When did this become a thing?

In popular media culture, when you have three similar things happening, then it automatically becomes transformed into a ‘thing’, a trend, something to be imitated and repeated and reported on until everyone gets sick to death of it.

The latest that that I noticed is the use of hybrid names to describe high-profile celebrity couples. As far as I am concerned, it became a thing yesterday when I noticed the use more than once of the term ‘Kimye’ to denote Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. I recalled that earlier we used to have Brangelina and Bennifer, so this is now officially a thing. I find these things to be highly annoying, the same reaction to when the news media coin hybrid words based on apocalypse and Armageddon to describe severe weather or other major events.

Of course, since my following of celebrities tends to be limited to the headlines on Google News, there may well have been other cases and that this became a thing a long time ago without my noticing. I am sure readers will clue me in if that is the case.


  1. ShowMetheData says

    It’s sometimes a fun way to play with language that most people don’t allow themselves
    FTB couple Mano Singham + PZ Myers = Manopz

  2. kyoseki says

    I’m also noticing more and more people pronouncing acronyms that were never intended to be pronounced, FTSE becoming “footsie” and NHTSA now becoming “nitsa”

    … it’s why XKCD is XKCD, because it has no phonetic pronunciation.

  3. doublereed says

    The media also does this with naming every political scandal as something-gate.

    The British name political scandals as the something affair.

  4. AsqJames says

    When did it become a “thing” to notice a “thing” and ask: When did it become a “thing”?

    Didn’t people used to say something had become a “fashion” or a “trend”, or “fashionable”/”trendy”?

    Also, the beer was better in my day, kids had more respect, and get off my lawn!

  5. AsqJames says


    The British name political scandals as the something affair.

    Except we’ve also adopted the American “-gate” suffix. The most recent one I can think of off the top of my head is plebgate…although to be fair that did actually involve an actual gate…is this the first time since watergate that a “-gate” has been accurately suffixed?

  6. dwb1957 says

    Been going for years. You’ve just missed it.

    (And I believe that Colbert thing was Filliam H. Muffman.)

  7. says

    Oh yeah, this has loooooooooooong been an annoying thing. Whether it’s celebrity couples or “shippers”* of fictional characters, mashing names together has been happening for years now.

    * “Shippers” being fans of a body of work who enjoy seeing or want to see particular romantic pairings. See also: “Slash fiction” that gets it’s name from “Kirk/Spock (Kirk slash Spock)”.

  8. AsqJames says


    I must have missed that, but you’d need to be deaf to the sounds of words/language to think “Gategate” was ever going to catch on over “Plebgate”…so I guess it could have been one of our esteemed Grub Street hacks 😉

  9. Scr... Archivist says

    AsqJames @8,

    Or “fad” or “phenomenon”.


    Meanwhile, I must object to the naming of storms that are not hurricanes (and never were). This seems to have started in just the last year or so, and I see no reason for it. In fact, I would prefer if hurricanes were simply labelled with a year and a letter, but I’m probably alone in that.

    Finally, I have to ask why the Cardassians are in western Kenya at all. Shouldn’t someone tell the United Earth government?

  10. Timothy says

    If we’re talking annoying trends, my vote goes to people actually saying “hashtag [XYZ]” in a conversation.

    I was at a professional meeting recently where a participant actually said this.

    While Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake lampooned this practice brilliantly, is this becoming a thing?

  11. Mano Singham says


    Thanks for link but boy, that would drive me crazy if anyone spoke to me like that.

  12. Wylann says

    … it’s why XKCD is XKCD, because it has no phonetic pronunciation.

    Yes it does.

    It’s pronounced…..gesundheit. 😉

  13. moarscienceplz says

    I’d guess this “thing” is closer to its death than its birth. I think it was about 2 years ago an episode of The Big Bang Theory had some characters try to name the Sheldon Cooper/Amy Farrah Fowler couple as “Shamy”. Once broadcast TV recognizes a cultural trope, it must die and soon.

  14. doublereed says

    While Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake lampooned this practice brilliantly, is this becoming a thing?

    Totally not a real thing #totallyarealthing

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