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Lexical Leavings

by Tom Gally

A word spotted in an article about television shopping in the January issue of 噂の真相:
eliminating the middleman; selling directly to consumers; disintermediation
Many senses for 中抜き appear in dictionaries, though few note this meaning, which is well attested on the Web and at newspaper sites.

"Disintermediation" seems to have been a buzzword in Internet contexts in English four or five years ago. American Heritage, New Oxford American, and Collins English define it only in financial contexts--"Withdrawal of funds from intermediary financial institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations, in order to invest in instruments yielding a higher return" (AH). Like 中抜き, however, "disintermediation" is used to refer to eliminating intermediate dealers in all types of commercial transactions.
(December 27, 2002)