Word of the Day: 1/4/16 – 1/8/16

Good morning! This is the first full week of words for 2016, and to commemorate this new year Wordsmith has selected four words that have come into circulation within the past few decades. The last word will be one that you may believe to be new, but has actually been around for more than 150 years. Enjoy these words, and enjoy your week!

dox (doks)

verb transitive: to gather and publish someone’s personal information, such as phone number, address, email messages, credit card numbers, etc., especially with a malicious intent
noun: personal information about someone, collected and published without permission

Phonetic respelling of docs, short for documents, from Latin documentum (lesson, proof, specimen), from docere (to teach), which also gave us doctor and docent. Earliest documented use: early 2000s

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“He doxed her, posting her address and apartment number, which he had filched from her Internet provider.”
Jason Fagone; The Serial Swatter; The New York Times; Nov 24, 2015.

photoshop (FOT-uh-shop)

verb transitive: to digitally alter an image, especially in order to distort reality

From Adobe Photoshop, a widely-used software package for editing images. Earliest documented use: 1992

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“In the name of modesty an Israeli ultra-Orthodox publication photoshopped the female leaders from its coverage.”
First — And Last — Do No Harm; The Economist (London, UK); Jan 24, 2015.

defriend (di-FREND)

verb transitive: to remove someone from one’s list of online friends

From Latin de- (from, away) + friend, from Old English freond. Ultimately from the Indo-European root pri- (to love), which also gave us free, Friday, and Sanskrit priya (beloved). Earliest documented use: 2004

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“In Trumplandia to our south, presidential candidates and governors are trying to defriend a quarter of the world’s population and put up ‘No Muslims allowed’ signs.”
Josh Freed; Tips on Life in Montreal for Syrian Refugees; Montreal Gazette (Canada); Dec 19, 2015.

Notes (from Wordsmith)
The first use of the word ‘defriend’ in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 2004. In contrast, the first use of the word ‘befriend’ goes all the way to 1559. It took us another 100 years to ‘unfriend’ someone — 1659. The verb ‘to friend’ goes way back to 1225. Finally, the noun ‘friend’ is attested in Old English (c. 450-1150).

affluenza (af-loo-EN-zuh)

noun: a feeling of malaise accompanied by lack of motivation, dissatisfaction, feelings of guilt, especially among wealthy young people

A blend of affluence + influenza. Both words are from Latin fluere (to flow). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhleu- (to swell or overflow), from which flow words such as influence, fluctuate, fluent, fluid, fluoride, flush, flux, reflux, superfluous, fluvial, and profluent. Earliest documented use: 1973

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“When Ethan Couch was 16, he was spared prison after killing four people in a drink-driving accident because a judge found that he suffered from affluenza …
“Couch’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and there were traces of Valium and marijuana in his system when he took seven friends for a high-speed ride in his pick-up truck on June 15, 2013. He ploughed into a broken-down car at over 70 mph, killing four people who were working on it. Two of his friends were critically injured and one was left paralysed. …
“Couch’s defence hinged on a psychologist’s evidence that the boy could not understand the consequences of his actions because he had been raised by ‘profoundly dysfunctional’ millionaire parents who encouraged his bad behaviour. ‘Instead of the golden rule, which was — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you — he was taught ‘We have the gold, we make the rules,’ Dick Miller [a psychologist hired by the defense] testified.”
Ben Hoyle; Boy Who was Too Rich for Jail Goes on the Run; The Times (London, UK); Dec 18, 2015.

peeps (peeps)

noun: people, especially when referring to one’s friends or associates

Shortened form of people. Earliest documented use: 1847

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“I was with my peeps in the right-field pavilion.”
Chris Erskine; Buy Dodgers?; Los Angeles Times; Apr 18, 2013.

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