I have a nagging feeling there’s a word or term for this practice. The example that lead to this question has to do with a food truck. A bar/restaurant in my city has apparently had an actual truck lifted onto their roof deck and they are converting it into a street-food vendor type truck… on the roof.

It seems likely that just building a kitchen would be much easier if the bar wanted to be able to serve food upstairs. So I imagine the current local trendyness of food trucks was a factor leading them to go to the trouble of this out-of-context application of one.

Food trucks as I understand it, arose naturally to fill a particular need (location flexibility, lower operating costs, less stringent regulation making it easier than starting up a restaurant?), and in this case, the truck is completely removed from the needs that created the thing (food trucks) in the first place. It seems to have been applied in this new context for novelty or because they’re now cool among the bar/restaurant’s target demographic.

I grant this is a bit of a fuzzy example but hopefully it demonstrates the idea. The closest word I can think of is “appropriation” but I’m not sure that quite captures it. Is there a term for this?

  • If you like it, it's called "borrowing" or "adapting". If you don't like it, it's called "appropriating" or "stealing". – John Lawler Feb 11 '15 at 19:54
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    The food truck has been elevated far above its humble beginnings. (Particularly in this case. ;-) – Jim Feb 12 '15 at 0:56
  • On a side note, this is an intriguing example of skeuomorphism. The bar could construct their rooftop eatery with any sort of enclosure that the roof would support, but they've chosen to use the image of a food truck for its contemporary appeal, without any remnant of the food truck's primary function. By this process, the truck itself becomes a skeuomorph. – recognizer May 13 '15 at 18:05

This seems to be an instance of recontextualization:


transitive verb

re·con·tex·tu·al·ized, re·con·tex·tu·al·iz·ing, re·con·tex·tu·al·iz·es

To place or view (a work of literature or art, for example) in a new or unfamiliar context, especially in order to suggest a different interpretation.

Related Forms:



The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition


Consider repurposing

to find a new purpose for; adapt to or use for a new purpose


To alter to make more suited for a different purpose. The church was repurposed as a nightclub by lighting changes and removing the pews, but it never opened.


In the example you give, it might be called an ironic repurposing (as might a church being turned into a nightclub).


Deracination has the exact meaning of the question in your title (although I'm a bit unsure about your provided example).

  1. To pull out by the roots; uproot.
  2. To displace from one's native or accustomed environment.
    -The Free Dictionary


to remove or separate from a native environment or culture; especially : to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from
- Merriam-Webster


I've heard this one quite a few times, especially for fake Chinese food in India.



An act that debases or corrupts.

You could also use corruption, though that may have spiritual connotations.

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