Word Buzz Wednesday: shiok, double Dutch, shrinkflation

Double Dutch Street Performance by 祭 - Matsuri @ Vancouver City Centre Station

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: Frappalicious, Singapore style; insulting the Dutch; a skinny repeal on chocolate.


“The name comes from ‘shiok,’ which reportedly is a slang term for pleasure — a name that makes more sense than wherever/however ‘Frap’ came about, but no matter.”

Lilian Min, “Starbucks Just Announced A New Frappuccino — But There’s a Catch,” Cosmopolitan, August 1, 2017

Shiok is a Singaporean English interjection that means “cool!” or “great!” as well as an adjective that refers to a delicious or superb meal, and a general term of approval. The term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in June 2016. The Shiok-ah-ccino mixes toasted coconut with caramelized palm sugar, says Cosmo, but is only available in Singapore.

go Dutch

“To ‘go Dutch’ or to have a ‘Dutch treat’ is to eat out with each person paying for their own bill, possibly from a stereotype of Dutch frugality.”

Thu-Huong Ha, “The phrase ‘going Dutch’ is a 300-year-old insult to Dutch people,” Quartz, July 26, 2017

Back when “England found itself fighting pretty much everyone in Europe,” says Quartz, “haughty digs toward other nations pervaded everyday language,” including insults to those in the Netherlands which remain “embedded in the English spoken by people all around the world.”

Besides going Dutch, there’s Dutch courage, bravado from drinking alcohol, “possibly related to a stereotype of the Dutch being heavy drinkers,” and Dutch bargain, “a deal struck over booze.”

double Dutch

Double Dutch may sound like child’s play, but it’s more than just skipping rope.”

Gia Kourlas, “The Art and Artistry of Double Dutch,” The New York Times, July 25, 2017

Double Dutch originated in 1876 as a derisive term for a language “one does not understand,” or “gibberish,” says the OED. It seems to now more popularly refer to “a game of jump rope in which players jump over two ropes swung in a crisscross formation by two turners.” According to the OED, this jump rope sense originated in North America around 1895.


“It is a process known as ‘shrinkflation’, which companies are probably hoping your existential doubt will mask.”

Rhik Samadder, “Mock chocs: is Poundland’s cut-price confectionery the answer to shrinkflation?” The Guardian, July 30, 2017

After the Brexit referendum, says The Guardian, some brands chose to reduce “the size of their most popular items” while keeping prices the same. Shrinkflation is a blend of “shrink” and “inflation.”

positive psychology

“Sandberg — a tragically young widow — outlines how the practices I’ve come to identify with positive psychology helped her emerge from the crippling morass of grief and reclaim a measure of joy in her life.”

Leslie Turnbull, “I skeptically tried practicing gratitude. It completely changed my life,” The Week, July 20, 2017

Positive psychology focuses on people’s “strengths and resiliency,” says The Week, “rather than their negative experiences and wounds.” It was started in the late 1990s by researchers Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Christopher Peterson.