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The Oxford Dictionary of New Words

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Janet Morley All Desires Known (1988), p. 5


adjective and noun (Lifestyle and Leisure)

In the UK,

adjective: Of an independent local radio station: additional to the quota of broad-spectrum stations; belonging to a set of extra stations designed to provide for a small community or specialized audience.

noun: One of these extra, specialist stations.

Etymology: An increment is an increase or addition; the IBA chose to describe these planned stations as incremental in its report of 1988 (see below) because they were to operate in areas where a local radio service already existed, but provide increased minority-interest or specialist coverage, filling in

the gaps in what was already available.

History and Usage: The term was first used officially in proposals set out by the Independent Broadcasting Authority in

December 1988, when the Home Office authorized the licensing of the first twenty such stations. Typically the incremental

stations cater for a very local community, an ethnic minority within the community, or a special-interest group (such as devotees of a particular style of music), but all sorts of ideas have come out of the move, including a station broadcasting only travel and flight information from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Baldwin suggests a doubling or slightly more of the current 75 franchises (52 stations and 23 incrementals, not all on the air yet) to 150-200.

Management Today Dec. 1989, p. 59

Only in 1988 did the IBA bow to the pressure of unsatisfied groups of listeners and allow 20 'incremental' stations to form. KISSFM, the last of these to go on air, opens next month, offering dance music.

Daily Telegraph 8 Aug. 1990, p. 28

9.5 indie...

indie adjective and noun (Music) (Youth Culture)

adjective: (Of a group or label) independent, not belonging to one of the 'major' companies in the popular-music industry; (of their music) unsophisticated, enthusiastically alternative in style.

noun: An independent artist, group, or label; the style of music typically put out by independents.

Etymology: An abbreviated form of independent. The word was first so abbreviated in the slang of the US film industry in the forties to refer to independent film producers; the world of pop music has simply adopted the word from there.

History and Usage: Although the word was used in the popular-music industry during the sixties, it was not until the eighties that the contribution of independents was recognized as having led to a distinct style of music with its own charts (the indie charts). This was also the point at which the word started to be used to refer to the character of the music rather than simply its mode of production. Once the status of indie was formalized in this way, though, the character of the music became more static and conventional. By definition, indie music is intended to have a minority appeal. Its followers have also sometimes been called indies or indie-kids.

They're the only one of those indie-type bands that are trying to do something a bit unusual.

Q Mar. 1989, p. 19

From their indie pop beginnings...The House of Love have...managed to transform their...critical acclaim into national popularity.

Sky Magazine Apr. 1990, p. 28

Wed Hosted by Dave Booth, a mix of indie (Happy Mondays, Stone Roses) and jazz.

Independent 23 May 1990, p. 31


abbreviation (Politics)

Short for intermediate-range nuclear forces; used especially in INF treaty, an agreement on the limitation of intermediate-range nuclear weapons, concluded between the US and the Soviet Union in 1987.

Etymology: The initial letters of Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces.

History and Usage: INF became the preferred US term for theatre nuclear weapons (previously known as TNF) in the early eighties, and the abbreviation soon began to crop up frequently in reports of disarmament talks. It was the INF treaty of 1987 which resulted in the removal of US cruise missiles from British

bases such as Greenham Common, and which seemed to many people to mark the beginning of a new era in East-West relations in the

late eighties. The abbreviation is sometimes preceded by a further qualification of the weapons' range: LRINF, longer-range INF; SRINF, shorter-range INF.

A Soviet team touched down at Greenham Common yesterday to make a cruise missile inspection under the terms of

the INF treaty.

Guardian 17 Aug. 1989, p. 4

If the success of the INF negotiations can be carried into other areas of the nuclear armoury, then the INF Treaty will be seen as an important milestone.

Steve Elsworth A Dictionary of the Environment (1990), p. 326

infect transitive verb (Science and Technology)

Of a computer virus or other malicious software: to enter (a

computer system, memory, etc.); to contaminate the memory or data of (a computer).

Etymology: A transferred sense of infect which extends the metaphor of the computer virus as a contagious 'disease' capable of replicating itself within an organism.

History and Usage: The metaphor of infecting a computer system dates from the beginning of the eighties in the US, but became considerably more common in the second half of the decade, after the introduction of computer security hazards such as the virus and the worm. Systems which have had a virus inadvertently loaded into their memory (usually from a floppy disc), or the affected discs themselves, are described as infected; the noun infection exists for the process or result of loading, and also

as a synonym for virus. Like a viral infection in living organisms, the computer virus may lie undetected in its host for some time, silently corrupting data in a succession of files before its effects become apparent.

