Oxford Dictionaries update May 2014
The latest quarterly update to Oxford Dictionaries sees a wide range of words, definitions, and senses added to the dictionary. The words originate in spheres as different as cycling (bikeable) and finance (cryptocurrency), from food (white pizza) to online slang (a very new type of ship).
Here is a selection of some of the new words and senses from this quarter’s update:
I will go down with this ship
The world of slang, and particularly internet slang, continues to be a fruitful area for new words and senses. One of the more versatile to have entered Oxford Dictionaries Online this quarter is the noun and verb ship.
Ship was originally an abbreviation of relationship, and refers to a romantic relationship between two characters in a fictional series – often one that is supported by fans rather than depicted in the series itself. You might find these relationships portrayed in fan fiction or online discussion; those who have a particular interest in a particular ship are known as shippers, which is another word entering Oxford Dictionaries Online in this update. Support for one of these relationships is described with the verb ship – for example, ‘I will always ship Sherlock and Molly’.
It’s not the only abbreviation getting an entry in its own right. Perf has now entered the dictionary, as another way of saying performance. Meanwhile one word has had an interesting journey from graphic symbol to verbalized word to printed word: slash. Often said in place of a forward slash (/) when verbalizing expressions like ‘actor/dancer’, the word is now frequently substituted (‘actor-slash-dancer’) to link words denoting a dual function or nature.
Thing is far from a new word, but a new sense has developed over recent years. Describing something as a thing is now used informally to indicate that something is an established or genuine phenomenon or practice – often registering surprise or incredulity. For example: ‘he looks like he’s wearing boxers underneath his trunks (is that a thing?).’
I want to ride my bicycle
Several words from the world of cycling are included in the May update. The adjective bikeable is used to describe an environment which is suitable or safe for cyclists – whether that be a city centre which has cycle lanes or a terrain which won’t endanger life and limb.
The other cycling-related words which have entered Oxford Dictionaries online refer to various types of long-distance cycling events. Sportive (an abbreviation of cyclosportive) is a long-distance road cycling event in which a large number of cyclists ride a marked route, and is also known as a gran fondo – a term, from Italian, which is also included in this update.
Audax has also been added; like the sportive, this is a long-distance road cycling event, but participants must negotiate the route within a specified period without exceeding a specified speed. The word derives from the same root as audacious, perhaps as an indication that the participating cyclists are bold and daring.
Busy, I feel busy
If you ever get the feeling that your life is increasingly busy, we’ve added a few words which might come in handy. Time suck is an informal term, most common in the USA, used to describe an inefficient or unproductive activity or a waste of time. That is, something which seems (figuratively) to suck up time: ‘The Internet can be a colossal time suck.’
While crazy was already in our dictionaries, unsurprisingly, we have now added another part of speech. You might well have heard somebody describe themselves as ‘crazy busy’, and it is this use: crazy as a submodifier (an adverb used in front of an adjective or another adverb to modify its meaning). In this case, it simply intensifies the adjective – suggesting extreme busyness.
Less flippantly, the term zero-hours has been in the British news recently, and has entered Oxford Dictionaries Online. This adjective denotes an employment contract that doesn’t guarantee regular work for the employee, but rather offers pay only for the hours they work.
Food, glorious food
Foodstuffs often make an appearance in our updates, so it feels appropriate to end with a couple: white pizza (pizza made without tomato sauce) and omakase (a meal consisting of dishes selected by a chef in a Japanese restaurant).
We’ll finish with a word which might come in handy more often – the adjective snacky which, along with the comparative snackier and the superlative snackiest, has just been added to Oxford Dictionaries Online. It can be used for both the food suitable for eating between meals and to mean slightly hungry. So if reading this article has made you snacky, go ahead and get something snacky.
These words have entered Oxford Dictionaries Online. Find out more about the differences between Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Oxford English Dictionary.
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