Hello, Vogue Word!

The wild card in our vocabulary is the vogue word, also known as the buzzword* – a word or term that pops up out of nowhere and catches on. Two examples? The aforementioned wild card and buzzword.

Words have come and gone ever since Old English (the language of Beowulf) morphed into Middle English (whence came Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales) and Middle English into Modern English (nurtured in its infancy by Shakespeare). But in an age of instant communication, vogue words and phrases can catch fire in a matter of weeks, burn brightly for a while, and then flicker out. Remember downsizing and at the end of the day?

Unlike voracious vacuum words (see To Be Precise…), vogue words are essentially harmless. In fact, many that have arrived over the years are welcome additions to the language:

  •  1920s–‘30s  superstar, T-shirt, teenage, bootleg
  • 1940s–‘50s  brainstorm, pinup, baby boomer, junk mail
  • 1960s–‘70s  miniskirt, workaholic, centerfold, fast food
  •  1980s–‘90s  infotainment, blog, spin, politically correct
  •   2000–present  podcast, bling, truthiness, crowdfund

 *See also Buzzword Bulletin

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