'Frankenstorm' makes it into English

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 30 2012 12:23 AM | Updated as of Oct 30 2012 08:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - "Frankenstorm," a noun describing hybrid Hurricane Sandy, is now considered an official English language word, according to Texas-based Global Language Monitor (GLM).

The word, a portmanteau or combination of horror monster "Frankenstein" and "storm" has met the English language criteria after the number of citations for "Frankenstorm increased 1,000% in the past few days, GLM said.

"Frankenstorm crossed those threshold earlier today with tens of thousands of references in the global media," GLM president and chief word analyst Paul JJ Payack said.

His organization, which analyzes and catalogs the latest trends in word usage, word choices, and their impact on culture, said the word 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," Global Language Monitor said.

However, not all are embracing the coined word.

John McIntyre, Baltimore Sun editor and night content production manager, said in his column on language and journalism that he ruled against use of the word in the publication.

"Yesterday, I sent this message to the newsroom staff: We will not be using the word “Frankenstorm” in coverage of Hurricane Sandy, because the term trivializes a serious and potentially deadly event. It’s acceptable in direct quotes, but even there we shouldn’t overdo it," he said.

McIntyre said Phil Blanchard of the Testy Copy Editors online forum earlier posted such advice on Facebook. He said CNN has also adopted the same policy avoiding use of "Frankenstorm."

"The advisory to the staff was not a flat ban, as you see from the mention of quotes, and Frankenstorm is a word that people are using, and using as an SEO term to find information. We just don't want to belabor it," he explained.

"I think that that was the right editorial decision, but I also understand the impulse to come up with these ludicrous nicknames," he added.

"It is the very threatening nature of the storm that moves people to come up with nicknames, to stave off fear and apprehension by naming the source of the fear and trying to trivialize it," McIntyre said.