‘Cat café’ and other words added to OxfordDictionaries.com
NBD, but are you ready to fangirl over our dictionary update? Abso-bloody-lutely. We’ve got some awesomesauce new words – no, rly – that will inform and entertain whether you’re hangry or it’s already wine o’clock. Mic drop.
Mic drops, awesomesauce, manspreading, and more
Let’s pick that mic up again and check out some of the words that have been added to OxfordDictionaries.com in the world of informal language. The mic drop in question can be a literal ‘instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive’, but it’s more likely to be figurative – or an exclamation to emphasize a particularly impressive point: Nuff said. Mic drop.
If you want to describe something as excellent, you can use awesomesauce; on the other side of the coin, anything of a poor or disappointing standard is weak sauce. Weak sauce came first, and has a more comprehensible origin as a metaphor; an inadequate sauce would certainly let down an otherwise decent meal. Though awesomesauce clearly comes from the words awesome and sauce, the former is currently beating the latter in the Oxford English Corpus and Oxford Twitter Corpus.
Why say banter (‘playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group’) when you can save a syllable with bants? (Be careful where you use it, though; the term might be recognized in the UK, but is likely to get bemused looks elsewhere.) And, speaking of brevity, the initialism NBD can take the place of no big deal, while rly is handy textspeak for really. SJW stands for social justice warrior, which is also added in this update. It’s ‘a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views’, but the word is used derogatively, usually by those who do not share these views.
You may remember mansplain from last year’s update. It’s now joined by the noun manspreading: ‘the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats’. If you’re a gentleman reading this on the bus … can we suggest you arrange your legs considerately? Rly.
Manic pixie dream girl has been added from the world of film criticism: find out more in our video post.
Mx, Grexit, and other words in the news
Among the additions in the August update, there are those that relate to recent news and events. The blends Brexit (British/Britain + exit) and Grexit (Greek/Greece + exit) were coined in 2012, relating to potential departures of the United Kingdom from the European Union and Greece from the eurozone (those countries which use the euro as their national currency).
The honorific Mx has also been added to OxfordDictionaries.com. It’s used (in the same way as Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms etc.) before a person’s surname or full name as a gender-neutral title. Katherine Martin, Head of US Dictionaries, recently spoke with the New York Times about the rising popularity of the term, which is first found in the late 1970s and has gained significant traction since.
Some fanciful words relating to food and drink are also included in the August update. Beer o’clock and wine o’clock are humorous terms for the (supposedly) appropriate times of day for having your first glass of either drink. You might need to start the meal earlier if you’re feeling hangry: a blend of hungry and angry, meaning ‘bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger’. Anything snackable will come in handy.
English often forms new words using existing suffixes, and the realm of food and drink shows several such innovations. From the –y ending comes cheffy (relating to, or characteristic of, a chef) and melty (melting or partially melted); from the –ery ending, we get cidery (a place where cider is made) and cupcakery (a bakery that specializes in cupcakes). The latter is a venue where you’re unlikely to have the option of cakeage, which is ‘a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake that they have not supplied themselves’, and another word created by the inclusion of a common suffix. The word is modelled on the pattern of corkage, where the same rule applies to wine. And if you can’t bring yourself to have the finest things in life separately, there is now the option of a cat café, where café patrons can eat while surrounded by feline friends.
Edible additions to OxfordDictionaries.com from Australian English include Anzac biscuit, barmaid’s blush (typically red wine mixed with lemonade or beer mixed with raspberry cordial), battered sav (battered saveloy sausage), and lolly cake (a cake containing sweets, known generically as lollies in Australian and New Zealand English).
Gaming and the Internet
Whether you’re a Redditor, a YouTuber, or more used to handling physical meeples (playing pieces in certain board games), this update has terms that’ll come in handy. Some don’t show the finer side of the human character: rage-quit is a verb meaning to ‘angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating’, and is especially used in relation to video games.
One reason you might rage-quit is because you are being pwned: that is, utterly defeated by an opponent. This informal term is used more often in video gaming, and supposedly resulted from a common mistyping of own with this sense, as a result of the proximity of p and o on a computer keyboard. Along with pwn comes pwnage (and ownage), being ‘the action or fact of utterly defeating an opponent or rival’.
A Redditor is a registered user of the website Reddit; the word is formed on the pattern of editor, and the site relies upon user-submitted content, posted in subreddits (forums dedicated to specific topics). Users might well post content that they consider glanceable, shareable, and even snackable – which can refer to online content designed to be read or viewed quickly, as well as to food.
Other additions from the sphere of technology and the Internet include spear phishing (‘the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information’), and blockchain (‘a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly’). Nor are mobile phones left out: butt-dial and pocket-dial have been added, denoting that awkward moment when you dial someone’s number by mistake while your phone is in your pocket.