How influential are celebs? Apart from having us glued to our phones to see what they’ll do next, famous folks can start all kinds of trends, from hairstyles to fashion to yes, even words. Here are some of the unique words celebrities have coined that have actually caught on with the public.
Tyra Banks introduced the concept of “smiling with your eyes” during her reign as the host and producer of "America’s Next Top Model." Wannabe models in future seasons who nailed the art of “smizing” managed to give off a genuine look of happiness or delight, even when they weren’t actively smiling for a photo. The word is ubiquitous enough in the fashion industry that it’s now thrown out by photographers trying to get that perfect snapshot.
Stephen Colbert is the famous face behind this tongue-in-cheek term, used to describe politicians who try to pass off gut feelings, intuitions, or preferences for fact. Talk about prescient in today’s era of “fake news.” Colbert debuted the word in the pilot episode of The Colbert Report back in 2005.
You’re probably familiar with this word from the Destiny’s Child 2001 smash hit song of the same name. While Beyoncé and co. didn’t actually invent the word – which pairs booty, slang for your rear end, with the suffix -licious, related to things that are yummy – they popularized it enough that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) took notice and added it to the dictionary in the mid-aughties.
Yes, EVOO is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But much like RSVP or YOLO (the latter of which was promoted by Drake), EVOO is understood as a standalone word, thanks to cooking goddess Rachael Ray’s love for the kitchen staple. And before you say this isn’t a word – the OED would disagree, having added it to the dictionary after Rachael blew the term up.
Perez Hilton, the OG celebrity blogger, is given credit for bringing this combination of amazing and, well, balls into the mainstream. It’s meant to express extreme delight or to call something truly amazing or incredible. Unfortunately for Perez, however, this slang term earned a dubious honor in 2012 when it was added to the Dictionary of the Most Annoying Words in the English Language.
This term, used to describe a man in touch with (or maybe obsessed with) his appearance in terms of style and grooming, is so commonly used you might be surprised to learn its origin: Saturday Night Live. The show’s Hans and Franz sketches – inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger – portrayed by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, were the source for this well-known word. (Ditto Governator, another hilarious prescient choice.) SNL also famously invented the word strategery as part of Will Ferrell’s portrayal of George W. Bush, as a nod to the president’s affinity for neologisms.