Thursday, May 2, 2013

Say it Again, Sam

I collect words the way a friend collects bits of sea glass and the way a nephew looks for examples of graffiti that speak to him. 

Words speak to me even though the only place I've "heard" some of them is on a page. I get a kick out of old words that have fallen out of favor, regionalisms, cooking terms, and slang.

Last week, hackers broke into the computers of the LivingSocial online deal site and accessed customer data, including encrypted passwords. The notice I received about the event didn't alarm me as much as it should have because I was charmed, yes, charmed by LivingSocial's reassurance that it had "hashed and salted" those passwords. Apparently, "hash" means to encrypt and "salt" means to add a string of random data to an encrypted password. (I hope no one reading this plans to deliver bad news to me anytime soon, but if you must, forget the spoonful of sugar and give it to me with a new use for a familiar word.)

Yesterday, friend Lynn Kelley wrote the following on a loop I follow:  "My other comment was getting too long, so I'm bogarting the space here. Making up for lost time. :)"

Bogarting? I loved the word even though I didn't know what it meant. (Is it possible to fall for a word that means nothing to you? Think of the first time you heard someone speak Spanish, French, or Italian. Didn't you melt a little inside?) 

Here's the Urban Dictionary's definition of the verb bogart: (slang verb) To keep something all for oneself, thus depriving anyone else of having any. A slang term derived from the last name of famous actor Humphrey Bogart because he often kept a cigarette in the corner of his mouth, seemingly never actually drawing on it or smoking it. Often used with weed or joints but can be applied to anything. 

In other words, Lynn was hogging or monopolizing the space. (But, of course, she wasn't doing anything of the sort because her posts are always welcome.) 

Finally, last week, Older Daughter emailed me an article entitled "Slash: Not Just a Punctuation Mark Anymore." (If you've read this far, you, too, are a word junkie, so go look at the article.)

The use of a slash to link two related constructions is commonplace. Saturday morning is as good a time as any to run errands/get gasoline. As Anne Curzan points out, however, her college students now write  out "slash." Saturday morning is as good a time as any to run errands slash get gasoline. Better still, they use "slash" to link two unrelated words in an ironic way. I won't get home from work slash hell before seven p.m. 

How about you? Have you come across a new word or an old one used in a new way? Do you, like me, consider yourself a deep thinker slash real-work avoider? Let me know in the comments section slash proof I'm not talking to myself. 


Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

I was a guest lecturer at a University in northern New Jersey last week and as I walked across the campus a student came up to me and very urgently told me that "there is a process!". No idea what he was talking about - maybe "process" is the new "awesome".

Anyway, you can rest assured that there is a "process" and I have full confidence in you that you'll explain it to me.

- Patrick

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
I Googled that phrase because it sounds like a quote from a movie. So far, no movie luck, but here's a quote on grief from Angela A. Bridges: “Grieving is a process. There's a process of the shock, the anger, and then coping with the situation. You have to experience all of those levels to move forward, and sometimes you need help in that.” Do I think the student you encountered was quoting Bridges? I doubt it. Could he have had a eureka moment in class? I like to think so.

By the way, my BA's from Montclair State in NJ. The campus is sprawling, and I'm sure I muttered a lot to myself on the way to class. Would I have shared any of my epiphanies with strangers? Probably not, but that's me.

On another subject that might be of interest to you: a woman named Linda Johnston has started a blog about her deafness and planned cochlear implant. Linda was coping with her hearing loss until she was hit with Sudden Deafness Syndrome. Here's the url for her most recent post:

Lark Howard said...

I always enjoy your word related posts! Wish I had something brilliant or witty to add but my brain is mush at the moment. I did know what bogarting is, though, thanks to a misspent youth and Rock & Roll.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

The University where I was the guest lecturer was Montclair State University. Lots of construction there and now the State of N.J. has approved the construction of two new buildings (one for the School of Business and one for the School of Science).

