The origin of English words.
I just want to remind all my tweeps to refrain from photobombing me unless you want my ripped OH to set a micropig lose on you during one of your date nights.
It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but how many of you recognized six new additions to the online Oxford Dictionary? After all, language is an evolving art form and 2013 saw some interesting additions to the grand old tome. Usually by the time slang is incorporated into something as old and wise as the dictionary, many of us are already using the words or have heard them in some context. Old and wise as the dictionary? Dictionaries have been around forever, right? Not so fast.
The Oxford English Dictionary really isn’t as ancient and definitive (yes- a pun!!) as you might think. It wasn’t until 1857 that the Philological Society of London got together and started to think about putting together a dictionary of the English Language. After five years of hard work, the authors had reached the word “ant” and realized the project was going to take much longer than the planned ten years. Published in multiple volumes, The Oxford English Dictionary (affectionately known as the “OED”), was finally completed in 1928. If you want to read more about this Herculean task, Simon Winchester’s book, The Professor and The Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the OED is a great read.
Language is all about communication and for us to understand each other in the ever evolving reality of today’s world, we have to keep up with the ways in which science, technology, entertainment, and social media change things. These are the areas that probably contribute most of the new words. Gone are the days when writers like Shakespeare created his own words and Lewis Carroll coined vorpal, chortle, galumph, and burble. But maybe not. New words are added every year and they have to come from somewhere. Maybe you will come up with the next slick phrase for something. In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few of the new entries for 2013.
OED Online Additions:
tweeps- (n.) your followers on Twitter
photobomb-(v.) to ruin a photograph by suddenly appearing in the camera’s field of view
as the photo is taken, usually as a prank or joke
OH- (n.) a person’s wife, husband, or partner (“Other Half”, I suppose)
Micropig- (n.) a very small pig usually kept as a pet (I’ve written a book about micro-
elephants as pets and, I firmly believe with this OED addition, it’s time for the book to
ripped-(adj) muscular body
date night & group hug- also made it in
Merriam Webster Additions:
flexitarian- (n.) someone whose meatless diet occasionally contains meat/fish
sexting- (v.) the sending of explicit messages or photos by cellphone
Other catchy additions: game changer, brain cramp, f-bomb, bucket list, aha moment, man cave, energy drink, cloud computing, craft beer
I’m off to look up cloud computing!