Reprinted in The Oz from The Economist was an article on how English lags behind in climate change word creation. It’s about how across many linguistic groups but unlike in English new terms are being coined in relation to climate change. There we find this:
Van Dale, a dictionary publisher, lets the Dutch-speaking public vote on its word of the year (in separate contests in Belgium and The Netherlands). For 2019 Belgians chose winkelhieren, or “buying local”. The Dutch went with an imported word that has a good case for being the winner in English, too: “boomer”.
As Chloe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old member of New Zealand’s parliament, was giving an impassioned speech on the impact of climate change on her generation, she coolly dismissed a heckling older MP with a curt “OK, boomer”. The phrase was already an internet meme; Swarbrick made it the talk of the offline world as well.
I’m not sure I can actually think of anyone lower on my list of authorities on anything than “a 25-year-old member of New Zealand’s parliament” but let that be. And myself being one of these baby boomers, whose generation has done so much to lower the collective common sense of the planet, I will remind Ms Swarbrick that what she thinks she knows she learned from us, from us baby-boomers, her teachers and professors at every step along the road of her education.
But what struck me even more in the search for a collective term to describe “a believer in cataclysmic anthropogenic climate-change”, now all so common everywhere, is that in her honour such people should be referred to as a “swarbrick”. It’s the brick part that I find so accurate, as in “thick as a brick”, but also because of how lacking in melody and sweetness the term itself seems to be. You’re just a swarbrick, you climate change ninny. Like Victoria was turned into “Victorian”: we would have swarbrick turned into “swarbrickian” in its adjectival form.
I imagine that Ms Swarbrick would take this usage as a badge of honour.