BEST OF 2013

Word on the Street: Portland’s 2013 Glossary

Language is a constantly evolving beast, growing alongside the people who speak and use it. What new words were added to the Portland vernacular this year?

December 12, 2013

n.) The frustration that triggers a dark urge in otherwise law-abiding Portland drivers to speed, accelerate at yellow lights, and drive erratically while renting a vehicle from Car2Go, which charges by the minute. 

IN A SENTENCE: I’m rarely in a hurry. But whenever I see a stoplight ahead, I remember I’m paying 38 cents a minute and hit the gas. This Car2Slow!

SEE ALSO: Unsmart car; taxi ataxia; that awkward moment when you decide to blow a light on your bike even though you’re usually lecturing people about how bikes are legal vehicles, just like cars. (They’re not like cars.)

(n.) The act of abandoning your preferred food cart for a less-popular, lower-quality, or otherwise inferior one simply because its line is shorter.

IN A SENTENCE: “I love Nong’s as much as the next person, but I only have 10 minutes to grab lunch. Guess I’ll be line-dancing down to that Vietnamese cart that poisoned half the office last week. Fortunately, I have a very strong constitution.”

SEE ALSO: Line of credit (n): the amount of faith in a food cart’s quality granted solely by length of its line.  

(adj.) Exhibiting a fashionable state of engineered decay, dishevelment, or simulated rot. 

AS SEEN IN:  Restaurant décor and personal appearance. 

IN A SENTENCE:  “You’d never guess from the rust, peeling paint, and dingy lighting that this bar opened just a week ago. Hello, glamshackle!” 

RELATED: Just-so bed-head, distressed jeans, new “antiques.”

(n. or adj.) A person simultaneously afflicted with feelings of stern disapproval for illegal fireworks and a burning, childlike desire to detonate some. 

IN A SENTENCE:  Person 1: “Ugh, I can’t stand it when our neighbors set off bottle rockets over our house. What if one lands on our roof and sets it on fire? Wait—that one was cool! Maybe I should go over to help them!” Person 2: “You’re a total pyrophrenic.” 

SEE ALSO: Sparkler sorrow; TNTeetotaler

(n.) The ability to adapt one’s manner, behavior, or appearance in order to successfully (and expeditiously) get a bartender’s attention. 

IN A SENTENCE:  “If you want to get a drink, whatever you do, don’t raise your hand. Just silently nod and look cool. And take off those glasses; he hates anything ‘hipster.’ It’s pure barwinism in here.” 

SEE ALSO:  Survival of the hottest; Natural Light selection; Bro-Magnons

Yawn voyage
Blasé Portlanders’ travel experience when they hear about other cities’ chef’s tables, pickling scenes, bike-friendliness, etc. 

IN A SENTENCE:  “I went to Cincinnati specifically to get away from Portland—to sleep by a highway and eat at a strip mall. But I kept ending up on bike tours to artisan supper clubs in some neighborhood called ‘Over-the-Rhine.’ Total yawn voyage.” 

ANTONYM:  Dalles disorder (n)—Some Portlanders’ anxiety on the far side of an imaginary line, defined by the 85 miles from here to The Dalles, where they fear they won’t find good coffee. 

(n.) A false display of careerist drive by someone who’d really rather just be drinking beer and/or watching TV all day. 

IN A SENTENCE:  “Sarah’s aggressive LinkedIn requests make you think she’s aiming for the corner office, but it’s all shambition. If you want to see how she really spends her time, look at her Pinterest page.”

SEE ALSO: Zenthusiasm—the art of achieving detachment and seeming to enjoy obligatory events—family gatherings, work retreats, etc.—that, in reality, cause great psychic pain. 

(n.) A follower of the “paleo” diet—the trendy faux–Stone Age regime of meats, nuts, veggies, and fruits that excludes grains and dairy—who falls off the wagon (or falls out of the Flintstonemobile, perhaps). 

IN A SENTENCE:  “I’ve been eating nothing but rare steak and almonds for weeks. Then I get one whiff of my grandma’s lasagna and I’m a total faleo.” 

RELATED:  Glute-ons—people who claim to be “gluten free” until you offer to buy them a cold beer or a warm scone.

The Rides of March
(n.) The treacherous moment when rookie cyclists, eager to participate in the Portland bike scene they’ve heard about, hit the roads (and meander into traffic) at the first sign of nice weather. 

IN A SENTENCE:  “I’m glad you’re taking your new Bianchi out for a spin, Steve, but—holy bike box!—beware the Rides of March.” 

RELATED:  Dismember December (on Mount Hood’s ski slopes); the High-Risk Riviera (all area rivers on hot August days).

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