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Yint Nation

The words of tomorrow?

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If 2004 has brought us such terms as “wardrobe malfunction,” what new words might be in our national lexicon by 2012? The Future Dictionary of America was born three months ago when the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer was chatting with his fellow fiction writer Nicole Krauss about what sort of literary-political action they might take this election season. As it happened, Dave Eggers was having similar thoughts, so the three came up with the idea of a witty, occasionally caustic collection of words invented by writers that would define American life in the not-too-distant future. All proceeds go to such groups as the Sierra Club and MoveOn. A preview of the book, which will be published by McSweeney’s this month.

Cheney Effect [chay’•nee ee•fekt’]
n. the manifestation of personality changes brought on by the reception of a transplanted organ, usually the heart. —JEFFREY EUGENIDES

dark natter [dark’ nat•ur]
n. an analogue of “dark matter,” which astrophysicists speculate may constitute as much as 90 percent of the universe, dark natter is empty but continuous chatter of an ominous sort, whether in direct discourse, by way of the electronic media, or in print. A lethal cloud of dark natter formed above the nation’s capital and is reported to be drifting in all directions. —JOYCE CAROL OATES

limbaugh [lihm’•bah]
n. a trait that renders one’s testimony less relevant. Often used to refer to a paradox of hypocrisy, as when a commentator on public morals and ethics is himself a felonious drug addict. The fact that the president dodged the draft is a limbaugh for him, given he would like to send troops to their deaths. —DAVE EGGERS

mouse [mows]
v. to explore a town with the eager curiosity of a mouse nosing down alleyways and peeking into corners. May refer to shopping, but only if it’s done with rodentlike verve, appetite, and joyous exploration of quaint boutiques. Okay, you stay here and make the world safe for democracy; I’ll go mouse the shops. —DIANE ACKERMAN

ralphnadir [ralf•nay’•deer]
1. n. the lowest point in any process, whereby the urgent need to alter that process becomes manifest. The ralphnadir of America’s unrepresentative two-party system led to the establishment, in 2012, of our current proportional allnite-party system. 2. v. the act of creating such a low point while simultaneously undoing one’s reputation. He ralphnadired their relationship when he condescendingly denied that he’d cheneyed their joint account. —ART SPIEGELMAN

secularity blanket [sek•yoo•layr’•ihtee blan-ket]
n. 1. a small blanket or other soft cloth, often embroidered with the likeness of Noam Chomsky, clutched by an atheist or agnostic person who has failed to register according to the American Religious Resurrection Act of 2012. 2. anything that gives a person a feeling of safety or freedom from fundamentalist or absolutist oppression. —GARY SHTEYNGART

yint [yint]
adj. [slang] derogatory term for an American abroad who claims to be Canadian or from the United Kingdom to avoid abuse. ¡Este pendejo yint espera pasar de Nuevo Escoces! —ANDREW LELAND


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