The first time I saw the term cow-orker, I thought it was a funny way of insulting someone you work with. That’s cute, thought I, and moved on.
Then I saw it again. And again. “Oh, it’s been picked up…people like the jibe. It’ll bounce around for a while and go away eventually.”

Well, it’s still here. Only now I think it’s being used to mean co-worker. I’ve come across it several times in the past few days, and it doesn’t seem like the poster is making a dig at their co-worker.

Am I missing something?

Are you saying you have never seen anyone ork a cow before?

I use it as an insult, usually when I’m relating something here that Roundboy or Mandy The Martian are doing at work.

Item” – you know, that Latin word that means “also”. You use it in making lists and inventories – “Also, a chair. Also, a bed” – you know, like that. Well, the other day, I heard some kid use it as a noun. “Check out these items”, he said, as if he didn’t realize that it wasn’t a noun, and that he was really saying “check out these alsos!” Funny stuff. It’s a catchy bit of slang, but it’ll run its course and be gone in a few years.

Can you imagine someone saying “12 alsos or less?”

Scott Adams (Dilbert) coined the term first, though probably just as an accidental misspelling.

I’ve seen cow-orker around these parts since I started coming here (which, admittedly, wasn’t that long ago). I’ve also seen “co-irker” uses specifically, and unsurprisingly, in the context of other staff members one works with, though I mostly see that on the Customers Suck! forums.

Me, I like the best of both worlds: cow-irker. One who annoys bovines.

Nah, he followed the trend, he didn’t start it. I saw it in use on Usenet around 1993. This thread indicates it was in use as early as 1989.

[Princess Bride ON] I do not think that word means what you think it means! [Princess Bride OFF]


noun [C]
1 something which is part of a list or group of things:
the last item on the list
The restaurant has a long menu of about 50 items.
Several items of clothing (= clothes) lay on the floor.

2 one of several subjects to be considered:
There are three items on the agenda.

And your definition #1 is different from my use HOW?

Whoa! Did anyone get the license plate on that whoosh?

I do wish this one would die. It seems to me like a cry of “Look at me, I’m clever too!” Unfortunately, I think it’s here to stay.

Gotta say, though, Cal, I think you’re dignifying it a bit much by comparing it to loan words from other languages. Yeah, I see the analogy, but it’s a bit of a stretch, seems to me.

My point was that just because something looks like a fad to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to go away soon. Vaudeville performers said the same thing about television.
And I don’t think “item” is really a “loan word”. Loan Words are words that we take intact from elsewher and use the same way, like the recently0-discussed schandefreude. But Item is a word used as a completely different part of speech than the original latin word.

“Cow-orker” is neither like that, nor like a loan word. It’s like the word “filk”, which also started life as a typo, and which has now been around for a few decades. I like it, and I’ll continue tou use it where appropriate. And there are places where it’s appropriate.

Filk? I have never heard that word in my life. What is it?

You people need to get out more. Or to use your Search engines:

I just wanted to mention the Princess Bride. :slight_smile:

However, seriously ‘item’ is a prefectly good noun.

Given Cal Meachem’s followup, I don’t think he meant it as a whoosh.

I certainly remember as being popular on alt.folklore.urban and back in, dunno, '92 or 93. For that matter, I also remember seeing posts from Flodnak back then too, although she didn’t call herself that then.

Here is an earlier thread I started on the same subject. The consensus is that while Scott Adams popularized the phrase, it’s been around longer than that.

It was popularized in the late 18th century after an unfortunate accident involving Catherine the Great’s younger sister.