Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Banished Baby Bump

What word or term describes a pregnant woman's protruding midsection?

Baby bump.  
(That's what you guessed, right?)

Heidi Klum and Gwen Stefani had
some serious baby bumps circa 2008

Can you think of any commonly used synonyms for "baby bump"?  Protruding midsection (as I just wrote above)?  Definitely NO.  Pregnant belly?  I don't think so, though maybe.  The word "showing" is somewhat common - "is she showing?" or "I'm not showing yet", etc.  But, "showing" doesn't refer to the protruding midsection itself, it refers to the size of the protruding midsection (whether it's visible to the general public).  By and large, baby bump is the term.

Meanwhile, pregnancy and motherhood are pop-culture phenomenons.  I'm not sure when that became true.  Maybe when Demi Moore was pregnant and naked on the cover of Vanity Fair?  That's a total wild guess, but you can quote me.  But, whenever this pregnancy coolness trend started doesn't matter because I think we can all agree that it is here and now.  Just last year, Pregnant and Heels made Rosie Pope a pseudo celebrity and her maternity clothing line a must have for rich pregnant ladies.  Celebrity gossip websites feature "Bump Watch" columns that show photos of celebrity midsections that are suspected to be pregnant or known to be pregnant.  There are pregnancy books and websites and blogs (ahem...), all dedicated to the fondness and coolness of pregnancy.  Being pregnant is generally a hip thing to be these days.

With this hot pregnancy trend and the seeming fact that only one term describes a pregnant woman's protruding midsection, the words "baby bump", are overused everywhere.

Remember this?

According to Lake Superior State University, that needs to end.  Stat.  Every year, Lake Superior State University conducts a survey of the most misused, overused and generally useless words in the English language.  Every year the votes are tallied and a list of the twelve most voted for words is published.  The list is sort of a request to stop using the words.  More like a demand?  The newest list came out on January 1, 2012 and...you know where I'm going with this... BABY BUMP was number 2 on the list.

Here is the full list:
  1. Amazing
  2. Baby Bump
  3. Shared Sacrifice
  4. Occupy
  5. Blowback
  6. Man Cave
  7. The New Normal
  8. Pet Parent
  9. Win the Future
  10. Trickeration
  11. Ginormous
  12. Thank You In Advance

For the all the lists since 1976 (the original list) click here and for a witty NPR article on the newest list click here.

Do you agree is baby bump way overused?  What else, frankly, should we be saying if not baby bump!?  Anyone have a thesaurus?

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