Today I made up a new word, ephiphemera. I use it to describe something very specific. I will explain.

In every era there are large events that focus everyone’s attention. It might be a war, a rocket ship to the moon, a contentious election, or a pandemic. The one thing you can be sure about is that the same thing is on everyone’s mind.

In the moment, the phenomenon can loom so large that an entire new vocabulary is built around it. Many new words and phrases are coined, each creating its own little epiphenomenon.

Most of those words and phrases will fall by the wayside soon after the phenomenon itself has passed, part of the forgotten detritus of history. Eventually, only people of a certain age will know the meaning behind such epiphemeral phrases as white bronco or the COVID 15.

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