The New Yorker decides to eliminate 'slacks' from the English language

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It's been real, "slacks," but you've been hung up for good: The New Yorker's Culture Desk blog polled Twitter on Friday, asking "If you could eliminate a single word from the English language, what would it be?"

Matt Buchanan wrote an impassioned plea for people to stop saying "pivot" in the Silicon Valley sense: to describe a company "completely abandoning its original business model, coming up with something else entirely, and then calling it the same thing." Jen Doll went a little meta, proposing the death of a number of New Yorker copy-editing conventions like "coöperate" and "vender."

Well, sorry, guys, they chose "slacks" instead. "Moist" was a popular submission, Ben Greenman writes, and as you may expect, many people suggested daring and amusing changes to the English language. But Greenman says whoever decided this issue (names are not named) decided either "slacks" or "trousers" had to go. "After a protracted backroom session—arguments were impactful on both sides of the issue—we settled on slacks, which was suggested by multiple entrants, but first suggested by @Nemesisn4sa."

(For what it's worth, the magazine couldn't have settled on "trousers" if it ever hoped to be able to quote British people about certain garments; "pants" in Britain means underpants and "trousers" is widely used.)

Alexander Nazaryan thinks The New Yorker missed an important opportunity to address a word woven into the core of current annoying New York City culture: "My vote would have been for 'artisanal.'"

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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