Word Buzz Wednesday: Hodor-ing, haterbragging, hater-cricketing

Hodor sobre esse desenho: "Hodor?"

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: Hodor-ing, haterbragging, and hater-cricketing.


“Tax advisers whose job it is to help clients steer through some of this muddle have already coined a term to sum up the confusion: ‘avoision’.”

Richard Dyson, “There’s nothing wrong with tax avoidance: we’re all forced to do it,” The Telegraph, April 18, 2015

Tax avoision is the “non-payment of tax that cannot clearly be seen as either tax avoidance, which is legal, or tax evasion, which is illegal.”

Some examples of tax avoidance from The Telegraph, a British publication, include saving in “Isas and pensions,” investing in “tax-free National Savings accounts,” and carefully recalling “the legitimate expenses with which to reduce taxable profits.” Tax evasion, says The Telegraph, is the deliberate concealment or understatement of income or assets.

Avoision is somewhere between “aggressive avoidance” and full-blown evasion. The word is a blend of avoidance and evasion.

chitlin’ circuit

“Stand-up comedy offered a way out of this dead end, even at the low pay he initially earned since he was relegated to the ‘chitlin’ circuit’ reserved for black comedians.”

Jeet Heer, “Don’t Forget What Richard Pryor Taught Us: Offensive Comedy Can Be Liberating,” New Republic, April 13, 2015

The chitlin’ circuit refers to “a circuit of nightclubs and theaters that feature African-American performers and cater especially to African-American audiences.”

According to NPR, “the entertainers called it the Chitlin’ Circuit because club owners sold chitlins and other soul food dishes out of their kitchens.” The name “may also have been a play on the Borscht Belt, a moniker given to the Catskills Mountain region in upstate New York where many Jewish families vacationed during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.”

Chitlins are the boiled and fried small intestines of pigs. The word is a variant on chitterlings, which may come from the Old English cieter, “intestines.”

expressive aphasia

“Whether he intended it or not, Martin created a character who is a textbook example of someone with a neurological condition called expressive aphasia.”

Jordan Gaines Lewis, “Neuroscience explains why Hodor in Game of Thrones only says ‘Hodor,’” Quartz, April 13, 2015

Aphasia is “partial or total loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken or written language, resulting from damage to the brain caused by injury or disease.” In expressive aphasia, speech or writing specifically is severely impaired.

The word aphasia comes from the Greek aphatos, “speechless.”


“The haterbrag embodies a couple of typical complaints that people like Franzen lodge against social media culture: It’s a narcissistic overshare.”

Amanda Hess, “My Haters, Myself,” Slate, April 13, 2015

The haterbrag, says Slate, is kind like the “humblebrag’s evil (but funnier) stepsister.” Essentially, haterbragging is bragging about how much hate one gets, especially on social media. An example is celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves.


“While not an enthusiast of the sport by any means, Sledge inadvertently became forever associated with the game of cricket, with the term ‘sledging’ arguably derived from his name.”

Percy Sledge: Soul singer’s link to cricket’s sledging,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 15, 2015

Sledging refers to, in cricket, “the practice of a fielder making insulting or comical references to an opposition batsman with the aim of distracting him.”

So what does a British sports term have to do with an African American R&B singer? One theory is that it originated in the mid-1960s from Australian cricketer Grahame Corling, who teased another player about his wife having an affair by singing the Sledge tune, “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Another theory says sledging has nothing to do with Percy Sledge: in the mid-1960s, a player “reacted to an incident ‘like a sledgehammer’, with all on-field insults and obscenities at opponents henceforth known as ‘sledging’.”

[Photo via Flickr: “Hodor sobre esse desenho: “Hodor?'” CC BY 2.0 by Bruna Schenkel]

2 thoughts on “Word Buzz Wednesday: Hodor-ing, haterbragging, hater-cricketing

  1. Is adjectival word order not important? Is Percy Sledge not an African American, rather than an American African like the settlers of Liberia?

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