Your New York Media Office Slang Dictionary

08/19/2009 3:39 PM |

The office from The Apartment

People who work in offices are usually together at least nine hours a day, five days a week. And that doesn’t count time spent at the Sixpoint beer tent at Summerscreen or at the Heineken room at Northside or in the shadowy depths of 68 Jay Bar… at least in our case. Out of this wealth of shared experience among office workers, a certain vernacular will often arise; a site-specific language used and understood only by those who work in a particular office. Recently, I polled The L Magazine office to find out what everyone likes to say around here. Turns out, our office vernacular is actually pretty rich and isn’t just about drinking. Inspired, I asked some other New York media offices what kinds of stuff they say. So, in honor of our special Office Issue, I give you…

The (Abridged) Dictionary of New York Media Slang

(Obviously, you will want to add slang from your own office. What better place to do it than in the comments section?)

The L Magazine
Let’s take a walk around the block = Let’s have a meeting.
Bins = An exclamation synonymous with above term, originating at the old office, where there were a bunch of bins piled up outside the door and people would conduct meetings next to them.
Let’s have a meeting = Let’s have a drink at the bar.
Cold rockin’ = Wearing, holding or associating oneself with something in a cool way. Example: “I’m cold rockin’ last night’s leftovers for lunch today.”
Sent from my iPhone, bitch = An emphatic tack-on to a verbal insult.
Exercise your right = To have a drink in the middle of the day.
Word is bond = An extra-fancy phrase signifying that a pledge has been made. Example: “So you’ll water my desk plants while I’m gone?” “Word is bond.”

The New York Times

The Ones = Calls from the Times show up on caller ID as a series of ones. The person answering the call will sometimes use this expression when picking up the phone. Example: Ring ring. “Oh, excuse me. It’s The Ones.”
Toe-touching = A practice which has ceased post Jayson Blair and Rick Bragg where a reporter remains at a location briefly just to establish the dateline, but does most of his/her work from another location.

Popular Mechanics

Let’s take this off-line = An expression used to get back on track when an unrelated conversation topic comes up during a big meeting. Example: “Hey you guys, I was thinking about going by my middle name from now on. What do you think?” “Well, I think—” “Ok, let’s take this offline.”
Wall Walk = When magazine pages have reached the final stages of completion, they are tacked up and displayed on a large wall in the Mechanics office. The editors and designers involved will walk the Editor-in-Chief down the wall and review their progress.

Internuts, Interwebs, Intertubes, etc. = Slang for ‘internet’. So as not to be repetitive.
Epic = A big post
Mini = A small post
Meme-ish = Usually said with cautious uncertainty, as in, “But, isn’t that a bit meme-ish?”
We’re Big in Russia! = Editor Stephen Lenz’s exclamatory response to overseas pickup.
IRL = Meeting an Internet friend in Real Life.

Ink Publishing

Recycling trip = When a few people band together to carry big, awkward cardboard boxes down the block for recycling. This is necessary because their landlord hasn’t organized that particular service for the building.

The Observer

Meeps = A vocalization of the acronym for MEP, or ‘multiple entry points’, which refers to the little boxes containing little stories that accompany larger pieces, especially in the arts sections. Also, a very cute name for a little box with a little story in it.


Wallendas = The term for top editors at Newsweek; after the trapeze-artist family of the same name, because, as the saying goes, they’re always pulling off high-wire acts. Also known as wallies for short.


The Rim = The name for the top producers at ABC’s World News Tonight. When scripts are being turned in for review, one might say, “I’m going to rim it.”

The New Yorker

The Book Bench Blog = This section of The New Yorker’s website was named after an actual bench that is used to hold the book department’s leavings. When a load of books comes in, word spreads around the office and everyone from senior editors to fact checkers goes to the book bench to try and find free books. Unlucky interns usually have the task of carting the load from the book department and unloading them at the bench.