The phrase “having a water cooler moment” was apparently coined back in the early nineties when a disgraced childrens television personality sparked off a network of chats by the water coolers in many a work place across the country.
A “water cooler moment” can be described in formal terms as a discussion that takes place in the office – usually around the water cooler – which almost always has something to do with celebrity gossip or what was on TV last night. Within a television show or radio program, the phrase has a more specific significance still. It refers to a controversial or exciting segment designed to get people talking about the show the next day. Expect most water cooler moments to begin, “Did you hear about about such and such” or “did you see such and such on television last night..”
These days, such “water cooler moments” can take place virtually anywhere in the workplace- by the photocopier, at the coffee machine, heck, even at our desks should the desire to gossip prove to strong to suppress.
It’s a nice thought that water coolers, though primarily vessels for hydrating individuals, were also long ago selected as the symbolic location for spontaneous workplace chinwagging, a very necessary business I think you’ll agree.