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Phil's Rambling Rants
December 19th, 2005
05:15 pm


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I happened to catch some of NPR's On the Media on Sunday, and they had a little piece about new words coming into the language.  The Word of the Year is "podcast", which really doesn't strike me as terribly interesting, but one of the runner up words they discussed was "squick".  The dictionary person said something as to how she couldn't talk about the etymology of "squick" on the radio, and just as she implied what it was she couldn't talk about, I drove under a power line and could only hear static.  (To digress randomly, the following program, Media Matters, included a mention of how the move to introduce digital broadcast radio, the solution to AM radio that goes away when you drive under a power line, is being taken over by greedy corporate interests pushing a proprietary technology that broadcasters would have to pay a lot of money to license, and how basically Clear Channel is basically trying to use it to squeeze its stranglehold on broadcast radio until nothing is left but their profit margin, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Digression ends.)

So, does anyone more enlightened than I am know where the word "squick" comes from?  It seems like a pretty good word to me, since it describes a pretty specific emotional reaction that I find hard to express with other words.


(8 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:December 19th, 2005 11:23 pm (UTC)
Google or check the Wikipedia definition for one of several etymologies.

I've said too much.

— Karl Rove
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)
As I understand and have always used the word, "Squick" comes out of the online BDSM world (specifically ASB/alt.sex.bondage, which used to be a really good newsgroup) and is used to describe things you wouldn't do. It is also usable as nearly any part of speech.

"I was squicked."

"That's a trip on the express train to Squicksville."

"Careful, she'll squick."


I've been using this word since probably not all that long after it was coined, and you're right. It describes something that is simple indescribable by any other word.

Here is the Wikipedia entry.
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
A dear friend of mine who is, alas, with us no longer, once explained it to me in gory details. It involves opening up someone's head and doing things to their brains as I recall while they are alive. I more or less tried to forget it.

FWIW http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squick does seem to back up this supposed eytomology.

Yuck! Thanks for asking. (grin)
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 02:49 am (UTC)
OK, you just hit on why I like podcasting. I have never gotten tolerable reception of anything I wanted to listen to, no matter where I've lived and even after building various fancy antennas (I am a ham radio operator and know something about antennas). The crappiest MP3 is both clearer than any radio reception I've gotten and doesn't drop out all the time. I guess if I was just going to tune in the strongest signal no matter what was on it I'd get better reception, but that's silly.
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC)
Here's what UrbanDictionary.com has to say about it:
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I heard that program at home, with no power lines, and the guest refused to say, and said that if you really want to know, just google it. So you are getting as much from the comments here as you would have on the radio.
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 07:30 am (UTC)
are you sorry yet you asked? :)

it's a great word, and most of the time when i use it i no longer think of the alt.tasteless history.
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
IIRC, it was a combination of "squeamish" and "ick" back in the old alt.sex.bondage days.
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