Weekly Word Watch: the staying power of ‘creepshot’ and ‘overtourism’
This week, our word radar pinged a number of newer words notable not for their outright novelty, but because they appear to be showing some staying power. Nonce words and neologisms are always interesting, but it’s also exciting to observe words when they begin take hold in the language through meaningful use and widespread contexts.
This week, Tumblr announced it was banning creepshots on its social media platform starting in September. Their policy is new, but the term isn’t.
A creepshot, typically, is a non-consensual, sexualized photograph of a woman taken in public on a smartphone and shared on the internet. Creep refers to the discreet, voyeuristic, and inappropriate nature of the snapshot, hence shot. The images tend to be of buttocks and cleavage.
Creepshot dates back to at least 2010 with the launch of the website, CreepShots, a hub for the images. The term came to prominence in 2012 following controversies over a since-dismantled Reddit group, r/creepshots, and a Gawker exposé about it.
Around this time, a Tumblr page, Predditors, began outing submitters of creepshots – a kind of creepshaming, as some call it. Tumblr initially took down Predditors, which smacks of some irony as the platform is now managing its own difficulties with creepshots as well deepfakes, which edit images of celebrities into pornographic content. We spotlighted that term in February.
Indeed, creepshots are a problem that has only grown as social media and smartphone technology have aged – and so, too, has the term creepshot spread for the phenomenon. But as it has settled into our digital lexicon, creepshot has broadened, in many contexts, to signify any candid photograph. It can also function as a verb, to creepshot, for the act, with some users even using creepshoot for present form. Here, creepshot has a more ironic or playful connotation.
— Dr Claire Askew (@OneNightStanzas) September 10, 2017
Another term showing, or at least trying to assert, some staying power is buddymoon. A recent (promoted) survey of UK 18–35-year-olds by the money transfer app Pingit found nearly half of respondents have taken or would consider a buddymoon: a honeymoon, but with friends and family (buddies) along for the trip.
Had never heard of a ‘buddymoon’ before, but now I want every wedding to include days on the beach after, with all the buddies. Such an ace idea. pic.twitter.com/JdvjiMXKff
— Helen Lawrence (@helenium) April 3, 2018
The Australian Macquarie Dictionary nominated buddymoon as one of its 2010 Words of the Year, but it lost out to googleganger (‘a person with the same name as oneself, whose online references are mixed with one’s own among search results for one’s name’).
The googleganger – based on doppleganger and coined in the 2000s – has, for the most part, ghosted. Buddymoon, as a neologism, has had better success. Popular media variously noted the buddymoon in 2012, and a 2016 indie film, Buddymoon, tweaked the concept as it followed two friends taking the honeymoon one had planned with his fiancée before she broke off the wedding. And now, the Pingit survey may suggest the practice, and thus the term, is maintaining some level of currency and utility.
Babymoon joins a larger trend of alternative takes on the honeymoon, both in culture and in the lexicon. We featured jobbymoon, or ‘a holiday taken between jobs’, in June, and in November 2017, daddymoon, or the ‘time away an expectant father takes before his baby is born’ – often with his buddies. A mother, meanwhile, goes on a mommymoon, the couple a babymoon. The Independent, who reported on the Pingit survey, adds minimoon and maximoon to all the –moons we’re howling at. The former is a short holiday the couple takes after their wedding, later taking a longer trip as denoted by the latter.
Pingit, for its part, brought to our attention another phenomenon, and portmanteau, in its survey results: friendgagements, or including one’s friends during a marriage proposal.
For your buddymoon, you might consider Scotland. The Scottish tourism board, VisitScotland, published TV Set in Scotland this month, a guide to over 60 locations in the country that have been featured on television in the past 80 years. Contemporary highlights include Outlander and Downton Abbey.
For the guide, many media outlets are using a term that is starting to collect stamps in its lexical passport: set-jetting, or visiting locations that have been featured in film and on TV. Set-jetting appears as early as 2005, when the trend was noted in the industry for the likes of Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. A 2007 New York Post article and 2007 UK film institute report also noted the boom and boon of set-jetting. The term has maintained a decent, if niche, presence into the 2010s in both popular media and the travel industry. And as the practice has spread to small-screen shows (e.g., Game of Thrones) in an era of prestige TV, the term set-jetting seems to have fully arrived – even if authors still setting off ‘set-jetting’ in quotes as a neologism.
Set-jetting is a clever play on jet-setting. That term dates back to the 1960s, and is based on jet set. The set here, some may be surprised to learn, is not based on set off but set, as in ‘group’. The punchy rhyme of jet set refers to ‘wealthy and fashionable people who travel widely and frequently for pleasure’. Jet-setting has since broadened to frequent, cosmopolitan travel and leisure as air travel has become more common since the mid-20th century.
Travel trends like set-jetting has others worried about overtourism, where a site or destination becomes crowded out or in some way spoilt by too many visitors. Both Amsterdam and Venice, for instance, have notably been struggling with overtourism this year.
Writing for The Telegraph in April, Greg Dickinson argued that overtourism should be the 2018 Word of the Year, ‘so new’ as it is. We can actually find overtourism, though, in 1988–1994, when overtourism was variously cited as concern for the welfare of wildlife and wilderness – not locals. While overtourism is not a new word, Dickinson is correct to note the term, as it has spiked in use and interest since 2017.
As a term, overtourism conjures up words like overfishing (attested in 19th century) and overeating (16th century). Over-, as a prefix, has been attaching itself to words since Old English, such as overdrink, or ‘to drink more alcohol than one should’. Tourism is recorded in 1811. The word overtourism doesn’t seem like it is going anywhere, as it were, any time soon.