Word Buzz Wednesday: youthquake, man flu, Jolabokaflod


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: Oxford Dictionary’s stylish word of the year; a special flu for men (supposedly); our idea of bookish heaven.


“‘Youthquake’ is the Oxford word of the year—but it’s not a new one.”

Hilary Weaver, “How a 52-Year Old Word Invented by a Vogue Editor Became 2017’s Word of the Year,” Vanity Fair, December 15, 2017

Youthquake, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, refers to “the series of radical political and cultural upheavals occurring among students and young people in the 1960s,” and now also means any “significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

According to Vogue, the word was coined in its pages in 1965 by editor Diana Vreeland: “The year’s in its youth, the youth in its year. Under 24 and over 90,000,000 strong in the U.S. alone. More dreamers. More doers. Here. Now. Youthquake 1965.”


“The first was that the octopuses were going through what’s called senescence—essentially, they had gone senile.”

Sarah Gibbens, “Unsolved Science Mysteries From 2017,” National Geographic, December 18, 2017

Senescence comes from the Latin senescere, “to grow old.”

man flu

“Part joke, part lived experience, the man flu has now reportedly been validated by science, sort of.”

Eleanor Cummins, “One Hasty Study Doesn’t Mean That ‘Man Flu’ Is Real,” Slate, December 12, 2017

Other “man” terms include man cave, manscaping, and mankini.


“Doughty is known for his competitiveness and his tendency to talk to opponents, or ‘chirping,’ as it’s called in hockey circles.”

Curtin Zupke, “Expect plenty of chirping when Kings’ Drew Doughty faces an old friend, Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds,” Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2017

In hockey, trash talking is known as chirping, although where the term comes from isn’t clear.


“It’s called Jolabokaflod, and, as you might’ve guessed, it comes to us from Iceland.”

Liel Leibovitz, “Forget Chinese Food: Our New Christmas Tradition Should Be Jolabokaflod,” Tablet, December 18, 2017

Jólabókaflóð, which translates from Icelandic as “Christmas book flood,” refers to the inundation of new books in Iceland during the months before Christmas.