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Taxed and Spinned

Every now and then we are reminded of the awesome power of words. The reminder comes this time from some psychological research reported by Nicholas Epley in The New York Times. He and two colleagues on the Harvard faculty were interested in whether the American public would really spend the tax rebate and help jumpstart our financial recovery. Behold! Their conclusion: "Describing a financial windfall as a 'rebate' -- instead of something equally accurate — increases the likelihood that people will save it. If Congress and President Bush want to increase consumer spending, they should have pitched these $600 and $1,200 checks as 'tax bonuses' instead."

So use the right word for your windfall, and go out and buy something.

Along with bonus there are plenty of trendy words and phrases that you can drop into your conversation if you want to seem cool. When someone objects, bring out a quote from the famous linguist David Crystal of North Wales who insists that change in language is inevitable and points to the number of neologisms that once seemed strange but are now everyday useful terms.

We don't have to like them, but they are here and many of them will stay with us:



How about ginormous, which the online Urban Dictionary tells us is a blend of giant and enormous? It is increasingly used in advertising copy.

Rino A member of the Republican Party who is viewed as being too liberal. As in "After all, Moore said, 'I think if you're a Republican in 2004 you've got to stand for a few things. You've got to be for school choice, and you've got to be for cutting taxes, and you've got to be for smaller government. Otherwise, what are Republicans good for? That's why we keep saying [Arlen] Specter's a rino." Source: the online Word Spy.

Just to be fair let's also include:

Lexus liberal A person who is liberal in words but not in deeds. "This phrase is based on the type of people who claim to champion the cause of the working poor, but who revel in the luxuries of life, such as Lexus automobiles." Source: the online Word Spy.

And last but pretty important: e-gret. According to Paul Brown of The New York Times, this is that sickening feeling you get immediately after having sent an ill-conceived e-mail. Familiar?



Let Rosie hear from you by phone (358-0825, ext 322), e-mail (rozanne.epps@styleweekly.com) or by mail (1707 Summit Ave., Richmond Va. 23230).

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