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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 22 March, 2018

10 buzzwords from 2014 that are still ringing in our ears

“Dox me on the cloud and I swear I will blow the whistle on you, you spornosexual troll.”

YOU COULDN’T MOVE in 2014 without hearing some phrase or another that you didn’t quite understand, or could live happily ever after if you never heard it again.

Some were exquisite euphemisms dreamed up by our politicians, others were vague technical terms, and a couple were just plain meaningless.

Speaking of which…

“Conscious uncoupling”

3nd Annual Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala - Inside Source: AP/Press Association Images

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow broke up in March. And in keeping with the wooly-jumper tone of their entire relationship, even their divorce was bland and maddeningly inoffensive.

If we can recognize that our partners in our intimate relationships are our teachers, helping us evolve our internal, spiritual support structure, we can avoid the drama of divorce and experience what we call a conscious uncoupling.

The announcement on Paltrow’s website used an astonishing number of words and concepts to basically explain that they were about to have a lovely divorce.

“Performance related awards”

…is what Irish Water insisted on calling “bonuses”, when it emerged that some of their staff would be getting them next year.


10246174_593186840777187_1335123284_n-500x500 Reality TV star Dan Osborne is Britain's spornosexual-in-chief. Source: Danosborneofficial via Instagram

Journalist Mark Simpson, the man who gave the world “metrosexual” in the 90s to describe wealthy, urban young men who pay attention to their dress, bestowed upon us “spornosexual” in 2014.

Derived from that horrible meeting of “sport” and “porn”, these guys are completely obsessed with their bodies – ceaselessly working out at the gym, adorning themselves with tattoos, all for the benefit of their lucky, lucky followers on social media.

Knowledge development box

Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s Budget announcement in October introduced us to the “knowledge-development box” – spectacular nugget of jargon which just means giving tax cuts to companies for patenting new products and technology in Ireland.


Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame - Nashville Source: Mark Humphrey

This summer, the cancellation of Garth’s gigs got 103 mentions in the Dáil in July alone, Enda received 1,000 emails from a distraught public about it.

And we may have mentioned it once or twice ourselves. *Cough*

Garthgate was THE word on everyone’s tear-soaked lips in Ireland this summer.

Water conservation grant


This term – for internet users who deliberately antagonise and provoke other internet users, often by saying awful, awful stuff – has been around for a while.

But it crossed over into mainstream news this year, when Sky News took to the streets of Leicester to confront Brenda Leyland, who had been accused of “trolling” the parents of Madeleine McCann on Twitter.

A few days later, Leyland was found dead, although it is not believed the Sky News confrontation played a direct role in her death.

“The cloud”

67th Cannes Film Festival - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I Party Source: PA

An hallucinogenic gas emitted by Bebo, which overcame irresponsible female celebrities in September and caused them to share photos and videos of their most intimate moments with millions of complete strangers.

Or not. Here’s what the cloud actually is, and here’s why it was such a big deal in 2014.


Doxing (from “documents”), involves someone sharing personal or private information – social media posts, criminal and academic records – about a target online, almost always to victimise or discredit them.

When it emerged that Rolling Stone magazine had mismanaged an article about an alleged rape victim at a US university, reviled Twitter user Charles Johnson revealed her identity, and made claims about her past online.

After Officer Darren Wilson was cleared of charges in the shooting of Michael Brown, a blog called Racists Getting Fired engaged in doxing against people who published racial slurs online.

Culpable homicide

South Africa Pistorius Trial Source: AP/Press Association Images

You probably heard this term hundreds of times over the course of the trial of Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

It’s roughly equivalent to manslaughter – unintentionally or recklessly causing someone’s death – but the nuances of the South African interpretation filled hours of TV and yards of written analysis.

On 11 September, Pistorius was acquitted of murder and premeditated murder, but found guilty of culpable homicide the following day.


Garda whistleblower at committee hearing Source: Niall Carson

US activist Ralph Nader coined this term in 1972, but we heard it A LOT in Ireland this year.

Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson were labelled “disgusting” by then-Commissioner Callinan in January.

But their actions led to his resignation, and that of Justice Minister Alan Shatter, as well as the sacking of Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly.

Jobs Department official Gerry Ryan put “whistleblower” back into the headlines in November when he sent a ledger detailing years of tax evasion by senior politicians to member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Read: ‘YOLO’ and ‘amazeballs’ have been added to the Oxford Dictionaries>

‘Selfie’, ‘hashtag’ and ‘tweep’ added to the dictionary>

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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