Word Buzz Wednesday: poudre de perlimpinpin, crotilla, Q

Har Gow

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: war of the words, the French edition; another Frankenstein food; and a bouncy mouthfeel.

poudre de perlimpinpin

“Macron used this colourful phrase, meaning ‘fairy dust’, to refer to Le Pen’s promises.”

The new French words we learned thanks to Macron and Le Pen’s verbal joust,” The Local, May 4, 2017

Poudre de perlimpinpin is just one of several interesting French words used during the presidential debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. It “can also mean star dust or snake oil,” says The Local. Other English lying, cheating, and stealing words include smoke and mirrors, chicanery, and subterfuge.


“Based on the response to Crotilla so far, which has ranged from bewilderment to contempt, the product isn’t on its way to living up to the Cronut’s legacy.”

Michele Debczak, “Walmart Unveils the ‘Crotilla,’ a Tortilla and Croissant Hybrid,” Mental Floss, April 25, 2017

This latest culinary monstrosity (only to be rivaled by the frork, which may or may not be a joke) is an unnecessary cross between a croissant and a tortilla.


“I grew to seek out Q like a favored friend, pining for the texture itself rather than looking to satisfy flavor expectations.”

Laura Russell, “The Curious Case of Q,” Roads and Kingdoms, May 2017

Q is a “springy, chewy” kind of mouthfeel — think mochi, fish cakes, shrimp dumplings (or har gow), and tapioca pearls, says Roads and Kingdoms. The term is also known as QQ and tan ya, which translates as “rebound teeth,” and may come from the Taiwanese Hokkien k’iu.


Spaceplan is what’s known as an idle game, or a clicker. They’re the video game equivalent of background noise.”

Andrew Webster, “Spaceplan is a simple sci-fi game about saving the world and also potatoes,” The Verge, May 7, 2017

A clicker is also known as an incremental game, and “consists of the player performing simple actions (such as clicking on the screen) repeatedly to gain currency.” The term might come from Cookie Clicker and Cow Clicker, perhaps the first type of these games to gain success.


“The girls were instructed to slip their paintbrushes between their lips to make a fine point — a practice called lip-pointing, or a ‘lip, dip, paint routine,’ as playwright Melanie Marnich later described it.”

Kate Moore, “The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls, Whose Deaths Saved Thousands Of Workers’ Lives,” BuzzFeed, May 5, 2017

After the U.S. joined World War I, hundreds of young women got jobs painting watches and radio dials with radium, says BuzzFeed. Why radium? Because it glowed in the dark.

But it was also deadly. Every time the women lip-pointed, “they swallowed a little of the glowing green paint,” having been told that small amounts of radium was actually beneficial to their  health. While the effect was magical at first — these “ghost girls” would literally shine in the dance halls at night — they were soon beset with disfigurement and disease. In the end, the women’s cases “led to life-saving regulations and, ultimately, to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”