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January 11, 2019  |  Friday words #155  |  946 hit(s)

Almost back to normal words after all that Word and Name of the Year business the last couple of weeks. In case you don't follow the latest in lexicographic news, the American Dialect Society selected tender-age shelter as their overall Word of the Year. They have a press release (PDF) that lists all of the nominations, with winners in each category. The American Name Society selected Jamal Khashoggi as their Name of the Year. (Pleasingly, Gritty was their Trade Name of the Year.)

Ok, the new-to-me word this week is ICE-ing or ICEing, which I learned via Twitter user @VintageReader. You might think this has something to do with the government agency known as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), but no. In this case, ICE stands for "internal combustion engine," though that still doesn’t tell you what ICE-ing is.

An article in Jalopnik, a car-oriented site, has the story: ICE-ing is blocking an EV charging spot by using your non-electric vehicle. As with rolling coal, which is also mentioned in the article, there might be innocuous reasons why someone would practice ICE-ing (using the last available parking spot, say, or just not paying attention). But there are definitely cases when ICE-ing is another way to own the libs. As the author of the article writes, "I generally like people, which may be why I never fail to be surprised when I encounter people being truly unrepentant dickheads for no good reason whatsoever." People he also calls "bro-truck owners," ha.

As noted, this was not an obvious neologism to me. But I ran across something that explained why ICE works here: electric-car owners are being "iced out of" their charging stations. Ah. I was also surprised that the word is not new-new; the Word Spy (Paul McFedries) found a citation from back in 2011. So ICE-ing (the activity) was probably invented about a day after the first EV stations appeared in parking lots, and ICE-ing (the word) itself shortly thereafter.

Speaking of cars and websites, the name of the Jalopnik website seems to be based on the word jalopy, which refers to a dilapidated car. Where did jalopy come from? Most dictionaries stick with "origin unknown." The word appeared in the 1920s, reflecting a period when cars had become widespread enough that some people were driving beaters, although the OED says that the word could also refer to a battered "aeroplane." Douglas Harper makes a somewhat daring conjecture that it's from the name of the city Jalapa in Mexico, "where many U.S. used cars supposedly were sent." If that's true, it means jalopy is related to the word jalapeño, as in the pepper. An unlikely pair.

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