Search Results for “UrbanDictionary”

May 1, 2012

Displacement Activity

head scratcher

A displacement activity is the result of two contradicting instincts in a particular situation. Birds, for example, may peck at grass when uncertain whether to attack or flee from an opponent; similarly, a human may scratch his or her head when they do not know which of two options to choose. Displacement activities often involve actions to bring comfort such as scratching, drinking, or feeding.

The first description of a displacement activity (though not the use of the term) is probably by English evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley in 1914. The subsequent development of research on displacement activities was a direct consequence of Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz’s works on instincts. However, the first mentions of the phenomenon came in 1940 by the two Dutch zoological researchers Nikolaas Tinbergen and Adriaan Kortlandt.

May 1, 2012


mental masturbation

Intellectualization is a defense mechanism where reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress, by ‘using excessive and abstract ideation to avoid difficult feelings.’ It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event.

Intellectualization may accompany, but ‘differs from rationalization, which is justification of irrational behavior through clichés, stories, and pat explanation.’ It is one of Freud’s original defense mechanisms. Freud believed that memories have both conscious and unconscious aspects, and that intellectualization allows for the conscious analysis of an event in a way that does not provoke anxiety.

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March 11, 2012

Gotcha Journalism


circle game


Gotcha journalism is a term used to describe methods of interviewing which are designed to entrap interviewees into making statements which are damaging or discreditable to their cause, character, integrity, or reputation. The aim is to make film or sound recordings of the interview which can be selectively edited, compiled, and broadcast or published to show the subject in an unfavourable light.

Methods include misrepresenting the topic of the interview, then switching to an embarrassing subject, leading the interviewee to commit to a certain answer, and confronting them with prepared material designed to contradict or discredit that position, repeatedly baiting the interviewee to befuddle them and get their guard down to elicit an embarrassing response. Another technique is for the interviewer to remain silent after something the subject has said, which often leads the subject to say something to fill the silence. Gotcha journalism is often designed to keep the interviewee on the defensive by, for example, being required to explain some of their own statements taken out of context thus effectively preventing the interviewee from discussing their own agenda for the interview.

November 19, 2011

Drunk Dialing

drunk dial congress

Drunk dialing is a pop-culture term denoting an instance in which an intoxicated individual places phone calls that he or she would not likely place if sober. The term often refers to a lonely individual calling former or current love interests. Kurt Vonnegut once said, ‘I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.’ ‘Drunk texting’ is a related phenomenon, and potentially yet more embarrassing for the sender as, once the message is sent, it cannot be retrieved; the message will most likely be misspelled (due to being drunk), and it might be reviewed and shared among many.

Virgin Mobile has launched an option to help its users stop drunk dialing by initiating multi-hour bans on calling specific numbers and the LG Group introduced the LP4100 mobile phone, which includes a breathalyzer. Although the breathalyzer function was incorporated to help the user assess fitness to drive, rather than fitness to phone, the owner can program the LP4100 to restrict calls to specific telephone numbers on certain days or after a certain hour, a feature that might help limit drunk dialing by eliminating calls when the user is more likely to be intoxicated. Some reports indicate that this phone, or a planned future version for U.S. release, would activate the call-blocking function in tandem with the blood alcohol content results from the breathalyzer.

September 29, 2011

Maslow’s Hammer

birmingham screwdriver

Percussive maintenance

The concept known as the law of the instrument, Maslow’s hammer, or a golden hammer is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as psychologist Abraham Maslow said in 1966, ‘It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.’ The sentiment that people look for cure-alls, and over-use familiar tools, is likely traditional; see panacea. Likewise, the use of a hammer and nail as imagery are likely as old as hammers and nails, or even the use of rocks as tools, which the hammer evokes.

The hammer and nail metaphor may not be original to Kaplan or Maslow, and has been attributed to Mark Twain, though there is no documentation of this origin in Twain’s published writings. Under the name of ‘Baruch’s Observation,’ it is also been attributed to Bernard M. Baruch, a stock market speculator and author.

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June 24, 2011

Baseball Metaphors for Sex

second base

In the culture of American adolescents, the game of baseball is often used as a euphemistic metaphor for the degree of sexual intimacy achieved in intimate encounters or relationships. In the metaphor, prevalent in the post-World War II period, sexual activities are described as if they are actions in a game of baseball.

Although details vary, a broadly accepted description of what each base represents, first base is commonly understood to be any form of mouth to mouth kissing, especially open mouth (‘French’) kissing involving the tongue. Thus, if a person complains that s/he ‘can’t get to first base,’ it means that the partner spurned advances or is not interested, although this is not necessarily a specific reference to a spurned attempt to engage in kissing. Second base is manual stimulation of the genitalia. Third base is oral stimulation of the genitalia. Finally, a home run (Fourth base) is the act of penetrative intercourse.

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June 22, 2011

Shutter Shades

shutter shades

Shutter Shades are a design of slatted sunglasses commercially available since the 1980s, designed by Alain Mikli, a French designer of high-end handmade eyeglasses and accessories. Instead lenses, the design is characterized by its ‘shutter’ motif, which is part of the frame, and are marketed as suitable for both men and women. Depending on the design, Shutter Shades may not function as sunglasses; although some models contain UV resistant lenses, many do not, and only feature a series of horizontal plastic ‘shades,’ which neither provide protection for the eye from UV light nor prevent a substantial amount of light from entering the eye.

