Just a few weeks ago, the American Dialect Society named "subprime" the word of the year for 2007. The year before, it was "plutoed," and before, that it was "truthiness."
Each year, scholars, linguists and lexicographers decide which new words should be formally entered into our dictionaries, or at least what words should be deigned mainstream enough to have formal definitions.
Every now and then, euphemisms and slang from the world of singles yield some new words, too. Sometimes, they might even make it into a real dictionary.
For the past few years, I've been collecting — and occasionally coining — terms ever since I read of the "dating industrial complex." The New York Times Sunday Styles section came up with this term in 2003, and although it has subsequently appeared in print only twice in The San Francisco Chronicle and a smattering of blogs and Web sites, the "DIC" is a great term.
The DIC is based on the economic theory of the military industrial complex, where military spending fuels the economy at large. In our world of dating, the DIC refers to the popular culture and lucrative businesses that spin off the lives of singles. A more cynical review might consider it exploitation of single people.
The DIC economy includes everything from professional matchmakers and online dating services to self-help books, relationship counselors and all other businesses that otherwise rely on singles for money.
It also covers the so-called reality-television shows that focus on relationships, hooking up or dating. Plus, there are all the morning television shows that have so-called "relationship experts" on to explain to the rest of the world how and where to find love. The DIC has far-reaching tentacles.
My list is far from comprehensive, but here are some of my favorite new terms:
· Re-vite — This is when someone attempts to invite someone out on another date, usually after already being rejected. For example: "Jon re-vited Sarah after she already blew him off for coffee."
· JDate-Live — No, this is not a late-night sketch comedy show (yet). It is any Jewish singles event where there is a strong possibility of running into the same people you've already tried to avoid on popular Jewish-themed online dating services.
I first heard this phrase recently when my friend "Rachel" could not decide whether or not to head out to a matzah ball on Christmas Eve. "Why should I go, it will just be like JDate-live," she lamented. (She went to the dance anyway.)
· J-aded — After going on one-too-many dates thanks to the popular online dating service, I came up with this one. Definition: weary and wary, blasé and distrustful after numerous dates procured from a Jewish-themed online dating service. Someone who is j-aded, might also decide to take a J-break. I recently stumbled on that latter term after reading a profile for a woman who decided to let her online subscription lapse, but have her profile remain up and active. Her profile said something like, "Taking a J-break right now, but will be back online soon."
· De-Harmonized — The process of being rejected by an online dating service (not to be confused with being rejected by the actual users of the service).
Reports recently surfaced that the ubiquitously-advertised online dating service eHarmony turns away potential clients. Founded by an author and psychologist, it bills itself as "America's No. 1 trusted relationship service."
Fiona Posell, eHarmony's vice president of corporate communications, said that its competitor's advertising campaign misstates the eHarmony program, which makes its matches after users complete an extensive, 200-question questionnaire.
Though the company would not release the number of potential clients who could not be matched, Posell said that "the fact that we won't sell a membership is something that is good for the long-term."
· Shotgun Message — The practice of sending the same e-mail to every member of the opposite sex in your area code, zip code or a 40-mile radius of where you live. Though I've never sent a shotgun message, I do know plenty of people who have received them, mostly women.
This clumsy, unoriginal approach seems to be employed mostly by men, who must be operating under the "spaghetti theory" — meaning, basically, that if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, some will stick. Gentlemen, this is not the way to a lady's heart. Sending the same message to two dozen women in your region will not make any one woman feel special.
· E-jected — The process of breaking up with a partner or otherwise rejecting someone via modern technologies, such as e-mail, instant messaging or text messaging to avoid an awkward confrontation.
As the dating world grows more and more complex, our vocabularies will surely expand. So keep your ears — and your dictionaries — open!
Roy S. Gutterman is a Syracuse, N.Y.-based writer. To contact him visit: www.Lrev.com.