Financial woes spawn words like "chiconomic"
By Joan Gralla
NEW YORK (Reuters) - If you know whether chiconomic and TALF'd are positive or negative terms and can use them in a sentence, you are au courant with just a few of the dozens of words born of the financial crisis.
"Chiconomic" is a play on the newly cash-strapped style-conscious, joining similar terms such as "frugalista" and "recessionista," according to Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, www.visualthesaurus.com.
"Bangster" takes hip hop's gangsta and applies it to bankers, while "furcation" is a play on furloughs -- unpaid forced holidays. "Staycations" is a term that popped last summer when people could only afford to vacation at home.
"Homeindulging" is socializing at home because money is tight, while "bleisure" describes the blurring of work and home time, Zimmer explained, noting some terms were invented by The Future Laboratory: www.thefuturelaboratory.com/.
Grant Barrett, editor of the Double-Tongued Dictionary, offered "grayfield," a failing mall, on www.doubletongued.org.
Lexicographers noted definitions can shift rapidly as situations change. Until the U.S. Treasury this week spelled out how it seeks to entice investors into buying toxic assets, getting TALF'd was not necessarily the most attractive prospect.
"Someone threatened to TALF me the other day," a financial analyst said. "I think TALF means threaten to do something big, but then not actually do anything," he explained.
But now that the details of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility are known, it might be a seduction ploy. Joked the analyst: "That might have been a proposition now that I think about it." Continued...