall of Famer’s grave,” ESPN, May 26, 2016

Gravers are people who visit cemeteries for fun, whether to see the final resting places of celebrities, fill in genealogical blanks in one’s own family, or to see the headstones. ESPN profiles a man who for over two decades has been visiting “the graves of every Baseball Hall of Famer.” Gravers might also be called  tombstone tourists or taphophiles.


“They’re known as pizzlies or grolars, and they’re a fusion of the Arctic white bear and their brown cousins.”

Adam Popescu, “Love in the time of climate change: Grizzlies and polar bears are now mating,” The Washington Post, May 23, 2016

A grolar is a cross between a grizzly and a polar bear, a blend, says The Washington Post, “that’s been turning up more and more in parts of Alaska and Western Canada.” While the two species don’t normally inhabit the same environments, they’ve been meeting and mating as the Arctic warms, the sea ice shrinks, and the tundra expands.

Karman line

“Passengers will be passing what’s known as the Karman line — an imaginary boundary 62 miles above the Earth that signals the beginning of what the industry officially refers to as ‘space’ — but they won’t be going into orbit.”

Sean O’Kane, “Blue Origin will intentionally crash its spaceship during the next test flight,” The Verge, May 26, 2016

The Karman line was named for Hungarian-born American research engineer Theodore von Kármán, “best known for his pioneering work in the use of mathematics and the basic sciences in aeronautics and astronautics.”

longevity myth

“You also get what’s called the longevity myth, which is where people’s imaginations exceed reality.”

Allie Conti, “We Spoke with the Scientist Studying How to Live As Long As Possible,” Vice, May 21, 2016

According to Vice, longevity myths might occur with individuals who, one, don’t have a record of their birth and two, are over 80 as  “after the age of 80, people begin to inflate their age,” while “before 80, people understate their age.”