Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 10:43:04 -0500
From: Grant Barrett
Subject: RE>Re: Neologisms

I have never seen that list, but I do know some of the words and I have a few thoughts.

casp kid: Casp kids (those born between 1960 and 1970) actually benefited from the mass media's obsession with the boomers. (95/4/25 New York Times A3)

-- I have a feeling this should be "cusp kid," which I have seen in print before.

chai: To the coffees and teas it serves in its cafes, Borders bookstore add chai, a blend of tea, milk, vanilla, honey and spices. (5/15/97 Wall Street Journal p1)

-- This is an interesting usage of what I always considered a generic word for "tea" from Russian and a couple of related languages. Here in the New York City, at least, "chai" has usually gone the route of referring specifically to more or less "Turkish coffee" but there is an article about the "chai" trend at

cigar-ish: News of the New York nightlife crackdown must be slow to travel, and that s a good thing. With a few exceptions, clubland of late has tended toward the intimate, loungey, cigar-ish; let's face it, it's been getting boring. (97/9/8 New York p128)

-- Nothing unusual with the "ish" suffix. We use it all the time to mean "around, about, like, approximately, similar to, related to." My favorite usage of "ish" is to tack on the end of a time, as in "We'll meet at the bar at two-ish" meaning "We'll meet at the bar sometime around two o'clock."

crowd-surf: That crowd-surfing business looks like fun. I tried to imagine hippies crowd-surfing at the original Woodstock to someone like, oh, Ravi Shankar. Then again, you watch people crowd-surfing to countrified Melissa Etheridge and you think: What s wrong with this picture? (8/15/94 Sun D1)

-- Crowd surfing is when a body is lifted and passed around by a sea of arms and people, usually at a music show. Concert footage often shows ill, faint or injured fans being passed to medical personnel on the perimeter this way, but the fans and the musicians themselves are just as likely to do it. It's fun. Goes hand in hand with "moshing" (thrashing around and dancing dervish-like; I used to hear it applied to crowds at heavy metal shows, but now I believe it's in broader use) and "stage diving" (you know: leaping off the stage head and arms first onto the moshing bodies below) and "the pit" (the intense knot of moshers near the front of the stage made up of pushers, shovers, spinners, all galloping and pogoing about).

Grant Barrett