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‘Frankenstorm’ accepted into English Lexicon — Though CNN Demurs
Current East Coast ‘Perfect’ Storm storms pushes Frankenstorm words over qualifying criteria
Austin, Texas, October 29, 2012 – ‘Frankenstorm,’ the massive hybrid storm (combination Nor’Easter / Hurricane) currently churning up the Eastern Coast of the United States, has passed the minimum criteria to be considered an English-Language word according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor. The number of citations of Frankenstorm have increased 1000-fold in the last few days.
The storm is officially dubbed Hurricane Sandy, according to the the National Hurricane Center. The names of tropical storms are officially maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.
The Global Language Monitor since 2003 has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet, in social media, and the global print and electronic media,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. “Frankenstorm crossed those threshold earlier today with tens of thousands of references in the global media.”
One holdout is CNN. As quoted in the Washington Post: “Management at the network has issued a directive not to use ‘Frankenstorm,’ on the rationale that the storm is powerful and deadly. ‘Let’s not trivialize it,’ said the directive, according to CNN meteorologist and severe weather expert Chad Myers.”
The naming of hurricanes have been controversial since 1953, when the practice began of using female names in alphabetical order to name the hurricane. Typically the Atlantic hurricane season produces fewer tropical storms than the twenty-four letters in the English alphabet. Later the use of female names was considered sexist, or at least quaint. and male names were added in 1979. Over the years the names have become increasingly diverse.
The names are chosen in advance and rotated every six years. The Strongest storms, those deemed with historical significance are retired into a sort of Hurricane Hall of Fame.
Click on the adjacent NOAA icon to see the perspective names for all global hurricanes through 2017. The name Frankenstorm is not on any list.
The word ‘Frankenstorm’ is a combination or ‘portmanteau’ word linking Mary Shelley’s character from her novel ‘Frankenstein (or the New Prometheus)’ with the word ‘Storm’ from the O.E. ‘storm’.
One of the word storm’s many senses acquired in the Late Middle Ages is ‘to rage’ might be especially pertinent here.
Mary Shelly, eighteen years old when she began her novel, never actually called him Frankenstein, which was actually the name of the monster’s creator, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s creation was referred to simply as ‘the monster”.
Frankenstorm is also at the center of vigorous internet meme creation. It appears the the Frankenstorm meme might cross-pollinate with any number of now circulating Internet Memes on the pending Presidential Elections on November 6th.
About The Global Language Monitor
“We Tell the World What the Web is Thinking.” Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogs the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.