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New Word For the Day: Detourist

by Elizabeth Ryan 

Tags: Barbara Wallraff, The Atlantic, Word Fugitives, Elizabeth Ryan,

march09atlanticWord nerds are probably familiar with Barbara Wallraff’s regular columns for The Atlantic. In her ongoing space dedicated to “Word Fugitives,” readers write in asking for a word to describe a certain experience, situation, or person. Wallraff then collects all the suggestions and presents the best.

One of my favorites originated back in November. A reader sought help to find a word for “people with absolutely no horse sense when using public transport or in crowds. You know, the ones who get off the top of the escalator and stop dead, people who swerve into your path, people who walk four abreast.”

Oh, we know. We’ve all been plagued by these pedestrian offenders. Well now you can take your pick of non-expletive things to call them: impedestrians, obliviots, bipediments, ignoraimlesses, in-the-wayfarers, and speed bumpkins all were proffered. My personal favorite though: detourists. It won’t help in getting them off the streets (or lessening our annoyance), but at least now we know who they are.

Source: The Atlantic