Words from our Word Box: update 15

by the ANDC team

Click on the logo to go to the Word Box page

Click on the logo to go to the Word Box page

This is the second update for 2016 on contributions to our Word Box, the website feature you can use to alert us to new or unfamiliar words and phrases. These contributions allow us to identify new material for our archive of Australian words, and also for our general Australian Oxford dictionaries. We encourage you to contribute—just click on the Word Box image to the left to post your word. A few of the more interesting contributions from the last three months are discussed below; some are new to us, and some we already know. We welcome any comments about your understanding or experience of these words, and look forward to your contributions to Word Box.

An acai bowl

An acai bowl.

acai bowl (also açai bowl) – a thick smoothie-like concoction containing acai berries, served in a bowl. The term derives from açai, a South American palm tree with small edible purple berries, one of the latest ‘superfoods’. The acai bowl is a variant of the fashionable smoothie bowl, the hipster café breakfast of choice. Whizz up your favourite fruits and superfoods, put them in a bowl and eat with a spoon. Acai bowls contain acai berries in some form, either dried, or as a powder or frozen puree. One café not too far from us includes ‘a blend of acai, banana, avocado and spinach, topped with kiwi, granola, goji berries and honey’. And a hot tip before you order your acai bowl: acai is pronounced uh-SIGH-ee. 

beanette – a small variety of green bean. The -ette suffix in this word denotes relatively small size, as in kitchenette and flatette. You may have noticed beanettes have become popular on cooking shows and in the vegetable section of your supermarket in recent times. A beanette is not just a standard variety of green bean picked early to cater for the current fashion for mini-vegetables; it is a cultivar of the standard bean, with short, slim, round pods. Beanettes lend themselves to being cooked whole, and look especially good in a stir-fry or salad. We think so, anyway.

bedwetter – a person, especially a politician, who panics easily. This is a figurative sense of the literal bedwetter, a person who urinates involuntarily while sleeping. As a political insult it originates in the US. Its first recorded use is likely to have been in a 1980s glossary of US legal terms. This is the entry: ‘BED WETTERS. Slang term for young liberal Congressional Democrats who panic easily when things don’t go their way.’ (Redden and Veron, Modern Legal Glossary, 1980) Recently in Australia the figurative bedwetter has gained some currency, especially as used by Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin. Speaking on Sky News, she condemned the ‘hapless group of bedwetters‘ in the Coalition who were scared easily by bad polls into changing leaders.

Senator Cory Bernardi, delcon

Senator Cory Bernardi, delcon.

delcon (also del-con) – a conservative federal politician who is a supporter of former PM Tony Abbott and his policies; a ‘delusional conservative’. Delcon is a blend of the words delusional and conservative. It was coined by journalist Miranda Devine in an article in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, 12 March 2016, in which she discusses the ‘dwindling band of delusional conservatives’ who rail against the leadership change that saw the overthrow of Tony Abbott:  ‘Abbott and the Del-Cons are further undermining conservative credibility at a crucial time, when progressive activists are going in for the kill on transformative cultural issues such as same-sex marriage and the sort of LGBTIQ social ­engineering contained in the Safe Schools policy’. Delcon is a catchy term, but it’s too soon to tell if it will last.

halal snack pack (also HSP) – a takeaway meal of hot chips topped with halal-certified kebab meat, and one or more sauces. Halal is a mid-19th century Arabic word, and here it means ‘relating to meat prepared as prescribed by Muslim law’. The halal snack pack, a menu staple for some kebab shops, came to national attention recently on federal election night (2 July) with the election of Pauline Hanson to the Australian Senate. Her One Nation Party campaigned against halal certification, claiming it is a ‘money making racket’ and funds terrorism. On election night Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, an Iranian-born Australian, invited her to join him in the western suburbs of Sydney for a halal snack pack. Pauline Hanson declined.  Halal snack pack is likely to be an Australian term.

halal snack pack

A halal snack pack.

iceberg house (also iceberg home) – a house, typically in an inner city location, that has a large underground extension. The term is first recorded in 2011, and derives from the fact that, like an iceberg, this type of house is bigger below the surface than above. The rise of the iceberg house began in London this century, and was driven by rising house prices and the strict building regulations regarding heritage-listed inner city dwellings. But if you’re wealthy and you can’t build up, you can still excavate. Some London homeowners have taken full advantage of the space beneath their residence, adding basement levels that include home cinemas, swimming pools, spas, and gyms. Not surprisingly this kind of building work can be lengthy and logistically difficult, and potential problems include flooding, structural damage, and neighbourhood dissatisfaction.

An iceberg house

An iceberg house.

ransomware – a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. The word is formed from the word ransom ‘a sum of money demanded or paid for the release of a captive’, and the combining form -ware ‘denoting a kind of software’. Other words formed in similar way are malware ‘malicious software’ and shareware ‘software that is available free of charge and often distributed informally for evaluation, after which a fee may be requested for continued use’. Evidence for ransomware can be found from around 2005.

Western Bulldogs Midfielder Clay Smith with a torn ACL.

Western Bulldogs midfielder Clay Smith with a torn ACL.

reco – an abbreviation of reconstruction, denoting reconstruction surgery. This is often found in compounds such as knee reco, shoulder reco, and ACL reco (reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament – often the result of a sporting injury). Evidence for reco is overwhelmingly Australian, and dates from about 2005.