new words Next post: Beyond the dictionary: the stories behind some of Oxford’s latest additions

geekfest Previous Post: Finding geeky words at Nine Worlds

Oxford Dictionaries August update

Adorbs new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com – WDYT?

We don’t mean to humblebrag, but the August update to OxfordDictionaries.com is bare good and nailed on to interest and impress you. Throw an air punch or have a bro hug (don’t be cray and throw shade or show us the side-eye); be a baller and join the hyperconnected vocabulary fandom and read on to discover which new words from the worlds of popular culture, technology, the news, and more have been added to OxfordDictionaries.com.

binge-watch

Spit takes and binge watching

Unsurprisingly, popular culture and internet slang have provided yet another slew of new words, from amazeballs to air punch, and FML to YOLO and ICYMI. One such word which now features in OxfordDictionaries.com is SMH, a handy initialism for shaking my head or shake my head for when the word ‘no’ just doesn’t express your disapproval strongly enough. Given its combination of humour and space-saving potential, it has proven popular on social media – not to mention in GIFs. Another of our new words which lends itself well to GIFs is spit take, ‘an act of suddenly spitting out liquid one is drinking in response to something funny or surprising’. It’s likely to have come from the sense of take meaning ‘a scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one time’, and although spit takes don’t only happen onscreen, it’s where the concept became comedic shorthand.

Binge-watch and hate-watch have also been added, and describe two approaches to watching television (that can be combined). Binge watching means watching multiple episodes of a series in rapid succession (and hit a usage peak in February 2014 when the second season of House of Cards was released in one go by Netflix). On the other hand, if you hate-watch a series it’s for the joy of mocking or criticizing something you think is bad. You might even live-tweet the experience, if you’re tech-savvy.

adorbs

Compliments and insults

There are plenty of informal terms in this update which often feature in online conversations, including mansplain, fratty, and neckbeard. Online discussion, so the stereotype goes, often dissolves into controversy and argument. There may be only limited truth to this popular belief, but our latest update certainly includes a number of terms from the world of insults and slanging matches, from hot mess and douchebaggery to throwing shade and side-eye. Thankfully these are offset by the addition of a few compliments as well.

It’s difficult to imagine somebody being both adorbs and hench, but the Internet loves both terms. Hench is a term used mainly in British English and is an adjective (perhaps from henchman) meaning ‘strong, fit, and having well-developed muscles’. While hench is typically used to describe men, adorbs has a wide-ranging application. An alteration of adorable and particularly popular in North America, it can be said of men, women, children, animals, and inanimate objects. If you’re adorbs or hench, you may be tempted to humblebrag, another term new to OxfordDictionaries.com. Humblebrag is ‘an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to a quality, achievement, or possession of which one is proud’, or to make such a statement. The derivation is clear – by combining humble and brag in an oxymoronic way, the contrast between the ostensible modesty and the underlying boastfulness is made evident. For instance: ‘I look dreadful today, so why have so many people bought me drinks?’

brick

Science and technology

As is usually the case, the spheres of science and technology have proved fruitful sources of new vocabulary, including Deep Web, pharmacovigilance, e-cig, sentiment analysis, clickbait, quadcopter, dox, cord cutter, listicle, vape, anti-vax, and vax.

You might be familiar with the noun brick being used of ‘a large and relatively heavy mobile phone, typically an early model with limited functionality’ – but have you come across the associated verb, which means to make your phone completely unable to function? So you might brick a phone by accidentally installing a virus or by dropping it in the bath. An equally grave mistake is to be unaware of a hot mic, which is a microphone that broadcasts a spoken remark that was intended to be private; a famous example was made in 2009 when Barack Obama shared his thoughts on Kanye West. Before the era of social media, this sort of faux pas would not, of course, have been so public. Speaking of social media, the noun subtweet is a post on Twitter that mocks or criticizes someone without directly mentioning them (sub here is an abbreviation of subliminal). For instance, a tweet might refer to ‘a reality show contestant we both know’ without including their handle or name.

Below is a selection of just some of the words going into OxfordDictionaries.com in this quarter’s update. WDYT? Let us know what you think about the new words in the comment section below, or discuss them in the Oxford Dictionaries Community.

acquihire dox neckbeard
amazeballs e-cig olinguito
anti-vax FML pharmacovigilance
baller fratty pogonophobia
air punch hench side boob
bare hexacopter side-eye
bedroom tax hot diggity SMH
binge-watch hot mess spit take
brick hot mic subtweet
bro hug humblebrag trackback
catfish hyperconnected trigger warning
clickbait ICYMI vape
cord cutter in silico vax
cotch listicle WDYT
cray live-tweet YOLO
doncha mansplain zonkey
douchebaggery nailed on

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.