Word Soup Wednesday

While the television show The Soup brings you “the strange, obscure and totally unbelievable moments in pop culture, celebrity news and reality TV,” Word Soup brings you those strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words from talk shows, sitcoms, dramas, and just about anything else on TV.

blind trust

Mitt Romney [on July 13, 2012]: “In order to make sure that I didn’t have a conflict of interest while I was governor, or while I was considering a run for national office, I had a blind trust established.”

Jon Stewart: “So Romney’s money was in a blind trust. I guess that’s a pretty good excuse, unless a blind trust is just a ruse.”

Mitt Romney [on October 18, 1994]: “The blind trust is an age-old ruse, if you will. Which is to say you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, July 16, 2012

A blind trust is “a financial arrangement in which a person, such as a high-ranking elected official, avoids possible conflict of interest by relegating his or her financial affairs to a fiduciary who has sole discretion as to their management.”


Joseph Gordon-Levitt [regarding a movie still of him holding two guns]: “That’s what they call a blunderbuss, and that’s what they call a gat. They’re for two different types of assassins in the world of Looper.”

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, July 16, 2012

A blunderbuss is “a short gun or firearm with a large bore and funnel-shaped muzzle, capable of holding a number of balls or slugs, and intended to be used at a limited range without exact aim.” Blunderbuss is an alteration of the Dutch donderbus, which translates as “thunder (donder) gun (bus).” Gat is short for Gatling gun, named for its inventor, Richard Jordan Gatling.


Leela: “The unlikely lovebirds met at Brown University. She, a brilliant exolinguistics major, he, a laid-back sewer surfer who didn’t even know the meaning of exolinguistics.”
Morris: “I still have no idea!”
Munda: “I’ve been telling you for 40 years! It’s the study of alien languages! Why can’t you listen?”

“Zapp Dingbat,” Futurama, July 11, 2012

Exo comes from the Greek prefix meaning “outside.” Exolinguistics is also known as xenolinguistics or astrolinguistics.

Fast and Furious

News announcer: “President Obama today for the first time exerted executive privilege to shield justice department documents with what’s become known as the Fast and Furious scandal.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, June 26, 2012

Fast and Furious refers to Operation Fast and Furious, one of the “gunwalking” sting operations run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives between 2006 and 2011. The operations were “done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States.” Operation Fast and Furious was named after the “successful film franchise, because some of the suspects under investigation operated out of an auto repair store and street raced.”

Executive privilege is “the principle that members of the executive branch of government cannot legally be forced to disclose their confidential communications when such disclosure would adversely affect the operations or procedures of the executive branch.”

live tease

Anderson Cooper: “A reporter in Michigan was doing what we in the television biz call a live tease. That’s right, we have our own lingo. You can ask Wolf Blitzer about it.”

The Ridiculist, Anderson Cooper 360, July 9, 2012

A tease in this context is “a preliminary remark or act intended to whet the curiosity.” A live tease is a tease that is broadcast live. The live tease Cooper is referring to is one which a cat jumped on the reporter’s shoulders during the broadcast.

media elite

Will: “Who are we to make these decisions? We’re the media elite.”

“The 112th Congress,” The Newsroom, July 8, 2012

The media elite, or elite media, refers to “newspapers, radio stations, TV channels and other media that influence the political agenda of other mass media.” According to Geoffrey Nunberg, “Spiro Agnew first put the phrase ‘media elite’ into wide circulation and joined it with descriptions like ‘effete snobs,’ which evoked the social meaning of the word.”


Jon Stewart: “Note to self: A Jewish potato treat with the flavor of the southwest. I call it the Mexiknish.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, June 25, 2012

Mexikinish, a blend of Mexican and knish, also means “somewhat Mexican,” and plays on Romney’s claim that his father’s being born in Mexico ties him to the Latino community.


Stephen Colbert: “Of course we conservatives are confident that the court majority will rule in our favor. How confident? Richard Mourdock, Indiana GOP Senate candidate and dark lord of the withered heath, pretaped his reaction to the eventual ruling last Thursday and accidentally posted his presponse on YouTube.”

The Colbert Report, June 25, 2012

Presponse is a blend of pre, the prefix for “before,” and response.


Mayor Bloomberg: “Who wrote this shit?”
Anderson Cooper: “One can assume the mayor knew his mike was hot when he dropped the s-bomb. Is s-bomb even a word? It is now.”

The Ridiculist, Anderson Cooper 360, July 9, 2012

S-bomb is a play on f-bomb, a euphemism for the expletive, fuck. F-bomb seems to have originated in the late 1980s, according to Jesse Sheidlower’s The F-Word.

study drug

News announcer: “High school kids face a lot of pressure in getting into college, but it turns out an increasing number of students are abusing prescription drugs Adderall and Ritalin to help them pass their tests. They call them study drugs. They say the drugs give students a boost of energy and increase their attention span.”

Stephen Colbert: “Yes, study drugs, a sure-fire way to improve your grades if you are too lazy to sleep with your teacher.”

The Colbert Report, June 25, 2012

Study drugs refer to “drugs, particularly prescription drugs, used to increase concentration and stamina.”

takedown piece

Will: “What did she do?”
Nina: “Nothing, it’s just a takedown piece.”
Will: “A what?”
Nina: “A takedown piece. I’m going to take her down.”
Will: “Why?”
Nina: “Because that’s what you do in a takedown piece, genius.”

“I’ll Try to Fix You,” The Newsroom, July 15, 2012

A takedown is “the act of humiliating a person.” Thus, a takedown piece is an article or other piece of writing that humiliates someone and damages their reputation.

That’s it for this week! Remember, if you see any Word Soup-worthy words, let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsoup. Your word and Twitter handle might appear right here!