In 2005, North Korea announces that it possesses nuclear weapons; Iraq holds its first free parliamentary elections in nearly fifty years; Lance Armstrong wins his record seventh consecutive Tour de France; astronomer Michael Brown discovers the dwarf planet Eris, which is larger than Pluto; YouTube is founded; the film Brokeback Mountain premieres; and hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and the U. S. Gulf Coast.
The words of 2005:
Brangelina, n. With the demise of Bennifer, Brangelina, or the combo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, became the next conjoined celebrity couple.
Cyber Monday, n. Cyber Monday is the Monday following the U. S. Thanksgiving holiday, which, according to legend, is the biggest day for online sales, paralleling Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which really is the biggest day of the year for retail, bricks and mortar sales. Cyber Monday was created as a marketing ploy to generate online sales and has never been the biggest online shopping day, despite the fact that journalists continue to report on it as such.
DWT, n. By 2005 driving while texting was becoming enough of a problem to warrant its own acronym.
enhanced pat-down, n. The official name for what airline passengers derisively called gate rape (see 2002) was enhanced pat-down, a more invasive form of frisking passengers by the U. S. Transportation Security Administration that went into effect in 2005.
fobbit, n. A U. S. military slang term for a soldier stationed in the rear, a REMF (see 1971). Fobbit is a blend of the acronym for forward operating base + hobbit.
forever stamp, n. The U. S. postal service began issuing first-class stamps that would continue to be honored regardless of future rate increases. These forever stamps were first issued in 2007, but the term dates back two more years.
Haji, n. A Hajji is a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and this sense of the term in English usage dates back to the early-seventeenth century. But in 2005 in U. S. military slang Haji acquired the sense of any native of a Muslim country.
hurrication, n. This blend of hurricane + vacation came to be used for the emergency evacuation of the U. S. Gulf Coast in advance of Hurricane Katrina.
julie, v. To julie is to organize an event. The term is taken from the character of cruise director Julie McCoy on the U. S. television series The Love Boat (1977–87). As for the delay between when the show went off the air and the slang verb arising, it must just have been a nostalgic impulse on the part of the coiners.
left of boom, c.phr. (and right of boom, c.phr.) These slang phrases are also from U. S. military slang. They are a reference to a timeline, with the boom being a bombing. Left of boom operations are those designed to prevent Iraqi insurgents from planting bombs, and those right of boom are designed to hunt them down after a bomb went off.
lifehack, n. Actually dating to 2004, a lifehack is a home-brewed technical trick that makes life easier, such as a script that allows you to reserve a library book from an Amazon.com page.
lulz, n.pl. A respelling and pluralization of the internet acronym LOL, or laughing out loud. Lulz are “laughs.”
man crush, n. A non-sexual infatuation by one man for another. A one-sided bromance (see 2004).
man date, n. Man dates are what those in a bromance do. The term, by definition, excludes sex, sports, or business activities.
manbiguous, adj. This blend of man + ambiguous describes a man whose sexual orientation is in question.
metrospiritualism, n. Metrospiritualism is the combination of New Age religion and Western consumer capitalism. Metrospiritualists drive Priuses, join trendy and expensive yoga studios, eat organic food from overpriced specialty grocers, etc. The word is patterned after metrosexual (see 1994).
patent troll, n. A patent troll is a person or company, usually a law firm, that acquires patents not to produce products, but to sue those that violate them.
sexting, n. The sending of sexual explicit messages and photos via mobile phones got its name in 2005.
Skype, v. Internet telephony had been around for a long time, but Skype, founded in 2003, made the process easy, cheap, and user-friendly. The verb to Skype, meaning to make audio and video calls via the internet was in place by 2005.
swiftboat, v. A swiftboat was a U. S. Navy river craft, officially Patrol Craft Fast, used during the Vietnam War. 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had served on swiftboats during the war, and a Republican group of fellow veterans, the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, formed to challenge Kerry’s account of his own war record. The verb didn’t get used in 2004, but similar efforts to swiftboat other candidates appeared in the 2005 election cycle.
These words are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, based on that dictionary’s earliest citation for that word. I’ve also taken words from the Among the New Words column in the journal American Speech; and in many cases these words have been antedated by the OED. Of course, that does not necessarily mean the word was coined in the given year; it only means that is the earliest date the big dictionary has for the word. In many cases, these words can and have been antedated. My selection is not scientific or systematic; it is based on what I think is interesting; sometimes they are words that appear earlier or later than I would have thought; others have a particular historical affiliation for that year or represent some historical trend; and others are just odd words. I’m avoiding back-formations and variations on existing words. Again, be warned that the coining of a word does not necessarily coincide with the invention of a concept. Often, there will be older words that express the same sense.
Copyright 1997-2014, by David Wilton