1. n. A nutricious food grain, the staple diet of large parts of the world.

2. v. To modify aesthetically an automobile, esp. inappropriately. Rice up, riced out, ricemobile.

As a keen armchair etymologist, it always pleases me to observe the emergence of a new word into the language. I first encountered the expression “rice” (as in “riced up") a few months ago. It was used by an American to describe a Japanese import car that had been extensively customised by the addition of stickers, spoiler, loud/wide exhaust, and so on. In the past few weeks, I have come across it more and more often. Maybe I just hadn’t noticed it before, but I think it’s a new addition to the lexicon.

Comparing it to the existing expression “souped up”, it seems quite clever and apposite. Admittedly, it could be seen as offensive, but I don’t think that that is the intention of most people as they use it. That is, not offensive to Japanese; it’s certainly derogatory to the owners of these vehicles! Besides, it seems to have spread beyond its roots to encompass all those underpowered vehicles with huge tails, inaccurate “powered by” stickers, and hubcaps to imitate alloy wheels. You know the type of car I’m talking about.

Thanks to the power of Google I was able to find a good explanation of the expression.

If you really want a laugh, however, have a look at the (unwittingly amusingly) named LeBra.