Tyler Vendetti
December 16, 2014 6:10 am

Thanks to teenagers, our slang vocabulary is constantly evolving. This year alone, we saw the rise of words like “bae,” “hashtag,” and (according to the Oxford Dictionary) “vape.” What does the future of the English language hold? What words will our pimply pre-teen wordsmiths popularize in 2015? No one can say for sure but I have a few ideas.

Lumbersexual (n.): a finely-groomed man who appears to be rugged or outdoorsy

Coined this past October by GearJunkie.com, a lumbersexual is someone who “looks like a man of the woods, but works at The Nerdery, programming for a healthy salary and benefits. His backpack carries a MacBook Air, but looks like it should carry a lumberjack’s axe. He looks like a hardened outdoorsman but his flannel feels soft to the touch. He will open your beer with an omni-present Buck knife. He is a master of the retro Instagram filter.” A mutation of the crunchy-granola hipster, who plants his own food and takes pride in his extensive collection of flannel, the lumbersexual meshes the hipster’s fixation with the wilderness and the lumberjack’s manly image, producing a well-dressed group of men with fabulous beards. The popularity of this word is just starting to ramp up, so I expect it to reach its peak in 2015.

Selfie stick (n.): a small, extendable pole that can attach to a smartphone, allowing the user to take a better selfie

When I first saw the selfie stick in action, I laughed. If you’ve ever seen one, you’ve probably laughed too. This device, which originated in Asia, has become popular among tourists, selfie enthusiasts, and people with little arms who struggle to take the perfect selfie or panorama. Sports fans have even adopted the device, using it to bypass the crowds at sporting events and easily capture action shots. (If these were available in the Jurassic era, T-Rexes could have been on top of the selfie game.) The trend has only just made its way to Europe so it’s only a matter of time before we start finding these sticks for sale in the US and hearing “pass the selfie stick” in our hallways.

On fleek (adj.): on point

I’ve never heard “on fleek” but I don’t mind it as much as some other slang terms I’ve encountered recently. Invented by Vine users and often used to describe nicely trimmed eyebrows, “on fleek” appears to be either a variation of the term “fleek” used in old-century poetry or a play on the word “sleek.” For those of you questioning the legitimacy of the word and its future in our vocabulary: Ariana Grande used it in a musical cover this past year. If any pop star has the ability to popularize a vocabulary term right now, it’s Ariana Grande. Her influence is on fleek.

Obsessive Comparison Disorder (n.): disorder caused by the impulsive desire to compare yourself to others

People of the Second Chance writer Paul Angone invented this term in March of 2014 to describe “our compulsion to constantly compare ourselves with others, producing unwanted thoughts and feelings that drive us to depression, consumption, anxiety, and all-around joyous discontent.” Like FOMO (“the fear of missing out”), which scares thousands of people into partying in the middle of the week in fear of being excluded from everyone’s Facebook newsfeeds the next day, the new OCD creates a fresh standard of happiness that relies on the success of others. You may feel perfectly content with your job until you notice that your friend has just received a promotion at theirs. They may be in an entirely different professional field with an entirely different set of skills and yet, deep down, their excited Facebook update has sparked an inexplicable anxiety inside of you that causes you to feel utterly unhappy about all of your accomplishments. That’s OCD and with our ever-increasing hyper-connectivity, the disorder is bound to become more prevalent in 2015.

Doe (adv.): variation of the word “though”

Introducing “doe,” because apparently, “though” had too many letters. If you were wondering, that’s what the marketing campaign for “doe” would look like. This three-letter word has exploded over the past few months and I don’t see its popularity fading anytime soon. Hopefully, all those female deer won’t mind sharing their word with another definition for awhile.

TBD: the ending of a wildly successful podcast

The ending of Serial is ‘TBD,’ according to everyone, because the lingering questions of the podcast’s subject will remain unanswered, at least in the coming year. Considering it’s setting the tone for the future of cultural phenomenons to come in 2015, the abbreviated ‘To Be Decided’ terminology will have a moment in the zeitgeist. At least, that’s my prediction.

What words do you think will become popular in 2015?

Featured image via MakeAMeme.org.

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