The recession may be technically over but its effects on our life and language are far from it. In fact, some recession words have become so ubiquitous – staycation, for one (see below) – that they just might be here to, ahem, stay.
Recession language isn’t a new phenomenon. Thanks to the Great Depression we have terms like: Okie, dirt poor, and baloney (to mean ridiculous, not the mystery sandwich meat). Even the term “depression” has been attributed to Herbert Hoover, who is thought to have wanted to avoid using the more common, but more alarming terms “panic” or “crisis” to describe what subsequently became known as the Great Depression.
So, in the spirit of trying to laugh at our collective condition, we’ve compiled a lexicon of our Top 10 favorite words birthed by the recession. Laugh, cry, and submit your favorite new-economy words in the comments below.
Recession slang: 10 new terms for a new economy
10. Funemployment, n. The practice of enjoying one’s unemployment.
The funemployed subscribe to the philosophy that in the face of bleak employment prospects, it’s better to make the most of time off by catching up with old (read: also unemployed) friends or developing low-cost hobbies, ideally during normal business hours to realize the additional benefit of irking ones employed friends.
Sample sentence: As part of my funemployment plan, I’ve joined an Ultimate Frisbee league and am providing foster care to three puppies.
See also: Funderemployed (adj.) taking a job that’s fun because employment that pays well or is in one’s field is unavailable.
9. Insource, v. To do oneself what one previously paid others to do.
Sample sentence: “No, I can’t meet you for brunch this morning. I’m insourcing my laundry these days and have five loads piled up.”
Alternate sample sentence: “I know my nails look like someone took a chainsaw to them, but I insource manicures now.”
8. Staycation, n. Vacationing at home or near home because traveling further would be prohibitively expensive.
For better or worse, staycation is perhaps the most widely-used and accepted term of the new-economy lexicon.
Sample sentence: “That’s right, if something doesn’t change, we’re going to have to staycation at my in-laws this summer … again.”
7. Intaxication, n. A sense of delight mingled with the perception of instant wealth that one feels upon receiving a tax refund.
Sample sentence: “It seemed like a good idea to charge that pair of Louboutins/small boat/Caribbean vacation to my credit card when I got my tax refund. But when I got my statement a week later, it was clear I was in a haze of intaxication at the time of purchase.”
6. Madoff’d, v. To get ripped off in a particularly offensive fashion.
Sample sentence: “Oh man, that cab driver totally Madoff’d me. I gave him a $20 and he only gave me change for a $10.”
5. Recessionista, n. A consumer who has historically paid big bucks to look like a million bucks and who, unwilling to quit his/her fashion habit in the face of the recession, has found alternative ways to maintain a certain standard of wardrobe.
Such strategies often include shopping at discount and second-hand stores. More prevalent in the media than in everyday conversation.
Sample sentence: “The clerks at Barneys are suffering from withdrawal now that I’m a recessionista and rent my handbags online instead of buying.”
See also: frugalista.
Related: “crisis chic” (adj.)
4. Mancession, n. A recession, such as this most recent one, which hits men harder than women.
Sample sentence: “The extent of this mancession became clear to me when I realized it was all dads in F-250s in the carpool line.”
See also: he-cession.
3. Povo, adj. A two-syllable “abbreviation” for poor, often with a mocking or self-defacing tone that lacks any serious derision or the class implications associated with “poor” or “poverty.”
Derivation: Australian (Aussie) English
Sample sentence (better if said with faux Australian accent): “We’re living sans Internet and cable now that my povo roommate won’t chip in for it anymore. It’s like the 1980s around here.”
2. Permatemp, n. The condition of being permanently employed as a temporary worker.
This could be due to lack of motivation to seek permanent employment, inability to find permanent employment, or the permatemp’s belief that a company will eventually hire him/her for the job s/he is currently doing for lower pay and without benefits.
Sample sentence: “Wake up, Joe. You’ve been here for six months, your cubicle is decorated better than your living room, and the hiring manager still doesn’t know your name. You’re officially a permatemp, my friend.”
1. Decruited, adj. To be fired from a position one has not even started yet.
Sample sentence: “At first I felt really bad about being decruited from that corporate law firm after spending two summers of law school interning for them. But then I decided to make the most of my funemployment and use my signing bonus to travel around Europe.”