Viruses usually infect personal computers, spreading through floppy disks and copied programs.

Clifford Stoll The Cuckoo's Egg (1989), p. 315

'It's pretty nasty', said Bill Cheswick, a computer science researcher at Bell Labs, who 'dissected' a version of the virus after obtaining it from the infected disk of a co-worker.

Newark Star-Ledger (New Jersey) 13 Oct 1989, p. 14

The problem is heightened by the emergence of 'infections' which, for the first time, have been tracked to virus writers in the Eastern Bloc.

The Times 1 May 1990, p. 3

infocombining form (Science and Technology)

A shortened form of information, widely used in compounds and blends such as:

infobit, a discrete piece of information or data;

infomania, a preoccupation with or uncontrolled desire for information; the amassing of facts for their own sake;

infomercial, a television or video commercial presented in the form of a short, informative documentary (the television equivalent of the newspaper's advertorial);

infopreneur, a business person in information technology or the information industry; also as an adjective infopreneurial;

infosphere, the area of activity concerned with the dissemination, retrieval, or processing of information, often by computer; the information industry;

infotainment, a form of television entertainment which seeks to present factual material in a lively and entertaining way; docutainment (see doc, docu-);

infotech, information technology.

History and Usage: Info has been a popular colloquial abbreviation of information for most of this century, but it was only with the advent of information technology, increasingly influential through the seventies and eighties, that the

combining form began to appear. All of the formations mentioned above except infotech are American in origin, and all except infosphere have entered the language only in the eighties. The infomercial is allowed only on cable and satellite television in

the UK, and so is still relatively unknown. Info- (or infotech) is increasingly used in forming the proper names or trade marks of organizations, products, or services, as well as in one-off

headings for newspaper columns and advertising copy (in which it competes with faxý): so we have infofile, infoline, infopack,


I am much impressed by the...old-fashioned qualities of greed and mendacity the world of 'infotech' displays.

Listener 18 Aug. 1983, p. 34

American makers have used their knowhow to better

commercial ends...Other countries--Britain and West Germany particularly--have been inexplicably making life as difficult as possible for their own infopreneurs.

Economist (High Technology Survey) 23 Aug. 1986, p. 15

The myriad factoids and ephemera and random infobits that are the common coin of daily business.

New York Times 6 Dec. 1987, section C, p. 12

Both shows are halfway between hard news and current affairs, being more in the lifestyle/'infotainment' mould. Will this 'infotainment' train ever run out of steam?

Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 23 Sept. 1988, p. 26

Now, in greater numbers than ever on independent stations and cable, comes...the half hour or hour that looks like a program...but isn't a program. Now comes the infomercial.

Los Angeles Times 12 Mar. 1990, section F, p. 1

Inkatha noun (Politics)

A Black political organization in South Africa, originally formed as a cultural organization in 1928 and revived as a Black liberation movement in 1975 under the Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi.

Etymology: From the Zulu word inkatha, a sacred head-ring and tribal emblem which is believed to ensure solidarity and loyalty in the tribe. The name is intended to symbolize cultural unity.

History and Usage: Since its revival in 1975 as a Black national movement in South Africa, Inkatha has been open to all Blacks, although its following remains predominantly Zulu. It has featured increasingly in the news outside South Africa during the late eighties and early nineties, especially in

relation to fighting among rival liberation movements there.

Fighting in Natal between sympathisers of the UDF and its ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and Inkatha loyalists has cost more than 1,000 lives in the past three years, and is inimical to black unity.

Guardian 17 Aug. 1989, p. 10

Local supporters of the ANC have been almost unanimous in calling for more rather than fewer troops as the

local police force is seen as being biased in favour of

the ANC's opponents, the Zulu Inkatha movement headed by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Financial Times 3 Apr. 1990, p. 22

INSET noun (People and Society)

Short for in-service training: term-time training for teachers in the state schools of the UK, statutorily provided for in teachers' conditions of service. Often used attributively (with

a following noun), especially in INSET course and INSET day.

Etymology: An acronym formed by combining letters from In-SErvice Training.

