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denture venturer

noun [countable]

someone aged 50 or over who temporarily gives up their job in order to travel around the world

'… rising numbers of older people in the population of developed countries, together with the increased health and wealth of this age group, has helped to spawn pre-retirement gap travellers. … an ever increasing number of 50-55 year olds are "SKI-ing" – spending the kids' inheritance – and becoming so-called "Denture Venturers".'

The Scotsman 16th September 2005

If you've had a long working life and those last few years before retirement seem a depressing prospect, then why not join the ranks of the denture venturers?

the days when gap years were restricted to young folk are long gone – enter the denture venturers

The concept of a gap year – taking a year away from work or study in order to travel or work in another part of the world – has been established for some time now, and is almost standard practice among students and young people in the 21st century. However, recent research by consumer analysts suggests that the days when gap years were restricted to young folk are long gone. Enter the denture venturers – older people wanting to give themselves a pre-retirement present – who are rapidly turning the gap year market into a multimillion pound business.

Grown-up gappers who are not on the cusp of retirement, but are 20 or more years younger, are now also referred to as career gappers, 20- and 30-somethings who want to take a career sabbatical, but have the definite intention of returning to professional life. Research suggests that student travellers who are burdened by the prospect of substantial debt are increasingly being outnumbered by denture venturers and career gappers, who, with their greater spending power, can provide a significant boost to both the gap year industry and local economies abroad.

Background – denture venturer

Coined by marketing analysts, denture venturer is a catchy rhyming expression which is humorous due to its light-hearted use of the mildly insulting denture. The word denture simply refers to artificial teeth, but is often associated with jokes about the trappings of old age. Venturer is a formal word for someone who is prepared to take risks.

Another recent coinage in the same context is the countable noun SKI-er. A SKI-er is an older person who spends their savings in order to enjoy their retirement to the full. SKI in the term is an acronym for Spend Kids' Inheritance. As featured in the citation above, SKI-ing also occurs as an uncountable noun to refer to the activity.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 13th March 2006.

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