Linguistics experts in Sydney have released a statement saying that the term “jumped the shark” has officially jumped the shark. While acknowledging the irony of such a moment, and getting a sick satisfaction out of such a neat use of language, the team of experts predicted a steep decline in the term’s use.

The term “jumped the shark” is used to describe someone or something that is getting a bit ahead of itself. A person or situation that is getting more attention and publicity that they or it warrants. Once given the label, the person or thing is often deemed to be past its peak and/or lost its full relevance. The team of experts pointed to the use of the term on breakfast television as a clear indication that the term needed to be shelved permanently, or at least for a prescribed period of time.

Linguistics expert Sam Carrindale said, “there are some very common indicators of a term or trend hitting its peak and then heading back down to being off-trend and/or headed back to obscurity. The main two indicators are being:

  • used by your parents or aunties/uncles
  • spoken about on breakfast television.”

The term itself is actually older than many expect. It originates from the hit 1970s to 1980s TV show Happy Days. In an attempt to maintain its grip on the cultural zeitgeist, an episode of the show featured popular character Fonzie jumping over a shark while water skiing in the ocean. While most viewers accepted that Happy Days was a work of fiction and that Fonzie was pretty much capable of doing anything, many drew the line at his apparent ability to hurdle an apex predator of the sea while hitching a ride on the back of a motor boat.

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