History and Usage: The acronym was first used in discussion documents on teacher training written in the mid seventies. Provision for compulsory in-service training for teachers was officially made in the Teachers' Conditions of Service 1987, which stipulated that teachers were to be available for work on 195 days during the year, but that no more than 190 should be spent in teaching classes. The remaining days were to be INSET days (or non-contact days), during which training could be

given. With the introduction of the Education Reform Act of 1988 and the national curriculum, INSET days were partly used as a way of introducing teachers to the new methods and procedures involved--these days became known colloquially as Baker days--but they also introduced the acronym INSET to a wider audience.

At the moment, in-service training is a voluntary activity...but soon five days of INSET will be a statutory obligation.

Times Educational Supplement 19 June 1987, p. 18

insider dealing

noun (Business World)

The illicit use of confidential information as a basis for share dealing on the stock market; also known as insider trading.

Etymology: Formed by compounding. In stock-market jargon, an insider is a person who is privy to information about a firm which would not be made available to the general public; insider dealing or trading is trading which is based on the confidential knowledge of insiders and is therefore one step ahead of the market.

History and Usage: The term has been used in stock-market jargon since at least the sixties (and the practice for several decades before that). The debate on the moral issues involved and the need to make the practice a punishable offence became quite intense in the UK during the seventies, and the issue reached a considerably wider audience in the eighties as a

result of the exposure and prosecution of a number of prominent individuals for insider dealing, both in the US and in the UK.

A quick check shows that if you are caught for insider dealing in France, you are likely to get off more lightly than in Britain. So if anyone is accused of

insider trading in Eurotunnel shares (which seems pretty unlikely on past performance), it will clearly pay to make clear that all the action took place on the other side of the Channel.

Guardian 4 Aug. 1989, p. 14

Much energy...is spent these days on the criminal or near-criminal aspects of the decade's chicanery:...the insider trading of Boesky, Milken and others; the cowboy banking habits of Don Dixon.

Nation 24 Dec. 1990, p. 818


adjective (Science and Technology)

Of a machine: able to respond to different circumstances, developments, etc. or to 'learn' from past experience and apply this knowledge in new situations. Used especially of a computer or other electronic equipment: containing its own microprocessor, smart.

Etymology: A transferred sense of intelligent, influenced by the term artificial intelligence (see AI); unlike the dumb

machine which can only pass messages to and from a more powerful host and respond to specific instructions, the intelligent one

can adjust its responses according to circumstance.

History and Usage: The word has been used in computing since the late sixties, although Joseph Conrad had anticipated the concept as long ago as 1907 in his book The Secret Agent:

I am trying to invent a detonator that would adjust itself to all conditions of action, and even to unexpected changes of conditions. A variable and yet perfectly precise mechanism. A really intelligent detonator.

During the seventies and early eighties microelectronics began to be incorporated into a wide variety of consumer goods, bringing this concept of the intelligent machine into the public eye and giving the word a wide currency. Software systems can also be described as intelligent: an intelligent knowledge-based system (or IKBS) is similar to an expert system in that it

stores the decision-making capability of human experts and can act on different data and developments on this basis, but it takes the principle of artificial intelligence one step further.

The Japanese Fifth Generation computer project aimed at stimulating the development of the next generation of intelligent and powerful computer systems, has laid great emphasis on the importance of Intelligent Knowledge-based Systems (IKBS).

Australian Personal Computer June 1985, p. 101

An intelligent masterkeyboard...allows control, via

MIDI, of up to eight synthesizers in all registrations.

Keyboard Player Apr. 1986, p. 27

Gerald Ratner suggests that intelligent tills will generate up to 30 p.c. more profit at the Salisburys shops he bought recently from Next.

Daily Telegraph 6 Feb. 1989, p. 22

It is an 'intelligent' scanner in that it learns the shape of letters in the text, and can recognise up to ten different type faces per text.

English Today July 1989, p. 49

See also active


adjective (Environment) (Science and Technology)

Of an office or other building: containing a full set of integrated services such as heating, lighting, electronic office equipment, etc., all controlled by a central computer system which is capable of ensuring the most efficient and sound use of the environment's resources.

Etymology: A further development from the sense defined in the entry above: the environment is controlled by an intelligent computer system, but when this runs all services within the building, it is the building itself that comes to be described

as intelligent.

History and Usage: The first intelligent office buildings were built in the US in 1983 and by the middle of the eighties intelligent had become one of the buzzwords of office design both in the US and in the UK. It is difficult to say whether this further development of the adjective will survive in the language, but it certainly seems to express a design concept which is in keeping with the prevailing concern for integrated and efficient use of resources.

One of Britain's most advanced high tech 'intelligent'

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