Jargon Watch – more plus ca change


While we are on the subject of books that fell down the back of the filing cabinet, here’s another little pocket book from 10 years ago – Jargon Watch – a pocket dictionary for the jitterati. (Also available on Amazon for 1p.)

The dot come era certainly proved a fertile period for neologisms (coinages) – and interesting to see how some first came about and how they have mutated into current day usage. For example, we are all familiar with the term flashmob – but I hadn’t realised the term was originally "flash crowds" – and this in turn had come from a Larry Niven short story of the same name. In the story, riots break out when thousands of people our out of teleportation booths to see major social events.

Other phases appear to have dropped by the wayside of lexical history (but perhaps we ought to bring some back). A particular favourite of mine is ‘dustbuster’: a phone call or e-mail message sent to someone after a long silence just to "shake the dust off" and see if the connection still works.

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