Word Buzz Wednesday: megacity, Philadelphia lean, superfunkycalifragisexy

Shanghai Lights

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. The latest: more than a metropolis; how to eat a Philly cheesesteak; sounding sexy and precocious, Prince-style.

empty nose syndrome

“Brett was convinced his surgery had given him empty nose syndrome, but his doctor disregarded his concerns.”

Joel Oliphint, “Is Empty Nose Syndrome Real? And If Not, Why Are People Killing Themselves Over It?” BuzzFeed, April 14, 2016

Empty nose syndrome is a rare condition that might occur after “surgical procedures on cylindrical structures inside the nose called turbinates,” says BuzzFeed. Symptoms include nasal dryness, a feeling of the nasal airways being “too open” but also a sensation of suffocation, as well as insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue.

The term was coined in 1994 by Dr. Eugene Kern of the Mayo Clinic who observed patients he deemed “nasal cripples” who exhibited such symptoms after turbinate surgery.


“The rise of emerging market megacities as magnets for regional wealth and talent has been the most significant contributor to shifting the world’s focal point of economic activity.”

Parag Khanna, “Megacities, not nations, are the world’s dominant, enduring social structures,” Quartz, April 20, 2016

A megacity is not just a very large city, says Quartz, but one that “represents a large percentage of national GDP,” or gross domestic product. For instance, London makes up almost half of Great Britain’s GDP while the “Boston-New York-Washington corridor” and greater Los Angeles area account for a third of the GDP of the U.S.

The Oxford English Dictionary‘s earliest citation of megacity is from 1967 by Norman Mailer: “The high technological nexus and overdeveloped civilization of a megacity like the Dallas–Fort Worth complex.” However, according to Mr. Slang himself, Jonathan Green, the term was in use before then, specifically in the early 1960s in reference to the Cincinnati-Dayton-Columbus nexus, and in the late 1950s to mean simply a very large city.

Philadelphia lean

“You have to do what’s called a Philadelphia lean …. You have to lean over to make sure the juice goes on the pavement.”

Catherine Lucey, “Philly cheesesteak is test for candidates, not just a lunch,” WTOP, April 25, 2016

A proper Philly cheesesteak, according to some, should be dripping with juice, hence the need for the Philadelphia lean, or leaning over to ensure that said juice doesn’t drip on one’s clothes when taking a bite.


“She was describing a certain ineffable emotional state to me, a native Icelander’s sense of comfort while immersed in her neighborhood sundlaug.”

Dan Kois, “Iceland’s Water Cure,” The New York Times, April 19, 2016

Sundlaug translates from Icelandic as “swimming pool” and specifically refers to a public pool, a place where normally reserved Icelandians feel free to socialize, at least according to The New York Times.


“It was, for the lack of a better term, a superfunkycalifragisexy performance.”

Jack Goodson, “Fàbregas, Chelsea sparkle under the Cherries’ moon,” SB Nation, April 23, 2016

Superfunkycalifragisexy — a blend of funky, sexy, and the nonsense word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious — was coined for “Prince’s never-released (but much-bootlegged) The Black Album.” The term is meant “to conjure a heightened state of funky-lusty consciousness,” and also apparently, a well-played soccer game.