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10 new words you need to know in Silicon Valley

Mike Elgan | Oct. 13, 2015
As the pace of technology accelerates, so does the rate of new coinages.

osmo words

Technology changes culture, and culture is reflected in language. As mobile and consumer technologies alter our lives, new coinages bubble up in the social networks to capture and express how people live.

Here are 10 new words you need to know in order to describe the culture of Silicon Valley, and the wider cultural changes the valley is bringing into existence (in alphabetical order -- and no, that's not a Google reference):

1. Decicorn

You've heard the overused neologism unicorn, which describes a startup with a valuation above $1 billion. The idea was that such highly valued startups were so rare that seeing one was as rare as a unicorn sighting. Now there are herds of unicorns roaming Silicon Valley. At last count, there were 131 in the tech industry. In fact, startups have become so valuable that there are now some that are worth more than $10 billion. These are called "decicorns."

If you see a decicorn (also spelled decacorn), be careful. They're extremely dangerous -- at least, if you're an investor.

2. Dronevertising

The advertising industry is always looking for new places to advertise products. Novelty gains the public's attention, and attention is the coin of the realm in advertising.

With the rise (literally) of quadcopters -- a.k.a. drones -- I guess it was inevitable that some genius would realize that flying a drone around with a sign on it would be a great idea. And so "dronevertising" was born.

New ad agencies are even emerging to capitalize on the possibilities of dronevertising, including a Philadelphia-based firm called DroneCast and a Russian company called Hungry Boys.

3. Duang!

OK, this word has a bizarre and unlikely origin. Actor Jackie Chan made a shampoo commercial in 2004 for a product called Bawang. In that commercial, Chan was describing how soft and shiny the shampoo makes his hair, and he blurted out that your hair goes "duang!" (It rhymes with "wrong.")

Fast-forward to February of this year, when some Internet jokers created a viral video based on the commercial, which emphasized the neologism duang.

The meme sparked a craze of "duang!" use on Chinese social networks, and the phenomenon is so huge that it's spilling out of the country and around the world.

The best part is that duang has no agreed-upon meaning. It's comparable to the English words like ka-blam or boom, but it can also be used to express something extreme -- almost like the word dang. As in: "I'm feeling so duang good today!" No, I'm not kidding.

4. Farecasting

The buying of airline tickets long ago moved from travel agencies to websites. And as part of that transition, a host of new sites cropped up for finding the best deals.


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