IMHO they're trying to put too much into a small area of space and the school now has 18,000 students.

BTW, they even interviewed me for an adjunct position - I acknowledged upfront my hearing challenge but the professor interviewing me spoke in a very soft voice. Like all of us w/hearing challenges sometimes we answer questions based on what we think the other person asked us - sometimes I make bloopers, no doubt about that.

One of the students asked me if I had cochlear implants and he remarked (to my happiness)about how well I do. Not so sure about that either.

You probably never shared your epiphanies w/strangers but you did share.

Many thanks for the information on the blog from Linda Johnston, I'll check it out. Have a good week end.

Rest assured there is a process at Montclair State. I have one of those faces that seems to invite people to share their urgent messages with me.

- Patrick

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Huh, I'd never heard of bogart as a verb (or even a non-proper noun) before. Funny you should mention slash - I also haven't seen it spelled out like that, although I use it like that all the time! My first thought on it was, "slash" fiction - as in, fanfic featuring a very unlikely, usually same-sex, coupling. So there's another relatively new definition for it!

Coleen Patrick said...

I like interesting words, or phrases. This morning I heard something TV that caught my attention. Brain wrinkles. I just liked that one. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark! I would have misspent more of my youth if I'd known my vocabulary would improve. Hope the weekend cures your brain mush. (Which afflicts me at the beginning of the week, too.)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
That there is a process at Montclair State has never been stated outright, but year after year, students divine it. One of my sisters also has a face that invites strangers to share urgent messages with her. She can't hide her interest in people, and they, of course, respond.

Here's a link to a blog written a few years ago by a young Australian woman named Kate Locke, who chronicles her cochlear implantation. (Is that a word?) Here's the url:

Good luck with the adjunct position. It's worth taking the job just for the view of NYC from the Montclair State campus.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

There's so much I don't know, Jennette! Thanks for the new info about slash.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Coleen, I just Googled brain wrinkles. I was glad to learn we get our life's worth as tiny children; otherwise, I'd have worried I wasn't doing enough to enhance mine. Yes, it's a good expression--and doesn't require a person to do a crossword puzzle a day.

LynNerdKelley said...

Ha! What a surprise to see your comment about me in here. Yes, I was hogging the comments section! I do love the sound of certain words that are new to me and are intriguing. Brain wrinkles is new to me. Love that. I didn't know about the new spelling out of "slash." Isn't that something how each generation tweaks terms to make them their own?

Language is fascination, especially the way it's constantly evolving! Fun post, Pat. Thanks for the mention!

LynNerdKelley said...

That s/b "fascinating," not "fascination." I need to use it correctly. Actually, I knew what I meant but my fingers didn't type it that way. Must be those darn brain wrinkles getting a few kinks that need to be ironed out!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Pat, the view of NYC from Montclair's campus is really great, especially in the fall at dusk.

I have a feeling I'll get the job -just need to think about how to teach it!

- Pat

Liz Flaherty said...

I liked this. I love "bogarting" though I forget what it means every time I see it.

I remember my friend's little girl being concerned because her grandma was old and her face was "melting" into wrinkles. Now I think I'm melting a little bit every time I look into a mirror.

Lynette M. Burrows said...

I love words, too, Pat. In fact I wrote a post about it not too long ago. One of the comments on that post mentioned the word 'bubblers.' Apparently in parts of the US, bubblers means water fountains. Isn't that a great term for it? Thanks for sharing your words with us!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lynn,
From now on, I'm blaming all my typos on brain wrinkles. I, too, love how each generation tweaks slash makes up words.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, again, Patrick!
When I lived in NJ, fall was my favorite season by far. The Montclair State campus is a glorious place to be in autumn. Good luck with the job!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm melting, too, Liz. That little girl has a gift for words.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lynette,
I have a bubbler! Regionalisms fascinate me. I lived in Texas for years before it seemed natural to say, "It's a pretty day," rather than a nice day.