I DIG ENGLISH - just a cool blog about English

I hope you enjoy reading this blog
half as much as I enjoy writing it for you.
Because I have a ball.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Digs: MOJO


Today's blog post is dedicated to just one English word: MOJO. It is short and sweet but there is a lot of meaning packed into those four letters.

The meaning of the word is a little bit elusive and a dictionary isn't of much help either:

MOJO: a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

What can we do then? Let's turn to House for some help.


The following bit comes from the episode called Small Sacrifices, in which Taub (the short balding guy) has to deal with some personal drama and seems to crumble under the pressure:

House: [to Taub] Trying to catch your wife cheating?
Taub: Oh… Why would you say that?
House: Missing mojo. Posture's slumped. Expression defeated. Didn't try to back up your theory. And Chase told me. Go. Find your mojo.
What happens here is that Taub has a theory about what the patient could be suffering from but lacks the guts to stand by it, which in turn makes House excited because now he can rub it into Taub's face that he is aware of his marriage problems. Taub is worried that his wife might be cheating on him and that's why his mojo is missing and why he's being a lousy worker.
In this particular case, mojo means “the ability to deliver”, to do your work professionally, effectively and with self-confidence.


Now let's look at some more examples of how the word mojo can be used. This time let's analyse two sentences from the Economist:

1. If America is going to hold on to its technological mojo, it needs all the help it can get.

2. Can America find its entrepreneurial mojo again?

In examples (1) and (2) mojo could be replaced with words such as advantage or edge to show America's position when it comes to technology and business. The first sentence suggests that America's dominance in the technology sector could end soon and the second one says that America used to be a much more friendly place for entrepreneurs and it needs a change.


For an informal definition and usage of mojo, let me refer to Urban Dictionary, which defines it as: self-confidence, sex-appeal, talent, magic, charisma, energy, personal magnetism or charm:

He lost his mojo when she dumped him.
I've got my mojo working tonight.
He ain't got enough mojo to get her.
God help me, I think I've lost my mojo!


Regular people can lose and find their mojo. Rappers' mojo is so active that it may even spill:

Woke up in the room and my mojo was active.
(Kid Cudi)
I caught her looking at my Rollie as my mojo spills.
(Big Sean)
As far as real life goes, here's some instruction.

You experience the power of mojo when:
  • you've got more swagger to your walk;
  • you feel on top of the world;
  • it seems that you float above the ground;
  • everything goes smoothly;
  • you're just happy and nothing can kill your good mood;
  • You want to say: “Excuse my charisma. (Lil Wayne)”.
In order to attract mojo:
  • get a good night's sleep;
  • have breakfast in the morning;
  • dress nicely;
  • don't overuse hair products or cologne (guys);
  • don't overuse foundation (girls),
  • drink coffee, brown pop or whatever puts you in a good mood and gets your body moving;
and voilà. Mojo will find you. ;)
elusive – trudny do zrozumienia
not be of much help – na nic się nie zdać
a quality – cecha
to turn to – zwrócić się do kogoś
an episode – odcinek
a sacrifice – poświęcenie
balding – łysiejący
to deal with – tut. zmagać się
personal drama – problemy osobiste
to crumble under pressure – pękać/ załamywać się pod presją
posture slumped – przygarbiona postawa
expression defeated – wyraz twarzy świadczący o tym, że ktoś się poddał (to defeat – pokonywać)
to lack the guts to – nie mieć odwagi
rub something into somebody's face – komuś coś wypominać
lousy kiepski
deliver – spełniać oczekiwania, wywiązywać się ze swoich obowiązków
to hold on to – utrzymać coś (nie stracić)
entrepreneurial – związany z przedsiębiorczością
be replaced with – być zastąpionym czymś
an advantage/ edge – przewaga
an entrepreneur – przedsiębiorca
usage – użycie
magnetism – magnetyzm
charm – urok
to dump somebody – rzucić, zostawić
to spill – wylewać się
Rollie – Rollex (b. drogi zegarek)
have more swagger to your walk – chodzić bardziej zamaszyście
float – unosić się
smoothly – gładko
mood – nastrój
Excuse my charisma. – Wybacz mi, że jestem taki/taka charyzmatyczny/a.
get a good night's sleep – dobrze się wyspać
to overuse – użyć za dużo
cologne – woda kolońska
foundation – podkład (makijaż)
brown pop – Cola lub Pepsi

Oh and one more thing before I go:
I would like to thank Michał from Flow events (www.flowevents.pl) for making this amazing banner for me. I hope you all like it :).

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