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7 Buzzwords You Can Stop Pretending You Understand

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illustrated gif with 7 different buzzwords
Rachel Chew
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If you've ever endured an awkward conversation, in which someone brings up a term and you have no idea what it means, read on. Here are seven buzzwords you can stop pretending you understand.

Pronounced “hoo-gah,” it’s the Danish art of creating a cozy home. The Oxford dictionary calls the 2017 interior design trend “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Think soft, chunky sweaters and blankets, a roaring fireplace, warm lighting (lots of candles!), easy dinner parties with fun friends and tucking into the couch with fuzzy socks and toasty tea.

Net neutrality
Net neutrality granted everyone equal access to an open internet regardless of their service provider or plan. Verizon, AT&T, etc., couldn’t block content, slow data transmission or engage in “paid prioritization” (premium service and speed for higher rates). On Dec. 14, 2017, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai repealed net neutrality. This deregulates internet providers, who could create fast and slow lanes for data, and charge for access to sites. Some argue that this is how cable companies operate, so why can’t the internet?

The acronym stands for state and local tax deduction. It’s being bandied about because it was one of the more controversial changes in the GOP’s recent tax reform bill. The new SALT ruling caps state, local and property tax deductions at $10,000 (they were previously unlimited). This is not good news for those who live in high-tax states, whose high-income residents would be affected by the cap.

Normcore is an antifashion fashion statement adopted by hipsters (!!). It’s a style of dressing that is simple and traditional, and does not evoke a particular era, designer or trend. A typical Normcore outfit might include baggy, neutral colors, nondescript, loose-fitting jeans and white sneakers. It’s a trend about bucking trends. Just think, you could be normcoring right now!

This marketing term describes a social media personality with such a massive following they are able to “influence” viewers to buy or try something. If you have a teenager, you are aware of the influence they have on your child’s life, whether it’s bottle flipping or learning to apply copious amounts of makeup. Major companies pay influencers to endorse products — a practice that is rapidly replacing traditional advertising.

Augmented reality (AR)
First there was Reality Bites (a Gen-X flick with swoon-worthy Ethan Hawke), then virtual reality (3-D, on-screen computer-generated worlds). AR is digital imagery we can see, hear and manipulate superimposed on the real world. Remember Pokémon Go, the gaming app that had people battling cartoon creatures in parks and living rooms? Bingo. AR is how doctors see holographic, 3-D renderings of a patient’s heart. This year, Amazon and Ikea released apps that let you digitally place furniture in your home so you can see how it looks before you buy. Whoa.

Air fryer/steam oven
We’re including both culinary terms because air fryers are all the rage now, and steam ovens are about to be. Imagine all your favorite fried foods rendered healthy — fluffed and crisped by a mere tablespoon of oil. Boasting 75 pecent less fat, air fryers ($50 and up) brown food to crunchy goodness by rapidly circulating hot air. Steam ovens are about to take over all the trendy, expensive kitchen Pinterest posts. These appliances use steam to defrost, bake, slow cook and steam food, retaining nutrients and vitamins that are usually baked and broiled out.