First available in the 1980s, nicknamed ‘Venetian Blinders,’ a then-popular design of louvered eyewear were featured in the music videos for ‘Glittering Prize’ by Simple Minds in 1982 and ‘Obsession’ by Animotion in 1984. Alain Mikli made a contemporary custom design for Kanye West, again influenced by the fashion of the 1980s. West popularized the glasses in the music video for ‘Stronger’ in 2007.

March 16, 2011




4chan is an English-language imageboard website. Its users have been responsible for the formation or popularization of several Internet memes such as lolcats, Rickrolling, ‘Chocolate Rain,’ Pedobear, and many others. The site’s ‘Random’ board is by far its most popular and notorious feature. Known as ‘/b/,’ there are very minimal rules on posted content. The site’s Anonymous community and culture have often provoked media attention. The Guardian once summarized the 4chan community as ‘lunatic, juvenile… brilliant, ridiculous and alarming.’

4chan was started in the bedroom of a 15-year old student from New York City who posts as ‘moot.’ He intended the site to be a place to discuss Japanese comics and anime, an American counterpart to the popular Japanese Futaba Channel (‘2chan’) imageboard. The site has had at least one employee, a programmer whom moot met via on-line Tetris. All other moderators are volunteers. 4chan is one of the Internet’s most trafficked free imageboards and financing has often been problematic.

November 10, 2010



Xerostomia [zeer-uh-stoh-mee-uh] is the medical term for the subjective complaint of dry mouth due to a lack of saliva; sometimes colloquially called pasties, cottonmouth, drooth, doughmouth or des (like a desert). Xerostomia can cause difficulty in speech and eating. It also leads to halitosis and a dramatic rise in the number of cavities, as the protective effect of saliva’s remineralizing the enamel is no longer present, and can make the mucosa and periodontal tissue of the mouth more vulnerable to infection.

Notably, a symptom of heavy methamphetamine use usually called ‘meth mouth’ is largely caused by xerostomia which is worsened by the fact that methamphetamine at recreational doses can cause tight clenching of the jaw, bruxism (compulsive grinding of the teeth), or a repetitive ‘chewing’ movement like the user is chewing without food in the mouth.

August 10, 2010

Beer Boots

beer boot


The custom of drinking beer from a boot-shaped glass is common in German themed bars, beer gardens, and the like. Machine pressed beer boots range in size from a shot glass up to 1 litre. The more popular mouth blown beer boots are typically 1 and 2 litres in size.

There are several different origin stories for the boot of beer. One tradition holds that a Prussian general swore to his troops that he would drink beer from his boot dependent on the successful outcome in a coming battle. When victorious, the general ordered a glass fashioned in the shape of a boot to fulfill his promise without, ‘having to taste his own feet.’ Another tradition holds that the boot began when German soldiers during World War I having nothing else to drink from instead passed around an actual leather boot of beer before heading into battle. They would flick the boot before drinking from it for good luck and again after drinking to wish the next soldier good luck.

August 4, 2010

Rule 34

rule 34

Rule 34 is a generally accepted internet observation which states: ‘If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.’ It implies that there is a sexual fetish for every conceivable subject matter. It originated from a 2003 webcomic drawn by Peter Morley-Souter to depict his shock at seeing Calvin and Hobbes parody porn. Morley-Souter posted his comic on the United Kingdom website ‘Zoom-Out in 2004,’ and it has been widely reproduced. ‘Boing Boing’ blogger Cory Doctorow writes of the meme: ‘Rule 34 can be thought of as a kind of indictment of the Web as a cesspit of freaks, geeks, and weirdos, but seen through the lens of cosmopolitanism,’ which ‘bespeaks a certain sophistication—a gourmet approach to life.’

The conundrum of finding an Internet pornographic exception to Rule 34’s ‘No exceptions’ led to Rule 35: ‘If no porn is found at the moment, it will be made.’

June 28, 2010

Wolf Ticket

wolf ticket

Wolf ticket (or woof ticket) is a slang term meaning a verbal threat, criticism, or insult used to intimidate an opponent. The term originates from ‘woofing,’ meaning aimless talk, an onomatopoeic reference to the sound of dogs barking. The term is usually used as a part of the phrase ‘to sell wolf tickets,’ meaning to bluff or threaten someone in a boastful way, or ‘to buy wolf tickets,’ meaning to call the bluff or accept the implied challenge. Professor Emeritus Herbert L. Foster noted in the first edition of his book ‘Ribbin’, Jivin’, and Playin’ the Dozens: The Unrecognized Dilemma of Inner City Schools’ that his students, in New York City Public School 613, about 1964, started using the expression ‘woof’ or ‘wolf’ ticket interchangeably. Since he was teaching graphic arts, his students, at first, printed wolf tickets. As Foster became more astute about his students’ street culture, he created the woof ticket that was used on the street and discussed further in his book.

At the press conference for UFC 158, headliner Nick Diaz accused promoter Dana White and opponent Georges St. Pierre of selling wolf tickets to fans: ‘You (St. Pierre) told the fans that I deserve to get beat down, that I chased you around. I got the fight, right? I’m working towards something, everybody knows that. Sorry I had to [say you were scared] to get the fight. They’re selling you (fans and media) all wolf tickets people, you’re eating them right up. Georges here is selling wolf tickets. Dana here is selling wolf tickets. The UFC is selling wolf tickets. You guys are eating them right up.’