NUCLEAR OPTION In an unsubtle effort to shut up the Democrats, Republicans threatened to enact this Senate rule change that would prevent filibustering of President Bush's judicial nominees.
JUMP THE COUCH Tom Cruise gave rise to this phrase, denoting the point at which people seem to lose their marbles, when he hopped on Oprah's sofa to declare his love for Katie Holmes.
CYBER MONDAY The day after Thanksgiving weekend, when Americans, having scoured the malls in search of Christmas-gift ideas, return to work and start making their holiday purchases online.
PODCASTS Audio and video downloads that broadcasters are cranking out in an effort to remain relevant to young, hip and always-on-the-go iPodsters.
DOUBLE SUPERSECRET BACKGROUND Animal House--inspired description a TIME reporter used in an internal e-mail a federal court forced the magazine to hand over to government investigators--revealing an unnamed source to be White House aide Karl Rove.
PERSISTENT VEGETATIVE STATE Medical term that helped fuel the living-will industry as the battle over removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube shifted from family feud to political football.
TRANS FAT Junk-food makers are scrambling to banish this bad-cholesterol-boosting ingredient that makes so many sinful foods taste so darn good.
BRANGELINA Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, preternaturally good-looking--and do-gooder--celebrity couple.
BLACK SITES Places you don't want to get dragged into. The CIA has allegedly stashed terrorist suspects in these covert prisons in some eight countries since Sept. 11.