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.


Burt: “[Bro-gurt is] manly flavors. Like hamburger. Cheeseburger. But not turkey burger cuz that would be girly.”

“Bro-Gurt”, Raising Hope, November 29, 2011

Bro-gurt is a portmanteau of bro and yogurt, and like other bro- words such as bromance, brogramming, and (our least favorite) broga, plays on the idea of taking “largely neutral terms and [giving] them a coating of testosterone,” as Erin McKean says in her latest Boston Globe column, “The Secret Language of Bros.”

competitive shopping

News announcer: “Officials call the woman’s behavior [pepper spraying other customers] competitive shopping.”

Jon Stewart: “Really, competitive shopping? What a weird Sex and the City way of rebranding assault.”

November 28, 2011, The Daily Show

Competitive shopping plays on activities such as competitive eating.


Jeff [practicing foosball]: “I just thought the next time those deutschbags try to show off, I could catch them by surprise.”

“Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism,” Community, December 1, 2011

Deutschbag is a portmanteau of deutsch, German for the word German, and douchebag, “someone seen as being arrogant or obnoxious.” Hence, a deutschbag is a douchebag from Germany.


Anthony Bourdain: “For a gastro-tourist, somebody who travels to eat, any kind of serious eater, Singapore’s probably the best place you can go for maximum bang in minimum time.”

“Singapore,” The Layover, November 21, 2011

Gastro-tourist combines gastro, the combining form of the Greek gaster, “belly, paunch,” and tourist, “one who makes a journey for pleasure.” Gastro gives us many foodie terms, such as gastronomy, “the art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food”; gastronomer, “one who is a judge of good living; a judge of the art of cookery”; gastronaut, “an adventurous eater”; and gastropub, “a public house that serves high-quality food.” Another type of tourist is an ecotourist, one who participates in “travel to areas of natural or ecological interest.”


Marcus: “You don’t know what hebetudinous means?”

Tim: “No, Marcus, no one does.”

Marcus: “Oh dear.”

“Codename: Portis,” Spy, November 18, 2011

Hebetudinous means “characterized by hebetude, lethargy, or dullness,” and comes from the Latin hebes, “blunt, dull.”


Anthony Bourdain: “Everything’s great here [at Takashi]. That the cuts of steak are awesome should surprise no one, but it’s the accent on horumon, literally ‘discarded goods’ in Japanese, that can really set this place apart.”

“New York,” The Layover, November 28, 2011

Horumon is beef or pork offal, or organ meats.

Marilyn Munster strategy

Jon Stewart: “Why no [one-on-one interviews] for Romney? Because he’s running a classic political gambit called the Marilyn Munster strategy. . . .Romney appears only in debates surrounded by ‘munsters,’ aka the other Republican presidential candidates, and instantly voters think, Hey, that pretty one seems normal.”

December 1, 2011, The Daily Show

The Marilyn Munster strategy refers to Marilyn Munster, the one non-monstrous character on the TV show, The Munsters.

play in Peoria

Annie: “You’re gonna have to broaden your act if you wanna play in Peoria.”

Krusty: “I don’t wanna play in Peoria. They’re always doing construction on Highway 74.”

“The Ten-Per-Cent Solution,” The Simpsons, December 4, 2011

Play in Peoria comes from the phrase, Will it play in Peoria? which means “Will it appeal to mainstream America?” The origin is obscure: some say it comes from a late 19th century novel in which a group of actors perform in Peoria, Illinois, while others claim the phrase came about in the 1920s during the vaudeville era. A synonym for Peoria may be Main Street. There is apparently constant construction on Highway 74 in Peoria, Illinois.

sit in gum

Chuck: “I can’t sit in gum anymore!”

“The Out of Towner,” The League, December 1, 2011

In this context, sitting in gum refers to a disgusting act that Chuck, the quintessential wingman, performs to make his friend look good to women. The word wingman originally referred to “a pilot whose plane is positioned behind and outside the leader in a formation of flying aircraft,” and in modern terms is “a role that a person may take when a friend needs support with approaching potential partners.”

spoiler alert

Nolan [to Emily]: “Spoiler alert: your little girl talk with Amanda didn’t work.”

“Suspicion,” Revenge, November 23, 2011

A spoiler alert is a warning that a spoiler, “a published piece of information that divulges a surprise, such as a plot twist in a movie,” is about to be revealed and that the surprise will be spoiled. Spoiler in this sense attests from 1982, while spoiler alert seems to be born from the internet, appearing on “movie buffs’ discussion lists.” Here, Nolan is about to reveal some surprising information to Emily.


Anthony Bourdain: “”Some beef nuts served escargot style. Testicargot anyone?”

“New York,” The Layover, November 28, 2011

Testicargot is a blend of testicle and escargot.


Gang [referring to Frank]: “He thunder-gunned the shit out of us!”

“Thunder Gun Express,” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, December 1, 2011

According to The Baltimore Sun, to thunder-gun is “to overcome ordinary human rules and circumstances regardless of the consequences,” and refers to a fictional action movie, Thunder Gun Express. This is an example of anthimeria, “the use of a word from one word class or part of speech as if it were from another,” especially “the use of a noun as if it were a verb.” See Die Hard.

trench broom

Nucky [after shooting a machine gun]: “They call it a trench broom. You can see why.”

“Georgia Peaches,” Boardwalk Empire, November 27, 2011

The trench broom is a small automatic weapon developed by John T. Thompson, “a United States Army officer,” during World War I and the onset of trench warfare. The trench broom could sweep clean – or kill – a trench full of enemies.


Jon Stewart: “And of course from there, Tony Bologna received quite a bit of condemnation for his random pepper spraying of Occupied Wall Streeters, and some homages, including the creation of NBC’s new hit drama Tony Bologna: The Vigilone, starring Christopher Meloni.”

November 28, 2011, The Daily Show

Vigilone blends the name Bologna and the word vigilante, “one who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one’s own hands.” Vigilante comes from the Latin vigilāre, “to be watchful.”

Are you one of the writers behind a Word Soup word? Let us know! We love to hear from screenwriters and yes, it’s kosher to submit your own words! Here’s a great one from Wordnik friends Jane Espenson and Brad Bell.

affection chicken

Brady: “I like you more than anyone I’ve ever dated.”

Cheeks: “I’m so glad you said that first; I was totes playing affection chicken.”

“A Decent Proposal,” Husbands, September 22, 2011

Affection chicken is the common relationship practice of concealing how much one likes a potential partner until the other person has made the declaration.The term builds by analogy on the game chicken in which the loser is the first to back down from a physical charge.

Thanks Jane and Brad!

That’s it for this week! Next week we’ll be posting a special all-Glee Word Soup. Let us know your favorite Glee-isms, or any Word Soup-worthy words on Twitter with the hashtag #wordsoup.