person facing wall

Is it just ME? Oh my word!

“Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional!”

Call me an old April fool if you will – after all, it is my birthday next Thursday, the BIG six-zero, hush-hush – but last year’s additions to the English language have prompted me to share some ‘new speak’ with you to mark the occasion.

Just as ‘groovy’ or ‘far out’ evoke images of the 1960s and ‘bling’ or ‘wazzzzup’ the 90s, these current terms and expressions reflect the still young but already weary 2020s.

Having finally been able to ‘suspire’, let out a deep sigh of relief at the ending of the pandemic turmoil more or less a year ago, got rid of widespread ‘Weltschmerz’ and satisfied our very Portuguese ‘saudade’ for travel after ‘forwaking’- wearied from watching and waiting – for what seemed an eternity, we were treated to many a ‘retrouvailles’, the joy of being reunited after a long time apart, whilst ‘swullocking’ in the unaccustomed, climate change-induced scorching summer heat far removed from lock-down prison cells.

Even as the ‘Hamsterkauf’ – German for panic buying – mentality gave way to ‘panglossian’ hopeless optimism, a winter of discontent on several fronts put a damper on our ‘goshbustified’, excessively pleased, new existence.

The ‘Carolean’ era, brought about by the former Prince Charles’ ascension to the English throne, was accompanied by the demise of Liz Truss’ ‘huff-capping’ – one who barges into situations and leaves chaos in their wake – shortest premiership ever, as the constant ‘backfriending’ (-stabbing) between the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg temporarily ended that particular ‘circumbendibus’ of entirely circular political arguments.

Meanwhile, back in the Algarve, the initially welcome ‘petrichor’ or smell of rain finally hitting baked earth soon became tedious as well as somewhat off-putting to the ‘thermal tourism’ of travelling to a warmer country in winter in order to avoid high energy bills at home. Even sitting in the few well-heated and dry bars which remained open during the winter months failed to warm the cockles, only managed to sustain both Portuguese and English World Cup hopes for a short period of time as both suffered the usual ‘anticipointment’.

I’ll only briefly touch upon the equally depressing ‘empleomaniac’ Putin desperately holding on to power by any means and his ‘nefandous’, too evil to speak of, war crimes, or the ominous odour of ‘recrudescence’ pervading America, heralding the return of something unpleasant in the shape of a 2024 Trump presidential re-candidacy before expanding my safari – Swahili for journey or expedition – of linguistic discovery to words and expressions we do not have English equivalents for not already mentioned above.

I particularly like the Finnish ‘kalsarikannit’, drinking at home in your underwear, only surpassed by ‘poronkusena’, a measurement indicating the distance a reindeer can travel without having to pee – approximately 7 kilometres! Then there are the related Japanese ‘kuchisabishii’, all-too-frequent trips to the fridge feeding a ‘lonely mouth’, which may have something to do with the Italian ‘cavoli riscaldati’, ‘reheated cabbage’, as in the attempt to rekindle a recently ended relationship, which in turn explains the German ‘Kummerspeck’, literally ‘grief bacon’, the extra weight put on when comfort eating – perhaps the result of an also Teutonic ‘Schnapsidee’ or not-so-brilliant idea when drunk.

The Russian language gives us ‘razliubit’, the gradual falling out of love, and ‘pochemuchka’, someone who asks far too many questions, both perhaps complementing the preceding sentiments. We finish up with the French ‘gobemouche’, someone very gullible, a ‘fly-swallower’, and the Inuit ‘iktsuarpok’, the slightly nervous and impatient anticipation of waiting for someone to arrive.

Lastly, back to English, the marvellous ‘groaking’, longingly eyeing up someone else’s food, is a word almost impossible to find in any other tongue – salivating or not.

There are many more topical words which have only recently entered our vocabulary for one reason or another – I will let you have a guess at their meaning, answers below – such as ‘flurona’, ‘flockdown’, ‘fexting’, ‘copypasta’, ‘warm bank’, ‘fluffernutter’, ‘flatforms’, ‘nepo baby’, ‘soysage’, ‘thriftifarian’, ‘frugaller’, ‘skimpflation’ and ‘queenager’ as well as the new Gen Z slang which includes “I’m feeling it”, “hits different”, “extra” and “basic”, cool expressions I won’t even bother explaining because, as I stated at the outset, I will have been alive for 60 years come next week and life really is too short … if you know what I mean.

Sixty and what to do about it? I don’t feel old, and yet, when I was little, 60-year-olds were ancient. Is it just a different perspective or have we changed both in terms of our physical appearance and personalities? My mother had a midlife crisis long before her fortieth birthday approached, endlessly playing Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Ballad of Lucy Jordan’- “at the age of 37…” – whilst refusing to acknowledge her real age until decades later.

Whilst well beyond The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’, I would rather identify with Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to be Wild’ although Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ (home) is probably a more appropriate description of my lifestyle these days.

I will probably spend the day far away from the maddening crowd in a place where no one knows me, quietly sipping a contemplative pint of Superbock or three, before crawling into bed long before my now usual 10pm curfew – cheers, saúde and prost, see you in July for some summer madness!    


Flurona – flu and covid at the same time (happens more often than you think); Flockdown – confining chickens to prevent the spread of avian flu (why should we be the only ones?); Fexting – fighting via Facebook or Whatsup messages rather than in person (keyboard warriors); Copypasta – false data copied and spread on social media (there has been enough of that); Warm bank – heated public building used by those who can’t afford to heat their own homes (public libraries are good in my past experience); Fluffernutter – marshmallow spread and peanut butter sandwich (yuck); Flatforms – office appropriate smart trainers (a no-no in my day); Nepo baby – child of a famous person achieving success because of their parents (the Beckham clan?); Soysage – vegetarian sausage (yuck-yuck!); Thriftifarian – someone well-off who pretends they have to spend less money in order to appear to be in the same situation as others; Frugaller – one who avoids wasting food or other resources and spends as little money as possible (I know plenty of both); Skimpflation – the price of a product stays the same, but the quality or size diminishes (seems to be the new trend); Queenager – middle aged woman who leads a busy life, has fun and dresses stylishly (plenty around here!).

By Skip Bandele
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Skip Bandele escaped to the Algarve almost 25 years ago and has been with the Algarve Resident since 2003. His writing reflects views and opinions formed while living in Africa, Germany and England as well as Portugal.