Coming to Terms: A new 360 feature linking readers to the ever-changing modern lingo landscape
People are talking more with their fingers than with their mouths these days, and these lightning-fast conversations on screens are spawning more new words and trends than ever before.
Coming to Terms looks at some of the latest words, terms and fads floating around in the collective consciousness, saving you the look of bewilderment the first time you hear one or the time it takes to Google its definition.
Have you ever deleted a photo of yourself because it made you look like you had a double chin? Remove that finger from the trashcan icon, #doublechin is in.
People are forcing their chins back into their necks and taking unflattering photos on purpose in this trend. Chinning has been around for years as a joke but also as reaction against the pressure to post picture-perfect images on social media. It gained new popularity last fall when a 21-year-old Boston college student named Michelle Liu documented her world travels with double chin selfies (chinfies) on her Instagram account @chinventures.
Dispose of the word “decluttering” and make way for “dostadning,” a Swedish word that translates to “death cleaning.” It boils down to: There’s no U-Haul to heaven. Deal with your earthly belongings before you die so the people you supposedly love aren’t left with a mountain of crap to sort through.
The term is taking off with the January release of the book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson. While Magnusson suggests age 50 as a good time to start downsizing items collected over half-a-century, really no one knows when they’ll die, so it’s a considerate thing to do at any age. Her tips include giving away nice things you don’t want and keeping a book of passwords for digital accounts for your family.
Milkshake Duck is a term for someone or something that people embrace with fervor on the internet or social media, but then background information surfaces that turns opinion against it just as fast. It sums up flash-in-the-pan internet fame and serves as a warning that if you go viral, people will research you on the internet, and the internet never forgets. Racist, sexist or anti-semitic comments and behavior are the usual recipe for the making of the Milkshake Duck.
The term was coined by as a joke by Twitter user @pixelatedboat in a 2016 tweet:
“The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist”
The Oxford Dictionary shortlisted it as one of the words of the year for 2017.
Do you have a word, term or social media trend you’d like explained? Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.