Whether it was Monday in the United States or Tuesday in South Korea, the word of the day was “hangry.” That was the adjective Chloe Kim delightfully applied to herself in a tweet she posted between her gold medal-winning halfpipe runs at the Olympics.
Lest any schoolmarm types wag an admonishing finger at the 17-year-old California native for foisting an unfortunate piece of slang on an American public too enraptured by her aerial prowess to care, please be advised: No less than Oxford University Press, publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, approves of “hangry.” In fact, the venerable institution added the word to its latest quarterly update just days before the Winter Games kicked off in PyeongChang.
To be “hangry” means to be so hungry that it’s affecting one’s mood for the worse — making one angry. (By the way, if you read that sentence and thought, ‘Gee, thanks, mister,’ it may be worth noting that the OED also just added “mansplain.”)
According to a January blog post by Katherine Connor Martin, Oxford University Press’s head of U.S. Dictionaries, “hangry” has only “entered common use” in the 21st century, but “the earliest known evidence for the word dates from 1956, in an unusual article in the psychoanalytic journal American Imago that describes various kinds of deliberate and accidental wordplay.” Martin noted that some other “words formed by contraction or elision” presented in that article, such as “criumph (a crime triumph) and sexperience (sexual experience),” have yet to catch on with the English-speaking public.
Hangry, though, has not only caught on, but Kim’s high-profile usage all but guarantees the term will become much more popular. Not surprisingly, in the immediate wake of her Olympic triumph, there were countless variations of the phrase “hangry for gold.”
Even less surprisingly, Corporate America was eager to jump aboard:
It was probably not an accident that, complaints of an unfinished breakfast sandwich aside, Kim was suspected of having quite the sweet tooth. During the previous day’s qualifying session for the halfpipe final, she tweeted between runs about having a food craving.
Little wonder, then, that the coverage of Kim’s gold medal performance included this crucial piece of information:
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