two relatively useful, relatively recent items for your lexical toolkit

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 17 01:13:14 UTC 2007

Summer lexical re-runs--if you haven't heard them, they're new to you!

(1) from Sunday's NYT Magazine, p. 36:

Biogenetic (of a child):  one who is both biologically and
genetically related to each of its parents  [a nice retronym]

(2) from today's NYT Business Day article (C1) about ill-fated John
Mackey of Whole Foods:


Chief executives are used to having their own way around the office,
where criticism is usually tempered. Successful executives like Mr.
Mackey, whose company's share price has risen fourfold since 2000,
are apparently seduced by the Internet's promise of anonymity and the
temptation of joining heated rhetorical battles about the issues
closest to their hearts -- even when the law requires them to stay on
the sidelines...

But in many cases, that promise of anonymity is an illusion. Recently
caught promoting themselves or their causes have been a handful of
chief executives and political operatives, a critic for a major
magazine, as well as dozens of lesser-known bloggers, authors and
entrepreneurs who sneak changes onto their own entries on Wikipedia
or the reviews of their books on

This digital-age deception has a name, ''sock-puppeting,'' and a
precise definition -- the act of creating a fake online identity to
praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one's self,
allies or company.

In an act of extreme chutzpah or personal insecurity or both, Mr.
Mackey, or rather his sock-puppet avatar Rahodeb (a syllabic reversal
of "Deborah", his wife's name), dished "I like Mackey's haircut.  I
think he looks cute!"


The American Dialect Society -

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