Terms of Our Times

The recession has introduced several new words and phrases to the American vernacular. While most of us are probably already tired of hearing about the latest “bailout,” ABC News reports an increase in popularity of terms such as “shovel ready” (a construction project that can get underway as soon as it receives government funding) and “mini-Madoff” (a scam on a smaller scale than the one allegedly run by Bernard Madoff). While some of the new words may only add to our gloom, such as “decremental” (the process of decreasing or becoming progressively less, as in “decremental sales”), others, such as “staycation” (an inexpensive, close-to-home vacation) and “recessionista” (one whose frugality allows him or her to stay fashionable even during tough economic times) convey making the best of a bad situation. A language expert quoted in the article said that coming up with positive new words to describe our tough times, can be helpful: “When people start becoming playful with language, that’s a coping mechanism,” she said.

I’d like to submit “closet shopping” (looking through your closet for seldom worn items that are still usable) and “pantry night” (coming up with a meal using what’s on hand instead of heading for the grocery store when food supplies seem low). Please submit your recession inspired terms. The person who comes up with the most creative and positive spin on our tough times will win a copy of “Money, Purpose, Joy.”

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