Tag Archives: etymology

What climate change and video games have in common

The always-enlightening Clive Thompson recently called attention to an interesting neologism that links climate change to failing MMO games: solastalgia, defined by Thompson as “the homesickness one feels not when one moves away, but when one’s home environment vanishes before one’s eyes.” How disheartening that our world has given us an entirely new way to be sad.

“Solastalgia”: The sadness caused by environmental change

Solastalgia: My latest column for Wired

Teleportation, the last battle, and the Creator talks: How the world ends inside an online game


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Ginned up

Obama press conferenceThere’s already some chatter about Obama’s use of the old-fashioned phrase “ginned up” in his first official press conference as president last night. I love word origins — if I thought I could make a living at it, I’d be an etymologist — so I dug around a little to find a good explanation of the phrase. Urban Dictionary lists several definitions, but I think that Obama’s intent was along the lines of being excited or motivated, but in a negative context, like a drunk with a bad idea.

The ever-enlightening Online Etymology Dictionary points out that the origin of the phrase deals with shoving ginger up a horse’s ass, which is just the kind of thing they’re always including, whether you want to know it or not.

Also, hey, did you notice that the press conference was streamed live on whitehouse.gov? Love this new technology-friendly administration.

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