Neosense and Buzzword: n. A device that is not like the imagined levitation transportation device from the Back to the Future films, but is closer to a Segway without handles, or a self-balancing scooter. Known to be hazardous, in the sense that many people injure themselves while using them, and that they have been known to spontaneously catch on fire.

Etymology: A word formed in English by compounding the word “hover”, meaning to hang suspended in the air, an English word that was first used circa 1400 and not known before then, and the word skateboard, from the words “skate”, meaning to glide or slide along, first used in English in 1775 and originally from Dutch, and the word “board”, a noun meaning a board of wood or other substance, first used in Old English circa 1000, and originally from German. The word “skateboard”, meaning a platform mounted on roller skate wheels on which the rider coasts along, was first used in the United States in 1964, and was created after the word “surfboard”. The word “hoverboard” was first mentioned in the film Back to the Future 2, which came out in 1989. Used today to talk about flashy and expensive new devices that don’t really hover at all, and that rich kids like to post videos of themselves riding on and crashing.

Etymological Information from the Oxford English Dictionary online.

Sociolectal Information: Currently a buzzword used mainly by students, especially those with families that can afford these pricey devices. Due to the fact that hoverboards are known to catch fire, they are considered to be a hazard, and the administration of William and Mary banned the keeping of hoverboards in the dorms at the end of Winter Break, as they became popular to give as Christmas gifts.

Survival Predictions: At this time, hoverboards are not allowed in the dorms, and therefore talked about, but not seen, on campus. This word is predicted to last for a long time, as it has remained in the lexicon for quite some time already; although the current iteration of the device, and the excitement over it, may not last long itself. Some of the buzz over them has died down since their introduction, and interest about the devices has waned given the fact that their safety is not guaranteed. Lastly, these hoverboards are not true hoverboards like the type imagined in Back to the Future, and are a bit of a letdown.

Lexopinions: These hoverboards bring to mind imagines of indulged rich kids playing around on these expensive devices, and then posting videos of them crashing and laughing. They also bring to mind disappointment; these are not the hoverboards of everyone’s dreams. They are, somewhat, a failed product. However, there is still some excitement and hope in the word hoverboard. They are still a technological advancement, and hold the promise of a device that might one day be like the one in Back to the Future. In short, opinions surrounding the word hoverboard can be somewhat contradictory.






  1. While I agree that hoverhoards are certainly hazardous and in some ways a failed product, I still credit them as a technological advancement. The word brings to mind excitement for me, rather than disappointment. When I think of hoverboards, I think of the excitement that they caused as a technical advancement before people began to get hurt using them. In particular, I think of videos such as this one where gymnasts do amazing tricks while on the hoverboard– https://youtu.be/r54FBEYtGAc. Thus, even though hoverboards have their flaws. I think you should still credit the excitement and positivity behind the idea, rather than solely thinking of them negatively as stated in your lexopinions. Further, I believe this may be companies’ first attempt at the product. I anticipate there being more attempts at hoverboards in the future, building on to the current technology. This idea may be something to add to survival opinions because I do not think this is the last we will see of hoverboards. Rather than thinking of hoverboards as a failed product, I see it as us moving one step closer to the Back to the Future ideal.

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