Friday, August 30, 2013

are new words an omnishamble?

Photo: Oxford Dictionary
Ever wonder why the English language is so hard to master? It’s because we keep coming up with new words. Fortunately, we have the OxfordDictionary to keep track. Recently, the tome released a list of new additions which helps legitimize former slang into legitimate slang.

Ever wonder who comes up with this stuff? Whose idea was it to allow my computer to collect “cookies?” When did “spam” become more than luncheon meat? And if “fauxhawk” is now considered a real word, how come my spellcheck doesn’t recognize it? And when did “spell” and “check” become one word? I say the blame falls squarely on Oxford. As for this year’s entries, the dictionary’s website has this to say:
“The [recent]additions may have only just entered the dictionary, but we’ve been watching them for a while now, tracking how and where they are used. Two of the words to make their debut in the dictionary, ‘selfie’ and ‘phablet’ are both featured on our ‘Words on the Radar’ post back in June 2012. At the time, ‘selfie’ featured primarily in social media contexts, but had attracted media attention after Hillary Clinton apparently used the word in a text message to the owner of a Tumblr dedicated to an image of her texting. 
Omnishambles, which is new this quarter, was Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in 2012. At the time of choosing, it wasn’t clear whether or not it would find its way into one of our dictionaries. But it has continued to gain momentum since then, and is now deserving of an entry.”
So…do they take a vote? How does one word make the list and another one doesn’t. Can a word ever be dropped from the list? So many questions.

Other words to make the list this year include:
  • Apols – “British informal for apologies.”
  • Babymoon – “A relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.”
  • BYOD – “The practice of allowing the employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes. (Bring Your Own Device)”
  • Cake Pop – “A small round piece of cake coated with icing or chocolate and fixed on the end of a stick so as to resemble a lollipop.”
  • Double Denim – “a style of dress in which a denim jacket or shirt is worn with a pair of jeans or a denim skirt, often regarded as a breach of fashion etiquette.”
  • Jorts – “Denim shorts.”
  • Omnishambles – “A situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”
  • Phablet – “A smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.”
  • Selfie – “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
  • Squee – “Used to express great delight or excitement.”


To see the full list of new terms and their definitions, click here.

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