Columns / Discourse / October 2, 2008

A Knox glossary, abridged

Awkward – adjective

An all-purpose term that may be used to explain any number of social interactions. The word is generally utilized in a negative sense, but its use is so pervasive that the word is steadily moving toward becoming a comprehensive description of all things. A situation is awkward if it is unpleasant, overly pleasant, unexpected, boring, confusing, amusing, enlightening, or if it involves dancing and inebriation. People, places, concrete objects and abstract ideas may all also be accurately labeled as “awkward.”

“That guy I gave a hickey to was eating Cocoa Puffs in alfredo sauce at the caf today with his new LARPer girlfriend. It was so awkward.”

Origin: The need to label the feeling so many Knox students experience as the outcome of even the most routine social exchanges.

Related forms: Awk, adjective, Awkward Turtle, noun

BT Dubs – idiom

A phrase used when one wishes to discuss a different topic, relay a piece of pertinent information, or gently break some bad news. It is meant to inject a note of ironic humor into a conversation, but has become so widespread that it is now merely an acceptable method of shifting a conversation.

“…and to fix it, we had to buy eight bananas and some ibuprofen. BT dubs, your ID is in the C-Store.”

Origin: The expression has been traced to two possible origins, one a reference to the heretofore obscure author Bombastus Timothy Dubs, and the other to the commonly used textual talk phrase “by the way,” often shortened to the acronym BTW. The onomatopoeiatic sounds formed by voicing the letters of the acronym aloud are the most likely cause of this ever-increasingly used idiom.

Caffing it – verb

The action of dining in the Hard Knox café, as opposed to the Oak Room, the Gizmo, the C-Store, or ordering food from one of the fine restaurateurs of the Galesburg area, such as Taco Bell or Dairy Queen.

“Don’t get me any pizza, I’m caffing it tonight.”

Origin: The holy union of the words “caf” and “it.”

Related forms: Grab-and-Going, verb

Creeper – noun

An individual who makes others feel uncomfortable by breaking the subtle rules of standard human conduct. While occasionally used as a term of endearment in mild jest of a companion, the word is most often used in larger conversational groups to describe a person whom that group considers objectionable. Creepers are associated with knee-stroking, inappropriate jocularity, and Facebook.

“She told me she liked to watch me rub my neck in class. What a creeper.”

Origin: The 1990’s English “creep” and “creepy.”

Related forms: Creep, verb

I know, right? – idiom

A phrase commonly used to express strong yet detached agreement toward a point being made. The use of this idiom conveys both knowledge of the topic at hand and that the user of the phrase is in fact so knowledgeable about it that they may be considered an authority. The subtle establishment of the power relation between speaker and listener may indicate that the user of the phrase has a drive to assert his or her superiority. See ass.

“Quantum loop gravity is the main rival to nucleic string theory.”

“I know, right?”

Origin: There are some who deny it, but the ultimate origin of this phrase was the 2004 classic film Mean Girls. Lindsey Lohan has a significant stake in Knox culture.

Mack – verb

To place one’s mouth upon another person in a way so as to suggest or even possibly imitate the sexual act. Mainly used to soften the impact of a question or comment relating to an individual’s various romantic dalliances.

“They macked each other so hard after FP that I thought their lips would melt off.”

Origin: A colloquial variant of “make out.”

Related forms: Mackin’, verb, Mack on, verb

Sketchy – adjective

Unseemly, peculiar, causing unease. The fear of the unfamiliar cultivates the widespread use of this term, as some parts of the greater Galesburg area are described as such, as well as particular students about whom the general populace knows little.

“Somebody got shot there. It’s pretty sketchy.”

Origin: Possibly art majors.

Related forms: Sketch, adjective, super-sketch, adjective, sketch-city, adjective

True Story – adjective

Honest, veritable, evident. Used to assert agreement or to emphasize the accuracy of what is being said.

“The grab-and-go line is so long.”

“True story.”

Origin: So many stories circulating are false, it was necessary to create a distinction between myth and reality. “True story” is how this manifested.

Thank you to Pier Debes’10 and Mary Reindl ’11 for their contributions.

Rachel Perez


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