- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 22/07/2011
- English, Linguistics, neologism
I want to share three new coinages that I have come across this week.
The first is ‘easyjetset‘. A fusion of ‘jetset‘ and the name of the low-cost airline Easyjet, it refers to the new generation of Europeans who are used to travelling around the continent at the drop of a hat, to live, work or go to parties. The point is that thanks to airlines like Easyjet, young people today have access to a the kind of lifestyle that thirty years ago only the original ‘jetset’ could afford.
At the other end of the scale, David Runciman in this week’s London Review of Books uses ‘offshore‘ – a purely technical, financial term, until now – as an adjective to describe the lifestyles of certain (unsavoury) sections of the global elite, applying it ‘to people as well as places, and to a way of life along with a state of mind. Seen like this, it turns out to be a very useful word. Saif Gaddafi is just an offshore guy, living in an offshore world.’
The third is ‘churnalism‘, which I heard at a talk by UK video activist Chris Atkins at the CCCB in Barcelona. It is a term invented by the excellent UK NGO Media Standards Trust to refer to the practice, shockingly widespread amongst modern media, of recycling press releases as if they were news. ‘Churn’ is a lovely English word which originally referred to the process of stirring milk to make cream and butter. Its use in this context is intended to suggest how press releases are simply ‘churned’ – ‘cut and pasted’ directly into a news article. The Churnalism website gives you the chance to check how much of a given news article comes directly from a press release.