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glossary of court reporting slang
from the overactive imagination of mike miller


The following is a list of court reporting slang I've accumulated and indexed over my years of working in a freelance office.  Before reading, place tongue firmly in cheek.

ace (n.):  First on-call reporter.

arrow-downer (n.):  Editor or scopist working for a reporter with extremely clean notes, therefore only needing to press the down arrow key while reading.

ASS-CII (n.):  A particularly -- nay, exquisitely dirty ASCII. See also filthy ASCII.

beat up (v.):  What illiterate witnesses and inarticulate attorneys do to court reporters. 

bench (n.):  List of on-call reporters.  See also bullpen.

blanked (v.):  When you arrive at the deposition only to be told that it canceled yesterday and no one bothered to call you.

buffalo meeting (n.):  Gathering from 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon where even  the mere mention of work is punishable by flogging and expulsion.

bullpen (n.):  List of on-call reporters.  See also bench.

cancelitis (n.):  Inflammation of the cancel, state of having everything you're set on for two or three days in a row cancel at the last minute.  In extreme cases where this condition is prolonged to four or five days, it is known as cancelitis gravis.

"can I borrow your ears?":  Query of a fellow reporter requesting them to listen to a recorded passage to aid in deciphering just what in the hell was said, because what you wrote makes absolutely no sense.  

chiclet (n.):   Reporter that demands to be set only within their impossibly limited time constraints, i.e., even numbered Wednesdays from 2:17 to 4:32 p.m.  Taken from the Steve Martin movie The Jerk: (In response to the question "What do I win?") Anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area that includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers. 

cleaner (n.):  Editor (scopist), usually on a daily copy.

comma-kaze (n.):  Reporter, or scopist, with an affinity, for, really, really, overpunctuating.

copy farm (n.):  A case with many parties, most of which are ordering copies and actually paying for them.

crusty (adj.):  Adjective to describe a job that should, by all rights, have gone out last week.  See also "growin' whiskers."

"couldn't write my own name":  Describes when, for whatever reason, you're just not operating at your usual 100%.

dangle factor (n.):  Ill-founded perception that male freelance reporters get choice assignments over female reporters.

dangle factory (n.):  Two or more male reporters officing in close proximity.

"deader 'n fried chicken":  A severe shortage of work.

deuce (n.):  Second on-call reporter.  See also il ducé. 

drooler (n.):  A Stenomask writer

filthy ASCII (n.):  When "dirty ASCII" just doesn't convey the whole story.  See also ASS-CII.

ghost (n.):  Witness who no-shows.

"gird your loins":  Edict given to reporters and staff prior to an especially busy day or week.

Google vote (n.):  When you've narrowed down a spelling to two possible solutions, plug them both in Google.  The one that returns the most hits is the winner.

"growin' whiskers":  Said of a transcript that has not gone out long after its due date.  See also crusty.

halsey (n.):  A reporter making such a reprehensible error in a record that it actually comes to the attention of the media, creating a firestorm of bad press for the rest of the reporting world to deal with.

hitter (n.):  Dependable reporter that turns a high volume of work.  Also heavy hitter.

ho (n.):  Reporter that will take any paying job without concern as to how bad a day it's going to be.  See also whore.

il ducé (n.):  Second on-call reporter.  See also deuce.

"in the can":  Expression borrowed from the movie industry meaning finished or completed.

Jerry Springer Show (n.):  Proceedings, usually in family law, where adultery,incest or lesbianism are at issue. When it includes all three, it's the Ricki Lake Show.

meat-eater (n.):  A hard-working reporter.  From the expression "more meat for the meat-eaters," used when a scrag turns down work.

mini (n.):  Condensed transcript, short form of Min-u-Script.  See also squishie, tiny.

motormouth (n.):  Witness prone to giving six-page answers with no clear-cut paragraphing.

mushmouth (n.):  Witness or attorney who can't or won't enunciate clearly.

on deck (adj.):  Next on-call reporter down the list.  I can't go to lunch. I'm on deck.

page hog (n.):  Reporter that turns more pages than their colleagues, for whatever reason.

Pakistani neurologist (n.):  Benchmark used to dispel the rumor that voice recognition is going to soon replace court reporters. When they make a machine that can write a Pakistani neurologist, I'll go pump gas.

pooch (n.):  On-call reporter, corruption of the term "pop-up."  See also poop-up, pop-up.

poop-up (n.):  On-call reporter, corruption of the term "pop-up."  See also pooch, pop-up.

pop-up (n.):  On-call reporter.  See also pooch, poop-up.

printer hog (n.):  The reporter in a freelance office who just queued 400 pages right before your rush job that everyone's calling for.  

"riding the pine":  Same as in baseball, on the bench (on-call reporter).

scopist (n.):  One who edits a transcript for clarity and accuracy, usually leaving only final proofreading before completion.

scrag (n.):  Reporter who can always find some reason not to take a job, then complains when they're not set.

shoot (v.):  To copy.  Shoot two of Exhibits 1 through 5

slammed (adj.):  State of being way behind on editing/proofing and still taking more pages.

slow-boat (v.):  To send by the U.S. mail, not necessarily to China. You want for me to slow-boat these or FedEx them?

spare (n.):  Person without adequate skills to accomplish the task at hand. I can't believe they sent a spare to take that microbiologist.

spray (v.):  The act of "marking your territory," the likelihood that all jobs in a case will be taken by whoever in the office took the first depo.  You can forget about working in that case.  He's already sprayed it.

squishie (n.):  Condensed transcript.  See also mini, tiny.

stenostack (n.):  Tendency of a certain manufacturer's writer to stack multiple steno strokes on top of each other.

tape jockey (n.):  1. An "official reporter" in an ER (electronic reporting) courtroom.  2. A machine writer with lacking skills that is always one lost tape away from a license suspension. 

tiny (n.):  Condensed transcript.  See also mini, squishie.

train wreck (n.):  Any proceeding where everyone is talking over each other at 300 words per minute.

vulture (n.):  Reporter in a freelance office who hovers over the scheduling book during slowdowns, usually in a circular flight path. Also vulch.

Wal-Mart greeter (n.):  Job court reporters aspire to have during slowdowns and/or periods of burnout.  Hell, I can always be a Wal-Mart greeter.
whore (n.):  Reporter that will take any paying job without concern as to how bad a day it's going to be.  See also ho.

"writes as fast backwards as forwards":  Describes reporter who writes very well but has to asterisk-out many misstrokes while doing so.

zibits (n.):  Corruption of "exhibits."

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