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I am looking for an American English term for a "TV box" as a source of zombification and brain killing. Maybe "boob tube" is the right one? The shorter, the better.

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I'll note that all of the suggested terms -- idiot box, google box, boob tube -- can be considered informal or even slang, but I would by no means call them rude. –  Marthaª Feb 15 '12 at 1:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Idiot box or goggle box.

Both terms have been around since the fifties.

idiot and goggle box

Alternatively, brain rotter is nicely descriptive.

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It's Idiot box. –  Kalamane Nov 22 '11 at 20:10
    
Just curios, where can I get diagrams like yours for other words? –  ezpresso Dec 16 '11 at 19:30
    
From the Google Ngram Viewer. It's a lot of fun but you need to be careful with some of the results due to dodgy metadata. –  Hugo Dec 16 '11 at 21:38

Boob tube is the way to go:

boob tube, noun. Etymology: boob + tube (television); from the notion that television programming is foolish or is viewed by foolish people : TELEVISION ; especially : a television set

Boob tube also enjoys wider currency than idiot box, at least according to this Ngram:

enter image description here

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A boob tube is also a piece of clothing for females, similar to a crop top but usually Lycra or similarly stretch material. –  JBRWilkinson Nov 23 '11 at 0:16
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I usually see those referred to as tube tops. –  Gnawme Nov 23 '11 at 0:28
    
I suspect that a good half of those Google hits are for the clothing. Tube top is what they're called if you're offended by the word boob for breasts. –  slim Feb 15 '12 at 13:11
    
@slim Boob tube is apparently a Briticism for tube top; none of the 50 results for boob tube in COCA refer to clothing. (And I've heard little old church ladies use the term boob tube, so apparently it's not that offensive in that context.) –  Gnawme Feb 15 '12 at 19:56
    
I'm British and I've never heard the alternative term "tube top", nor heard the phrase "boob tube" applied to anything other than the top. –  starsplusplus May 1 at 11:09

I rather like "glass teat", although it's not as popular as the others.

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+1 for the Harlan Ellison reference –  Gnawme Feb 15 '12 at 19:57

The opium of the people? ;)

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... is religion, per the March quote. If you want to subvert that and make it TV, you need to signal it to your readers somehow. –  slim Feb 15 '12 at 2:08
    
@slim ... whence the wink. But I take your point: I should save my more frivolous answers for the comments. –  Pitarou Feb 15 '12 at 12:56
    
Marx not March. Phone typo. Doh. –  slim Feb 15 '12 at 13:10

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