The Compact Oxford English Dictionary

RORY: The Compact Oxford English Dictionary!
CHRISTOPHER: I promised you I’d get it. I’m just sorry it took so long.
RORY: That’s okay.
CHRISTOPHER: On the bright side, this is the new edition. If I’d gotten you the old one, you wouldn’t have the word ‘jiggy’ in it.
RORY: Thank you. I love it, I’m gonna go look things up right now.
CHRISTOPHER: Wait, wait. [hands her magnifying glass]

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary, previously discussed as Rory’s dream book, which Christopher couldn’t buy her six months ago because his credit card was declined.

This time he is able to buy her the 2001 edition, which contains the American slang word “jiggy”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “Excitedly energetic or uninhibited, often in a sexual manner; to get jiggy: to engage in sexual activity”.

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary has such fine print that it comes with its own reading glass.

County Fair

LORELAI: [A debutante ball] is like animals being up for bid at the county fair

A county fair is an North American term for an agricultural show, with the main focus being on livestock and animal husbandry, although other types of contests and entertainment will usually be on offer also. A county fair is one organised by a particular county, in contrast with a state fair, and will generally be smaller and more rural in character.

Potlucks and Tupperware Parties

JESS: Potlucks and Tupperware parties aren’t really my thing.

A potluck is American English for a communal meal where everyone brings a dish of food to share. Commonly organised by churches and community groups, the food is rarely of gourmet quality (hence, you’re taking “pot luck” in what you’ll get to eat).

A Tupperware party is one organised to sell Tupperware, a line of plastic storage containers first developed by Earl Silas Tupper in 1946, and sold via multilevel marketing in the home. After being very popular in the 1970s, Tupperware suffered a slump in the mid-1990s, when it began to seem dated, so at this period was considered a rather middle-aged activity.

Quite rudely, Jess equates the lavish dinner Sookie carefully prepared to welcome him to Stars Hollow with community meals suitable for the dull and old-fashioned. This yet another meal prepared by Sookie which gets ruined, as Jess and Luke leave without eating, when the dinner was meant to be for them.

Wilding

LORELAI: You know, you should meet my daughter. She’s about your age. She can show you where all the good wilding goes on . . .

“Wilding” is an American term which gained media use in the 1980s and ’90s to describe gangs of teenage gangs committing violent acts. It is no longer often used.

The word has an ugly history, coined during the Central Park jogger case of 1989, after a white female jogger was assaulted and raped in Manhattan’s Central Park. Five black and Latino juveniles were convicted of the crime, police contending that the boys said they were “wilding” in the park, the police taking this to mean committing violence.

This has been disputed as a (wilful?) misunderstanding by the police. Other theories are that the boys were repeating the lyrics to the Tone Loc song, “The Wild Thing”, or that they said they were “wiling”, meaning “hanging out, whiling away the time”.

The boys served sentences of between six to twelve years, and all later had their charges vacated after a serial rapist and murderer confessed to the crime while in prison. This was in 2002, so after this episode aired (Lorelai doesn’t know she is referencing falsely imprisoned schoolboys).

So far, Lorelai has linked Jess with prisoners and the Mafia, and joked that he may be going out to hold up a liquor store. Once she actually meets him, she connects him with violent gang rape. At this point, her “jokes” about Jess have become openly hostile, and quite nasty.

As Lorelai has joked about a violent gang rape, and used a word with a racist history to Jess, I wonder if this is when he decided he didn’t like Lorelai very much?

401(k)s

SOOKIE: Just try to look older [to get into the nightclub].
RORY: How?
SOOKIE: Look like you’re thinking about retirements or 401(k)s and stuff.

In the United States, a 410(k) is a pension account where retirement savings receive contributions from the employer, and is tax-deferred until retirement. In other countries, it might be called a personal pension scheme or superannuation fund.

Puce

MAX: How ya doing?
LORELAI: Mm, I’m stable.
MAX: You’re a lovely shade of puce.
LORELAI: Don’t say puce. It sounds too much like another word I don’t wanna hear right now.

Puce is a dark red or purple-ish brown colour. The word comes from the French word for “flea”, and is supposedly named for the colour of bloodstains on bed sheets after a flea has been crushed.

Lorelai moans that the colour reminds her of the word “puke”.

Ennui

LORELAI: Michel, we’ve been over this, we all cover the phone, that includes you.
MICHEL: Don’t misunderstand. I want to answer it, I truly do, but today, today I am suffering from ennui.

Ennui is the French word for boredom and lethargy, with connotations of a melancholy world-weariness, and the jaded feeling of having life a little too easy. It has a particular resonance in twentieth century existentialist literature, such as by Kafka, Sartre, or Albert Camus, which often centres on a protagonist who drifts through life in the grip of ennui, angst, and alienation.

Lorelai has absolutely no patience with this, and diagnoses Michel as simply being tired, for which she prescribes (of course) massive amounts of coffee.