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October 9, 2003

Slang of the Week: techno-weenie (noun)
a (usually undesirable) person who loves to research and purchase the latest technology

As a techno-weenie, Frank had the smallest cell phone, the biggest flat panel TV, and the fewest friends.

Celebrity quote:
“ Do not assume that the occupant of the residence to be searched is not dangerous or armed, simply because he or she is a 'techno weenie.' Recent searches around the nation have resulted in large firearms, explosives, and narcotics seizures from the homes of computer crime suspects.”
-Michael Webber of the Lewiston Police Department, giving tips on computer seizures in the Maine Law Officers Bulletin

It might seem that being high tech would be a good thing. After all, many computer people refer to themselves as geeks or nerds, words that were once very negative. But while some geeks might call themselves techno-weenies, the second part of this word makes it sound pretty bad. Weenie (also wiener) has been popular since the sixties as an insulting term for losers. The term techno-weenie is particularly popular in bicycling, because new enthusiasts often pay thousands for fancy gear that doesn't make them any better athletes.

Since the early part of the 20th century, weenie has also described a part of the male anatomy, and children still use it that way today. But before that, it was slang for hot dog, which itself has a number of slang meanings, including the anatomical one above. In addition, it can refer to a type of crazy acrobatic skiing that has recently achieved respectability as an Olympic sport (though of course, it isn’t called hot dog skiing in the Olympics. It’s called “freestyle.”)

But hot dog always reminds me of the classic Frank Capra movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Hero George Bailey wishes on a cigarette lighter every time he enters the drugstore where he works, calling out “I wish I had a million dollars!” If it lights on the first try, he cries “Hot dog!” the 1920s equivalent of “Awesome!

What’s new at Slang City?
In REAL ENGLISH, we look at funny American T-SHIRT SLOGANS. If English is not your native language, check this out to make sure you aren't wearing something dangerous!