New words! New Words!

Mwaa haaa ha haa! Every year Merriam-Webster releases a list of new words added to their dictionary and this year sees the addition of tweet, social mediacrowdsourcing (the practice of obtaining information from a large group of people who contribute online) and m-commerce (“a business transaction conducted using a mobile electronic device”).

There’s always the tragic inclusion of slang words that have passed their prime and are now banal like cougar and bromance, as if there needs to be a special word for men to be affectionate towards one another. Poor men. That’s really too bad that ‘really good friend’ isn’t good enough.

I love the addition of really new things to the dictionary. It lets me know that we are still inventing and creating and exploring. So the addition of the new sport parkour, which involves rapid and efficient running, climbing, or leaping over environmental obstacles brings a smile to my face.

I also like that helicopter parent (“a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child”),  boomerang child (“a young adult who returns to live at his or her family home especially for financial reasons”) and fist bump have been added, since they seem to be very obvious conditions of our current society apparent in my everyday life.

The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) has included sexting, cyberbullying, woot (used to express enthusiasm in online communication) and retweet to their Concise OED this year. Earlier this year the OED also added LOL and OMG to the non-concise version. To think that OMG is in the OED feels like a kind of blasphemy, but that’s just a lame, stodgy impulse to be fussy and snooty and we must battle through such foolishness.

From the OED’s own list, they have added auto-complete and green fuel, both of which seem very logical additions.

But they’ve added a few that I’m surprised weren’t already included:

babe n. Used to describe an attractive man [1973] and, in the plural,  as a familiar or affectionate form of address for a person of either sex [1918].

brain candy n. Broadly appealing, undemanding entertainment which is not intellectually stimulating. OED already has eye-candy and ear candy. [1968]

to laugh it up at laugh v. Used in imperative (with ironic or sarcastic force) to suggest an impending reversal of fortune: ‘laugh while you can.’ [1971]

use it or lose it at use v. Used as an admonition; dates back, perhaps surprisingly, as far as 1887.

And a few that I’ve never heard of:

cryonaut n. A person who is cryogenically preserved with a view to being revived in the distant future. [1968]

urb n. An urban area, a city. Frequently contrasted with suburb. [1952]

And I’m quite surprised that

gender reassignment n. The process of a person adopting the physical characteristics of the opposite sex by means of medical procedures such as surgery or hormone treatment. [1969]

wasn’t already included. Goes to show how slow society is moving with regards to gender theory. I use the phrase ‘MtoF’ or ‘FtoM’ (meaning male to female or female to male) at least once a month or more. I can’t remember the last time I wrote or said or even thought ‘autocomplete’.

Ah, but leave it to Britain to make me giggle. The Collin’s English Dictionary this year will include mamil (middle aged man in lycra), cuddle class (when two airline passengers buy an additional seat so that they can recline together), and the interesting  Nick Clegg’s phrase alarm clock Britain (workers on moderate incomes whose daily routine involves preparing children for school and going out to work). They also included topical words like Arab Spring, Zumba, “casino banking“, for bankers who risk losing investors’ money to gain maximum profits, and “emberrorist“, meaning an organisation or person who seeks to reveal potentially embarrassing information, often as a political weapon.

This is a great barometer of our society, n’est-ce pas?

From ThingsNerdsLike.com, good post imo: “What New Dictionary Words Tell Us About How Much We Suck” 

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