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Notable words of the past little while, Q3 2015

  • 'primary' (n. and adj.): Useful term in the modern free-love movement: one's most significant romantic partner (n.), or most significant relationship (adj.), as measured by emotional intensity, tacit commitment, logistical entanglement (cohabitation, children, bank accounts), and their formal priority over others.

    Of course, this is basically what traditional relationships mean by 'a relationship' (or, better, by 'next of kin') but it's a very good idea to be explicit about these things even if, like me, you're not especially modern. Not least, this allows us to understand what it actually means to commit oneself in the standard manner; to question the bits of it that are stupid or overgeneralised; and to think of all other-seeking humans as sharing a great deal of motivation and emotional whatnot, whether they are swinger, asexual, Bostonian, polyamorist or monogamist.

  • 'aromantic' (adj.): Not experiencing romantic attraction (as opposed to asexual, not experiencing sexual desire). The many identity permutations created by modelling the romantic variables with more detail (as passion, affection, commitment, and the tangled set that is sexuality) is another useful offshoot from people being modern about all this.

  • 'Missa sine populo' or 'Missa privata'(n.): A Catholic Mass conducted without an audience (often muttered). A powerful, intimate, odd little image. They're not allowed to do it without one other person present, 'except under reasonable circumstances'.

  • 'belonger' (n.): Citizen of a British Overseas Territory. (e.g. Gibraltar: "a person may be registered as a Gibraltarian at the discretion of the Government of Gibraltar minister with responsibility for personal status (currently Justice Minister Daniel Feetham), if they satisfy the minister that: (a) Gibraltar or Great Britain is their country of origin; (b) he is a British national; (c) he is of good character; (d) he has sufficient knowledge of the English language; (e) he has his permanent home in Gibraltar..."

  • 'drumble' (v.): To go about in a lazy or vague way.

  • 'oophagy' (n. and v.): embryo cannibalism.

  • 'technical' (n.): an improvised gun truck, the light cavalry of modern war. Term originates from NGO work in 90s Somalia: local thugs were hired for security cover using vague, semi-legal 'Technical Assistance Grants', used to rig out pickups with giant improvisations.
  • 'minify' (v.): To remove all unnecessary, human-friendly formatting from code for compiling. See also uglify.

  • 'alt-ac' (n.): 'Alternative-academic'. Refers to those job/lifestyles arising as a result of the bubble in formal education and, more generally, the increased number of people who want to do research. In its uninteresting form it involves just hanging around universities in admin roles; in its transformative form it includes quality intellectual workers of all stripes: coders, activists, librarians, independent scholars, on equal terms as inquirers.

  • 'sunchoke' (n.): Particular kind of artichoke. AKA the 'fartichoke'.

  • 'inuksuk' (n.): A stone landmark built by Arctic folk, often in human form.

  • 'internegative' (n.): Intermediate film between original negative and a full print.

  • 'Enviropig' (n.): A GM breed of Sus domesticus which can digest phosphate much better.(

  • 'acquihire' (v. or a bad n.): To take over a company for the purposes of inheriting its staff.

  • 'BYOD' (adj.): Bring Your Own Device, rather than being supplied one at work.

  • 'OOC' (adj.): Out of Character; a metacharacter used to denote that one is speaking as oneself rather than one's persona in the game or drama at hand.

  • 'kratom' (n.): A legal high with some use in weaning people off other opiates. Included casually as a smoothie ingredient in at least one place.

  • 'perf' (n.): Showbiz for 'performance'.
  • 'performant' (adj.): Tech industry jargon for 'high-performance'.