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Feb 6, 2009 05:17 PM

Chowhound jargon glossary?

I had to laugh at a recent Boston Magazine take on Chowhound jargon (from this article "Like Smurfs, posters have a fondness for neologisms." Example: "I know it's not very chowish, but I like Big Macs."

Leaving aside the fact that that's a really terrible, misleading example of a typical Chowhound post, I have to ask: Really? We use a lot of neolgisms? How much jargon is specific to this site that might be difficult for first-time visitors? I can think of exactly two:

1) Chowish, adj. True to the spirit of the Chowhound Manifesto, i.e., relentless in the pursuit of delicious food at every level (from the refined to the everyday); open-minded, curious and trailblazing rather than following; and not unduly swayed by self-styled authorities, novelty-crazed trend-followers, industry PR manipulation, or media-generated hype.

2) Hound, n. A Chowhound, someone who posts or lurks on Chowhound at least on a semi-regular basis, perhaps with the connotation that their instincts are chowish.

And that's about all I can think of. We use a few abbreviations and jargon words that are in general use on Internet bulletin boards (e.g., "OP" for "original poster", the user who created the topic, "thread" for a post with multiple responses, etc.). And each regional board has its own set of abbreviations related to geography (e.g., "UES" for the Upper East Side in Manhattan).

But what other jargon words are peculiar to Chowhound? For the smurf of me, I can't smurf of a single smurfin' other smurf.

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  1. Well, "deliciousness" was a word that started here that should be buried here.....IMHO, it ranks right up there with "delish" and "to die for", but now I'm gettng OT, and into my own pet peeves....

    9 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl

      I have to believe that the noun "deliciousness" precedes Chowhound. You might contend that it was beaten to death here (I too loathe "to die for", by the way), but it wasn't coined here.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        The term chowhound wasn't coined here either.

        1. re: AHan

          I think Jim Leff might be the first to use chowhound as a verb rather than a noun - e.g. let's go chowhounding - to refer to the act of combing through neighbourhoods to uncover new deliciousness.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          I just have to add, because it always cracks me up. My mother in law always says "Its to die FROM" all the time. I used to reply "Do you mean 'to die FOR?" and she would say "nope, to die from" So after several times I gave up. Now whenever she says it my hubby looks at me with the eyebrow raised, our own inside joke.
          Oh well, not a ringing endorsement to my ears.

        3. re: galleygirl

          Ahem. The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary offers examples of the word "deliciousness" used as early as the 14th century. I don't think you can blame Chowhound for that.

          1. re: Allstonian

            Thanks, Allstonian; I was too lazy to dig out my Compact OED, and I don't subscribe to the online edition.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Wish I still had free online access - my middle-aged eyes are only barely up to the challenge of that 4-pages-to-a-page layout. (I know that I'm lucky I have the older edition - I believe the newer Compact is 9 to a page.) In any case, I was interested myself to see how far back the word went because I ran across it recently in something else I was reading - can't recall what - and was reminded that Jim Leff did NOT, in fact, coin "deliciousness" on his own.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Well, he flogged it into oblivion....

          2. re: galleygirl

            I'm right there with you with the term "delish" YUCK how hard is it to type
            D E L I C I O U S

          3. There was just an amusing misunderstanding on the Homecooking board when someone posted about feeding some sticky rice to her "chowpups", the proper term for young human hounds, and another poster was horrified that she was feeding such good food to her dogs.

            1. DC = dining companion

              There have been occasional threads that have tried to define terms such as "dive" or "wine bar," but that hardly seems like a secret handshake.

              And I have never noticed the word smurf on these boards.

              2 Replies
              1. re: smtucker

                Gee...and here all this time I thought "DC" was "Decided Curmudgeon"

              2. I love it when hounds refer to a mediocre dining experience as "meh" is Chowhound jargon that really says it all.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bostongal

                  "Meh" is fairly universal for mediocre - I've seen it on other boards (about other topics) more than I've seen it on here.

                  1. re: bostongal

                    I think "meh" is another term that has and had wide usage outside of Chowhound.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      i had to explain "meh" to mr. alka. it made sense to him when i explained that "meh" is a word that sounds like a person's vocalization when they're not impressed with something (oddly, more in response to questions than descriptions, as on -- an onomatopoeia, to be pedantic.

                  2. UES isn't unique to Chowhound. I'd say most language used here I've seen on many other boards and other places.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: irishnyc

                      Not suggesting those geographic abbreviations are unique to Chowhound, just that they're more likely to be understood by locals. For example, if you're not from Boston or haven't spent much time here as a visitor, you probably won't guess that "Dot" is short for Dorchester, a Boston neighborhood.

                      But this kind of speaks to my larger point: the amount of actual Chowhound neologisms is very small, much smaller than what many casual readers attribute to it. The real issue is that those people aren't very hip to the regionalisms, Internet bulletin board / IM / SMS abbreviations, youth slang, restaurant industry terminology and slang, and other sorts of cant and jargon that get used here but weren't invented here.