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What's the Good Word?

February 29, 1996|MIMI AVINS


It's the stuff that separates the animals from the first-timers, the knockoff artists from the hogwagons.

Over the years, outside forces have attempted to ban the paper hangers and the SACs and other jargonese, but private-speak has survived and thrived.

Last week jargon was attacked once more when Eugene Hickok, the Pennsylvania education secretary said enough already! "Any bureaucrat who slips an acronym in, uses a noun as a verb or submits a garbled memo must put a dollar into the Jargon Jar," he said clearly--the proceeds to be donated to buy CD-ROM dictionaries for schools.

If Mr. Hickok had a dollar for some of the jargon we found at the Department of Water and Power (hogwagon), the FBI (SACs), the Postal Service (animals) as well as in the worlds of movies (first-timers), law (paper hangers) and fashion (knockoff artists), every kid in Pennsylvania would have a CD-ROM dictionary.

Read on. We promise you'll never look at a mule or a pig the same way again.


* Bridge: the market niche between elite designers and no-names.

* Knockoff artist: clothing manufacturer who copies a well-known designer.

* Catwalk: the long narrow platform inhabited by models and flanked by the fashion press.

* Market editor: magazine underling; a fashion editor's eyes and ears in the designer showrooms.

* Poor-boy: shrunken casual clothing influenced by that worn by newsboys in the early 1900s.

* Press hound: plastic surgeon or dermatologist desperate for publicity.

* Pucci: abstract pattern of brilliant color combinations outlined in black; introduced by Italian couturier Emilio Pucci.

* WWD: Women's Wear Daily, the leading industry trade journal.

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