Friday, October 28, 2005

A listicle

Today it was love at first sight when I laid eyes on the word 'listicle', which refers to the sort of newspaper or magazine article that consists pretty much entirely of a list: this year's most popular names for boys, your city's 'top' ten suburbs, the different horrible diseases from which people drop dead most frequently depending on where they live, or the inevitable What's Hot and What's Not routine when someone's really desperate to fill a bit of space.

But 'listicle' is one of those aurally evocative words that sounds like it could mean any one of a number of things, some of them not at all nice.

The really wonderful thing was the place where this word was to be found. At Double-Tongued Word Wrester: a growing dictionary of old and new words from the fringes of English, you can find such extraordinarily useful lexical items as the following:

'Blackberry thumb': RSI of the thumb caused by rapid and frequent use of tiny keypads on tiny gadgets.

'Four-boob syndrome': the appearance of having four breasts instead of the more usual two, caused by wearing a too-small bra.

'Deskfast': what you eat after you get to work, not having had time to eat before you left home.

'Shine': new word for bling.

'Spokesweasel': self-explanatory.

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