A word in your era

Singleton, Middle Youth, Fat Cat, New Lad and Carpetbagger. Members of the government front bench or the latest fivesome to take over the Spice Girls mantle? No - they're all words that supposedly sum up the last year. But what will lexicographers remember 1998 for?

Generation E

New term coined for 1998's archetypal teenager. Sends E-mail, takes E's, lives on a staple diet of E numbers, is in social group E, gets an E in his GCSE exams, and finally drops dead of E Coli contracted from a dodgy takeaway.

Bratpop

Following the smash hit Teletubbies single, other pre-school favourites bid for chart success in '98. Most memorably, the Blue Peter labrador's controversial "Smack My Bitch Up".

Spouse Girl

Elbowing aside the Singleton and the Spice Girl, 1998 woman is epitomised by Ffion Hague, or "Supporty Spouse". She would never dream of showing her Union Jack knickers to crowds of supporters, unless her husband's stance on devolution necessitates it.

Middle Age Travellers

Well-heeled couples who choose to live a nomadic lifestyle, setting up camp in their (luxury, five-berth, TV-and-video as standard) mobile homes and joining whatever environmental protest happens to be particularly in vogue at the moment. Attract bitterness from local residents for their habit of leaving farmers fields strewn with attractive pine-effect garden furniture, B&Q barbecue sets and ornamental fishponds.

Virtual Royalty

Her Majesty's 1998 Christmas Message to the Commonwealth breaks even more boundaries than last year's, when the Queen is seen wearing headset and goggles, wandering through an artificial Britain where everything is OK, and the future for the monarchy looks safe and secure.

Spin Aromatherapist

Spin Doctors were called upon to revamp the image of... Spin Doctors, when focus groups found that they were considered "shady and unprincipled". The Spin Aromatherapist introduced more caring and natural ways to make dodgy ministers come up smelling of roses.

Sound Bulimia

Psychological disorder prevalent in 1998 amongst stressed-out media figures. Sufferers regularly binge out on soundbites, before taking back the entire lot to save face.

Hari Kari

Having discovered that moving their desk to face the window in accordance with Feng Shui law does not in fact improve their emotional wellbeing, financiers affected by the Eastern stockmarket crisis decide to adopt an alternative Oriental practice - and jump out of the window instead.

New Ludd

Spearheading the backlash against new technology, the New Ludd (led by millionaire "outrepreneur" Bill Deedes) is happy to sit back, wait until the world's computers all crash in the year 2000, then smugly say "I told you so".

Paula Jones...

whose 1998 bestseller, "Paula Jones' Diary", struck a chord with the countless young women to have been offered sex in a hotel room by a leading politician.

Skinny Bitches

With "Fat Cats" safely consigned to public disdain, the field is clear for ruthless middle aged women with fashionable eating disorders to seize power and influence over the country's biggest corporations.

Domophobia

Harbouring an unfairly prejudiced attitude to the Millennium Dome Project, and refusing to touch anything connected with it - despite reassurances that it will only ever actually affect one-in-five-hundred-thousand people.

Wonderbrain

Gossard's latest innovation, as worn by all top supermodels in 1998. The "wonderbrain" artificially enhances a tiny intelligence and enhances the wearer's frontal lobes - instantly lifting her IQ at least two points. And no-one need ever know!

New British

Term coined in 1997 to refer to "New British cuisine", the culinary style encompassing a mixture of Pacific Rim, Chinese, Italian, French, Indian and Mexican. Used in 1998 to describe "New British" sporting heroes, eg those born in Canada.

Loan Parents

Dysfunctional couples who have split up due to the pressure of having to pay for their kids to go to university.

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