01/14/2013 06:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Words That Shaped Last Week: "Oscar Nominations," "Jack Lew," and "the Flu"

By Juli Weiner, Vanity Fair


For your edification, a look back at the phrases, nouns, and neologisms that have, for better or for worse, shaped the week's national discourse.

Oscar nominations [oz-kur nahm-ih-nayshuns], noun: The annual short-list--and unofficial, corresponding snubbed list--of the year's best actors, actresses, and movies, according to members of the (not infallible) Academy.

The flu [thuh floo], noun: A pervasive sickness resulting in the flooding of emergency rooms, the emptying of offices, and the watching of Felicity on Netflix. Its only known cure: more Felicity.

Task force [task fohrs], noun: A research group, such as that currently spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, assembled to find a solution to a specific problem, for instance, widespread gun violence that could be solved by the elimination of guns but will not be solved thusly due to possibly misunderstood suggestions about governance from 250 years ago.

The Canyons [thuh kan-yuns], noun: The porny, microbudget Lindsay Lohan comeback vehicle whose treacherous production was the subject of a truly fun Times Magazine piece.

Destiny's Child [dest-ih-neez chy-uhld], noun: The Beyoncé-fronted late-90s/early-aughts-era girl group whose hit song "Say My Name" remains a popular karaoke choice for certain political bloggers to this very day and whose first album in forever, Love Songs, will be released on January 29.

Girls [gurlz], noun: Lena Dunham's inconceivably brilliant HBO comedy, the second season of which premieres on Sunday.

Trillion-dollar platinum coin [tril-lee-uhn doll-uhr plah-tih-nuhm coyn], noun: The most fun--and possibly most politically tenable!--solution to the debt-ceiling crisis.

Jack Lew [jak loo], noun: President Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary who should really consider a second career as a prominent abstract artist if John McCain, say, manages to block his appointment.

More from Vanity Fair:
25 Years in the Life of Model Kate Moss
Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston: Vanity Fair's Classic Nude Portraits
Vanity Fair's Exclusive Freaks and Geeks Reunion Photos
Photos: Jennifer Lawrence's Fiery Fashion Evolution