9 words that describe millennials perfectly

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Millennials are a race of superterranean humans destined by fate (and ICQ) to be mocked eternally by 42-year olds. If you've never met a millennial, you need to get out more, but less importantly, here is a list of words that perfectly describes each and every millennial alive today (and maybe one or two horses alive yesterday).

  1. Technology
    • Even though technology was invented almost two decades before the first millennial was born, millennials have wholeheartedly embraced the idea. Because no other generation has ever thought of making use of the things that were just invented.
  2. Award-winning
    • I once saw a millennial win an award for Best Triple Jump. Back in my day, we didn't give kids awards for fake sports just so they could feel special! (We gave kids awards for fake sports just to be sarcastic.)
  3. Barn-burner
    • I once watched a millennial burn down my barn. To that millennial I'll be eternally grateful.
  4. Morose
    • This is a compound word that combines the words mo money and dextrose. This means that millennials have "mo money" and consequently "mo problems," and this makes them good at liking the 6th season of Dexter (ugh!).
  5. Malapropism
    • A malapropism is when you confuse a millennial for a regular human and treat them as a non-stereotypeable person.
  6. Scoopable
    • If there's a millennial, you can bet there's also a scoop in which they will easily fit.
  7. Shake'n'flake
    • Because each millennial is as unique as a snowflake and as absorbent as a cedar shake.
  8. Millennial
    • A millennial is a person who was born before a millennium started, thus are good at things that other people are also good at. For instance, us millennials who were born between 1019-1001 BCE are notoriously good at abandoning cuneiform, inventing chairs, and predicting when messiahs will be born. 
  9. Awesome sauce
    • Is that something that the youths still say? I wish I was awesome sauce. Frowny cheeseburger emoji.

The parsing of a lifetime

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If you’re like me, you’ve probably had life experiences. I’ve had three big ones, and I’m now going to share with you the best part of all three—the words they taught me!

Life event: Wedding
Word: crinoline

I went 22 blissful years of my life before ever having anyone dare to say the word crinoline to me. But that’s what you get for participating in being married, a lifetime supply of under-dress fabric stiffiness (i.e., one crinoline).

Life event: Birth of a child
Words: episiotomy, meconium

Neither is pleasant. Thankfully, I managed to get through 32 years without knowing anything about meconium or episiotomies. If you’re not expecting a child, don’t even try googling either of these with a ten-foot pole (double that for google images)!

Life event: Buying a house
Words: fascia, parging, domestic quarrel

Okay, one of those I knew before buying a house (and is actually more than one word), but the others took me 34 years on this planet to discover. They're okay words, although they're entirely useless unless you're discussing fascia or parging with other home owners or fascia/parging fixer-uppers. And, apparently, after learning these words, that's all that remains of your once youthful and relatively resplendent life: entering into lackluster discussions/plentyluster domestic quarrels with various other homeowners about fascia, parging costs, the colour of soffit, the appropriate uses of cold cellars, are the bats getting in through the chimney?, what's that sound in the attic?, why is the attic on the front yard?, did you remember to rake the leaves out of the front yard attic?, I'M DOING IT NOW!!

As my Uncle Jimmy always says at family reunions: "Life events, and the people involved, will come and go, but the words will last a lifetime."

This week in words in 1879 (±51 weeks)

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FACT: the Merriam-Webster dictionary is wonderful. If you've never cracked one open, do your eyes the opposite of a non-favour and check one out. One thing they've always done, in hardcopies and onthelinecopies, is let you know the year in which each word was first known to be used in print. Now, online, you can also do this backwards and look up the words that are believed to be first used in any given year.

I chose to highlight words from 1879, because that's the year my sister will turn -100 when time starts Benjamin Buttoning her. Here are some words that were first (and in some cases probably only) used in 1879,

  • Hardscrabble - A level of Scrabble two above mediumscrabble that ultimately ends with a board of tiles flung across the room and your father yelling at you that hardscrabble is a bullshit word.
  • Chin-wag - As host of the Tonight Show, Jay Leno was an excellent chin-wagger.
  • Sulphur butterfly - Sulphur Butterfly was 1879's 3rd greatest metal band, right after Wooddica and Muskets N' Daffodils. 
  • Nonlibrarian, nonmathematician - It turns out that 1879 was so infested with egghead librarians/mathematicians that the English language decided to give a shout out to the non-those guys. Much like how in 2012 we all collectively longed for the word nonbelieber.
  • Death's-head hawk moth - Not only my nickname in high school, but also a type of moth. Also, the seventh best metal band of 1879.
  • Pectoral girdle - Despite all appearances, it is not what Kramer later termed the bro and what Frank wanted to call the manssiere. Basically, it's your shoulder region. He was a bit too creepy, so I decided to give him the cold pectoral girdle.

All the dirt got muddy...

If you consider y a vowel, which I sometimes do, there aren't many words in the English language that contain all vowels with all of them in alphabetical order. Here are the ones I found:

  • abstemiously - in a manner of having restraint, typically with respect to drinking alcohol. As in, "I'm not going to abstemiously not drink this entire bottle of apricot schnapps."
  • adventitiously - if you don't intrinsically know the definition of adventitiously, perhaps one day you'll stumble upon it.
  • facetiously - just (inappropriately) kidding!
  • sacrilegiously - in a manner of receiving religion from a sac.

And only abstemiously and facetiously have all 6 vowels, only 6 vowels, and all of them in alphabetical order. So... now that's something we know.

The origin of the alphabet

The word alphabet—what we call the collection of however many English letters there are—is Greek for the first 1.75 letters of the Greek alphabet. So, basically, when they were coming up with the name of the alphabet, they were just like, "what should we call all the letters?" and then Conservatisus was like, "Why do we need a word for it? Just say 'alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon...'" And then Cheryl was all like, "Ya! It's the alpha, bet... ugh! Let's just end it there and go have some more baklava."

Thus ends the origin of the alphabet.

1940 was extremely medium

Ask any self-proclaimed European, or Louis C. K. impersonator, and they'll tell you that North Americans have, of late, been taking things a smidge to the extreme. They'll tell you that we find run-of-the-mill, everyday occurrences to be "the greatest," or "the worst," or "amaze-balls," or "fml," or "mega-fly," or "totes the dope-on-a-rope!" That was a super long list.

As it turns out, the English language extremely agrees to the max. Results from Google Ngram searches show that we've been using medium-meaning adjectives (medium included) less and less over the past few decades. The majority of medium-meaning adjectives are on the decline in the English language:

 Usage of medium-meaning words in 1940 compared to 2008. Data from  Google Ngram

Usage of medium-meaning words in 1940 compared to 2008. Data from Google Ngram

Like any rational reductionist, I blame Trump. #MakeMediumGreatAgain 

Word usage that has also decreased since 1940:

common, usual, normal, routine, commonplace, middle, regular, routine, standard, midmost, median, sufficient, sufficing, inmost.

Word usage that has actually gone up since 1940:

intermediary, central, conventional, modest, so-so, halfway, midsize, medial, in-between, tolerable.