Sunday, August 8, 2010

Oxford English Dictionary Rejects

Non-Words—by definition, these are words that have been submitted to the Oxford English Dictionary and were rejected because, according to the powers that be in charge of the dictionary, too few people currently use them.

A twenty-two year old recent graphic designer graduate claims to have found a secret vault at Oxford containing many filing cabinets crammed with thousands of failed words that had been hidden away, some dating as far back as 1918.

Oxford University Press, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary, denied him access to the vaults. So he did extensive searches of the internet and compiled a list of 39 words that The Oxford English Dictionary had rejected.

Following are fifteen of my favorites from his list.

Accordionated: Being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time.

Asphinxiation: Being sick to death of unanswerable puzzles or riddles.

Blogish: A variety of English that uses a large number of initialisms, frequently used on blogs.

Dunandunate: The overuse of a word or phrase that has recently been added to your own vocabulary.

Griefer: Someone who spends their on-line time harassing others.

Lexpionage: The sleuthing of words and phrases.

Nonversation: A worthless conversation, wherein nothing is explained or otherwise elaborated upon.

Pharming: The practice of creating a dummy website for phishing data.

Pregreening: To creep forward while waiting for a red traffic light to change.

Scrax: The waxy coating that is scratched off an instant lottery ticket.

Sprummer: When summer and springtime can't decide which is to come first, usually hot one day then cold the next.

Stealth-geek: Someone who hides their nerdy interests while maintaining a normal outward appearance.

Wurfing: The act of surfing the internet while at work.

Wikism: A piece of information that claims to be true but is wildly inaccurate.

And finally…

Xenolexica: A grave confusion when faced with unusual words.

I ran this through spell check before posting it to my blog. As expected, spell check did not recognize any of the non-words. I was amused and surprised that spell check did recognize the word phishing.  :)

Who knows, maybe someday The Oxford English Dictionary will include some of these words.


Penny Rader said...

You always have the most interesting trivia on your blog. I must confess that I am a pregreener, but am not accordionated. Heck, I can't fold a map even when I'm not driving. ;D

I do like nonversation. Seems like that one would apply to men. :D And lexpionage sounds super cool. They could make movies or tv shows about that career. Might be right up Nic Cage's alley. :D

Joyce Henderson said...

I see Penny R has singled out nonversation, as am I. However, I don't think that applies strictly to men. Can't tell you how many conversations I've participated in or listened to on TV and asked at the end, What did they say? LOL

Samantha Gentry said...

Hi, Penny. Nice to see you here. That's an interesting idea. "Nicolas Cage, Lexpionage agent at large." :)

Samantha Gentry said...

Joyce: Nonversation was one of my favorites of that list. And Sprummer ... that's what we had last spring. It couldn't make up its mind about what season it wanted to be.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Interesting. I wonder what the magic number is. How many people have to use words and for how long in order for them to be put in the dictionary. -laura h.

Samantha Gentry said...

Laura H: That's a good question. The article I read didn't say. It sounded like a select and small panel that made the decisions. I think "new" words make it into Webster's quicker than into the Oxford English Dictionary...but that's just my opinion and certainly not anything official.