an- ‘without’ and orexis ‘appetite’

February 1, 2007

Catherine Soanes at the ever useful AskOxford has a great example of the developing English Language with variations on anorexia. I can add two of my own (and welcome more):

Sigmarexia the process of culling your staff for no good purpose other than to demonstrate your ability to measure anything, value nothing and prove your macho capability

Fluffyrexia: removing all dissent, debate and conflict in order to reduce the content of a workshop to meaningless platitudes

I am sure more are possible, however here are the originals together with their introduction. They all delight.

“To combat the advance of globesity (global obesity), it’s been proposed that a fat tax on junk food should be introduced: in the US such a measure has been referred to as a Twinkie tax (TwinkiesTM are finger-shaped sponge cakes with a cream filling, though why they should be singled out for special opprobrium is unclear).

At the other extreme, skinny models and other celebrities are said to provide thinspiration to young women who aspire to be ultra-thin – slender enough to fit into size 00 clothes. Such thinspirational role models are typically pictured on pro-ana and pro-mia websites, which extol the ‘virtues’ of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.

Ironically, the word anorexia (which comes from the Greek words an- ‘without’ and orexis ‘appetite’) is also experiencing its own form of expansion: the suffix -rexia or -orexia is being used to generate a glut of new words:

bleachorexia: an obsession with whitening the teeth
vitarexia: vitamin deficiency
tanorexia: an obsession with maintaining a year-round suntan, especially by using sunbeds
weborexia: collective term for websites that promote anorexia and other eating disorders
yogarexia: an obsession with practising yoga to become or stay slim
manorexia: the ‘male version’ of anorexia (since anorexia is typically regarded as a ‘female’ disorder, even though it affects people of both sexes)
bigorexia: (also known as muscle dysmorphia) people with this disorder believe that they are puny (even though they are very muscular) and exercise compulsively to increase muscle bulk.
permarexia: an addiction to faddy slimming diets
brideorexia: referring to brides-to-be who crash-diet before the wedding so as to look good in the photos

If we’re not chewing the fat about this weighty issue long into the foreseeable future, I’ll eat my hat.”

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