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  1. #1
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Affluenza

    Hello my English fellows,

    Yesterday I was talking to a British woman and brought up the word but she said she had never heard of it. I just wanted to find out if perhaps the word is not as common in the UK as it is in the US. If not, do you have something equivalent? I would appreciate any comments.

  2. #2
    bubbha is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Affluenza

    It's a neologism. It only entered the general English language in December 2013 thanks to news reports of the Ethan Couch drunk-driving manslaughter ruling.

    It refers to being accustomed to getting away with crimes because you're young, rich and white.
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

  3. #3
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Affluenza

    I believe most Americans know of the word but perhaps the news hasn't reached across the Atlantic. I don't think it has much to do with race. It's about abundant wealth and irresponsible parenting.
    Last edited by andrewg927; 21-Aug-2017 at 05:44. Reason: Added info

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Affluenza

    I'd heard it but only without context. I assumed it was an illness suffered by people who are rich enough to take time off work for merely having a bit of a sniffle. I got that it was a combination of "affluent" and "influenza" and that's where my assumed definition came from.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Affluenza

    Thanks a lot for your comments, PS and ems. The word actually doesn't refer to an actual illness. It was used by a psychologist in the sentencing of Ethan Couch (16 at the time) for his drunk driving manslaughter case and it got mainstream after the news broke that instead of doing time he was instead sent to a luxurious rehab facility. He killed four people and injured many with his Ford F350 while extremely intoxicated. It was an example of money buys privilege. It describes children who are spoiled by wealthy parents and who don't understand the consequences of their actions.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Affluenza

    I have seen it used in the UK, but the interchange with modern media is instant. However, this case probably didn't receive that much attention in the UK.

  7. #7
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    Re: Affluenza

    Affluenza, a portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. It is thought to have been first used in 1954 but it gained legs as a concept with a 1997 PBS documentary of the same name and the subsequent book, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001, revised in 2005, 2014).
    Wikipedia.

  8. #8
    Skrej's Avatar
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    Re: Affluenza

    Pretty sure the concept has been around probably ever since, oh, homo erectus. We just got around to naming it in the last decade.
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  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Affluenza

    1954 is a surprisingly early date, but they did have rich people then.

  10. #10
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    Re: Affluenza

    This thread reminds me of a funny quote from the Australian sitcom "Kath and Kim."

    Kim: I want to be effluent, mum, effluent!
    Kath: You are effluent, Kim!

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