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Greek crisis: A reader's guide to puns and portmanteaus

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Greece's financial crisis has been feverishly covered in recent weeks by news organizations in multiple languages and time zones. High-level discussions abound; agreements are few. People who once played critical political roles are resigning; finance ministers are gaining as much attention as prime ministers.

The crisis provides more than a few challenges to the American reader who doesn't have much time to dedicate to the matter. It's even a challenge for Greeks to follow, as shown by Google results. You can do most of the filtering with a few good US-based sources, including Vox, but there's one final barrier to reading live conversations on Twitter: You'd need to first understand the shorthand, portmanteaus, and puns that are crucial to these missives.

Here are a few of the most commonly used phrases to get you started on your news junkie way. I'll keep adding to this list as is relevant, so feel free to suggest others or give your analysis on the ones below.

  • Agreekment: pun portmanteau (puntmanteau?). An agreement about the Greek crisis negotiations. Used by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of the European Union in a memo on Monday. First tweeted in February 2015.
  • FinMin: shorthand for the job title "finance minister."
  • Greconciliation: portmanteau. Greek reconciliation, the act of Greece finding an acceptable solution to its financial crisis and reconciling ties with European Union nations. First appeared on Twitter on June 27 via Igor Fayler.
  • Greferendum: portmanteau. The Greek referendum in early July, which resulted in a rejection of presented reconciliation terms.
  • Grexit: portmanteau. A Greek exit from the European Union and thus usage of the euro as national currency. This controversial phrase traces back to at least 2012, and is not recommended by Felix Salmon or Kai Ryssdal. "Of course, nothing can beat #grexit," Reuters' Jennifer Ablan countered when asked to choose her most-liked phrase. Related: #nogrexit, opposition to or denial of a Grexit.
  • Grexident: portmanteau. A Grexit caused by an unintended series of accidents, mostly political (Telegraph).
  • Grexodus: portmanteau. Meaning if Greece exits the European by choice; opposite of a Grexit, which implies a forced exit. Favorite of Pedro da Costa; first tweeted in 2012.
  • Grisis: portmanteau. Greek/Greece crisis, a lesser-used version of Greece's general financial crisis (CNBC).
  • #ThisIsACoup: phrase and hashtag in reference to criticisms about the fairness applied during negotiations, specifically Germany.

There are a few other exit-related portmanteaus, like Brexit (British exit) and Fixit (Finnish exit). Finance Twitter often relies on shorthand to discuss market events, in part because the social network limits users to 140 characters. Take, for example, a favorite of Matt Yglesias#Dijsselboom, a pun based on the last name of Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, whose remarks about Cyprus in 2013 sparked immediate criticism.

Have a phrase to add? Email me or tweet it to me @margarita.

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