As I am bemused by the attempts to use the term ALPHA to apply to rootless, drunken misanthropes, roaming around fucking drunk sluts and supporting themselves with dodgy internet ventures, so am I equally beginning to be amused by the attempts to use the term HACK to denote a superior way of accomplishing things. "Life Hacks" "Travel Hacks" "Hacking Your Job" "Hacking Ukrainian Babes" and so forth.
This usage seems to have originated with Mr. 4-Hour Work Week -- when I was a kid we just called it cheating, but there you go -- I understand that it's supposed in this case to mean something like an easy shortcut to productivity.
But again, did anybody bother to look in the dictionary? Apart from idea of using a computer to gain unauthorized access, and the idea of cutting, chopping or slicing crudely, we have some of the following definitions of it as a verb:
to damage or injure by crude, harsh, or insensitive treatment; mutilate; mangle: The editor hacked the story to bits.
to reduce or cut ruthlessly; trim: The Senate hacked the budget severely before returning it to the House.
More damning, using it as a noun gives us some of the following wonderfully on-the-nose definitions:
a person, as an artist or writer, who exploits, for money, his or her creative ability or training in the production of dull, unimaginative, and trite work; one who produces banal and mediocre work in the hope of gaining commercial success in the arts: As a painter, he was little more than a hack.
a professional who renounces or surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment: a political hack.
an old or worn-out horse; a jade
A few other definitions of interest as verbs:
to make trite or stale by frequent use (as in hackneyed)
to take a poor, awkward or ineffective swing at the ball (especially in tennis)
and of course:
to cough harshly in short, repeated spasms
Just a little semantic thought-of-the-day from ETX. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll get back to my hack writing projects.