Affluenza

andrewg927

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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.
 

bubbha

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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.
 

andrewg927

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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.
 
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emsr2d2

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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.
 

andrewg927

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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.
 

Tdol

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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.
 

Raymott

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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.
 

Skrej

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Pretty sure the concept has been around probably ever since, oh, homo erectus. We just got around to naming it in the last decade. :-D
 

Tdol

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

teechar

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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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