Radio: Video Verbiage

In last week's issue of The New Yorker, Lexicographer H. L. Mencken* took a long look at the developing language of television. Like other barbaric dialects, Mencken found, it includes many borrowings from earlier cultures (theater, movies, radio); and TV's own coinages, as reported by Variety and assorted philologers, seemed to consist largely of the obvious, like ike for iconoscope. Other samples of current video verbiage given by Mencken:

Bounce. Irregular changes in the brightness of a picture.

Busy. A picture showing too much scenic detail.

Dish. A microwave reflector.

Gaffoon. A sound-effects man.

Garbage can. A microwave-relay transmitter.

Grease pusher. A make-up man.

Hot. Said of a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!