Lingo 2010

Death grip, Gleek, Liberation procedure

Lingo 2010

Getty Images; Istock

Death grip: Holding an iPhone 4 by its edge resulted in signal interference and dropped calls, because that’s where Apple placed its antenna. Steve Jobs initially pooh-poohed complaints, ordering customers to hold the phone differently.

Gleek: A fan of Glee, the wildly popular TV show about a high school glee club.

Liberation procedure: An experimental technique developed by Dr. Paolo Zamboni to open up narrowed veins in the neck and chest of multiple sclerosis sufferers.

Flash crash: In May, American stock markets lost more than 1,000 points in an hour, and some stocks, like Procter & Gamble, lost virtually all of their value before recovering. Blame was pinned on high-frequency trading—supercomputers automatically sniff out bargains a fraction of a second before most investors see them.

Halfalogue: A cellphone conversation strangers are forced to endure, usually while trapped in a vehicle of some sort.

Ground Zero mosque: The name critics attached to a Muslim cultural centre to be built in New York City. It isn’t on Ground Zero or a mosque, though it is nearby and will have prayer spaces.

Refudiate: Sarah Palin’s neologism, coined in a Twitter plea for “peaceful Muslims” to refute or repudiate—no one’s sure which—the Ground Zero mosque.

PIIGS: The heavily indebted nations of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, which are all facing fiscal crises—and humiliating bailouts—courtesy of high levels of debt and/or massive budget deficits.

Sexual napalm: How John Mayer described Jessica Simpson in Playboy. She had long since taken up with another guy. Go figure.

Strategic default: When mortgages cost more than properties are worth, owners hand the keys back to the banks. As a corporate strategy, it’s considered sound business practice. When homeowners do it, they are accused of trashing neighbourhoods and the financial system.

Spillcam: Part of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill lexicon, which included many vivid descriptors of efforts to cap the out-of-control well—junk shot, top kill, top hat and, finally, the successful “static kill.”