Alex Steer

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You've been facewhacked

229 words

On the subject of Facebook neologisms, Laura Varnam tells me that Stuart Lee, in his English Language lecture (Oxford English FHS Paper 1) the other week set students the challenge of coming up with a new word. (The result of the same exercise last year was 'bipod', meaning to share headphones with someone while listening to an iPod or similar, has made it as far as the Urban Dictionary and was cited as part of the language of the 'MySpace generation' by the Guardian.)

This year's task was to find a word for the moment when you log into Facebook and find someone has posted an embarrassing photo of you. The resulting verb is beautiful: facewhack.

I suspect the influence of 'gobsmack' and 'Googlewhack'. With my lexicographer's hat on, I'd say that the word describes the action, not the resulting feeling: to upload an embarrassing or inappropriate photograph of (someone) to the Facebook website; to cause (a person) shock or alarm by doing this. But however you read it, it's wonderful.

So, if you like it, start using it. Happy facewhacking.

# Alex Steer (06/03/2008)