Word Buzz Wednesday: milkshake duck, soccer baseball, Westermarck effect


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: if it walks like a milkshake duck and talks like a milkshake duck; a descriptive Canadianism; kissing cousins, Game of Thrones style.

milkshake duck

“Perhaps the best example of milkshake duck is the tale of Ken Bone, the jolly man in the red sweater who asked a question about climate change at the 2016 presidential debate.”

Eve Peyser, “Corncob? Donut? Binch? A Guide to Weird Leftist Internet Slang,” Vice, August 22, 2017

This term was coined by comic artist Ben Ward, says Vice. Tweeting as Pixelated Boat:

The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist

In other words, “a random person gets their 15 minutes of viral fame, everyone loves them, and then their secret problematic past is uncovered.” Ken Bone “met his demise” when it was revealed that he had posted on Reddit “about how the murder of Trayvon Martin was ‘justified’ and his penchant for pregnancy porn.”


“What now? Meet ‘stashing,’ the newest relationship term to strike fear into our hearts.”

Cassie Murdoch, “‘Stashing’ is the newest way to get screwed over in love,” Mashable, August 21, 2017

Stashing refers to when, in a new relationship, everything seems to be going well, except that one party has yet to introduce the other to their friends or family, as though being stashed or hidden away. The Online Etymology Dictionary says stash was originally criminals’ slang from about 1797. Otherwise the origin is unknown.


“It’s believed that less than 1% of the US population has orthorexia, but the documented rates for those heavily involved in the wellness world—including yoga instructors, dieticians, and nutrition students—are, in some studies, as high as 86%.”

Rosie Spinks, “Is wellness culture creating a new kind of eating disorder?” Quartz, August 23, 2017

Orthorexia, says Quartz, is an “eating disorder not about thinness, but rather a moral or righteous fixation on consuming ‘pure’ and ‘clean’ foods.”

Steven Bratman, an alternative medicine practitioner, coined the term “in a 1997 article for Yoga Journal after he noticed that some of his clients, ‘had reduced the dimensionality of their human lives by assigning excessive meaning and power to what they put in their mouths.’” The word comes from the Greek orthos, “straight, correct, right,” and the Greek orexia, “appetite, desire.”

soccer baseball

“But nothing is so upsetting as the above map, which indicates that a large part of the country calls kickball ‘soccer baseball.’”

Barry Petchesky, “Attention: Half Of Canada Calls Kickball “Soccer Baseball,” Deadspin, August 25, 2017

According The 10 and 3’s online survey on “how Canada talks,” other Canadianisms include the Saskatchewan bunnyhug for a hooded sweatshirt; garburator, a genericized brand name for garbage disposal, in much of the West; and Kraft Dinner for macaroni and cheese, regardless of brand, in most of the country.

Westermarck effect

“It is the Westermarck effect, gone terribly wrong. It is a warning about what can befall the world when narcissism gets politically weaponized.”

Megan Garber, “Game of Thrones: About That Hookup,” The Atlantic, August 28, 2017

The Westermarck effect is named for Finnish philosopher and sociologist Edvard Westermarck, who posited that “people raised as siblings do not regard the other as potential sexual partners,” although of course sexing siblings, Jaime and Cersei Lannister, would beg to differ.