Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Nuke the fridge

New-word maven Grant Barrett, editor of the respected language site, suggested this buzzword for our list. (And to all those grammar pedants: please note that "buzzword" applies to voguish words as well as phrases.) To "nuke the fridge" means to exhaust a Hollywood franchise with disappointing sequels. It was coined after a ludicrous scene in the latest Indiana Jones installment in which the hero climbs into a refrigerator and somehow survives a nuclear explosion. The term is patterned after "jump the shark," which comes from the 91st episode of Happy Days — in which Fonzie jumps over a shark tank while water-skiing in a leather jacket — and now denotes the point at which something trendy starts to really suck.

TIME parses the top buzzwords of 2008: