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The New Economy

Recession slang: 10 new terms for a new economy

The recession may be over, but the new slang it spawned just might be here to stay. Here are our Top 10 picks.

By Tracey D. Samuelson, Taylor BarnesCorrespondents / March 8, 2010

The recession will have an enduring legacy on lives and language. For example, "staycation" is a popular term generated from the recession. It means taking a vacation from work, but staying close to home to save money.

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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.

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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.

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."

Antonym: outsource.

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.

Sometimes laughing at difficult situations makes them more bearable. Do you have recession slang to share? Tell Tracey D. Samuelson about it on Twitter:@TDSamuelson or the Monitor team on Facebook.

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