Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Words Added To The Oxford Dictionary Of English

Two weeks ago I blogged about non-words…new words that had been rejected by the prestigious and very picky Oxford English Dictionary. This week I'm talking about words that have been added to the Oxford Dictionary of English, a dictionary based on how the English language is used in everyday life, published by the very same Oxford University Press.

Over the last few years, the internet has been responsible for the addition of many new words. Another source of new words has been the current economic crisis, words such as staycation—a holiday or vacation spent in one's home country.

And the proliferation of social media (itself a new internet term) has produced some unusual words and phrases. Words previously considered as non-words are now properly used in everyday conversations. To say that you plan to defriend someone (remove that person from a list of friends or contact on a social networking site) or arrange a tweetup (organize a meeting via Twitter) are now common terminology.

Here's a sampling of fifteen new entries to the Oxford Dictionary of English.  Several of the words on the complete list of thirty-nine are not new in the U.S. but show how long it has taken for some well-established Americanisms to take root in other parts of the world.  Some have been universally around but are just now making it into the Oxford Dictionary of English as common usage.

Buzzkill: a person or thing that has a depressing or dispiriting effect

Catastrophizing: view or present a situation as considerably worse than it actually is

Cheeseball: lacking taste, style or originality

Chillax: calm down and relax

Chill Pill: an "idea" pill given to someone to calm them down

Cool Hunter: a person whose job it is to make observations or predictions about new styles and trends

Exit Strategy: a preplanned means of extricating one self from a situation

Freemium: a business tactic, especially on the internet, where basic services are provided for free with more advanced (and more desirable) features needing to be paid for

Frenemy: a person you are friendly with despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry

LBD: little black dress

Microblogging: the posting of very short entries on a blog

Overthink: think about something too much or for too long

Steampunk: a genre of science fiction that typically features steam powered machinery emulating far more advanced technology (think Wild Wild West, the old television series and the movie)

The only one of the new words that passed spell check was Chill Pill, but that was only because it was two acceptable separate words, not the new term. Of course, as quickly as these words became common usage is as quickly as they might disappear from our daily life.


alanarose said...

Loved the last entry, but the rest only made me laugh. What has the English language done to itself?

Samantha Gentry said...

Alanarose: It really does make you wonder how anyone ever learns to speak English, especially the American version. It's constantly changing with the times, words becoming obsolete and other newly coined words becoming common usage. Other languages have rules and ours seems to be on a constantly expanding journey.