Words from Nine Worlds – one year on
Oxford Dictionaries are always on the lookout for new language to consider for inclusion. Research is not restricted to printed material, but includes language used online (especially Usenet and Twitter) and by particular groups of speakers with specialist knowledge.
In August 2014, while I was at the Nine Worlds convention, speaking about conlangs and generally enjoying myself, I took the opportunity to set up a dictionary corner so that people could come and talk about all the geek words which they used or had heard but which were not yet in our dictionaries. The contributions – depicted in the word cloud above – reflected all the various track themes of the convention: fanfic, feminism and gender politics, gaming, speculative fiction, and knitting.
Back at Nine Worlds
I was invited back to Nine Worlds 2015 to report back on how all these words had fared and, of course, to harvest a new crop.
A number of the words submitted in August 2014 were coincidentally just on the cusp of publication (catfish, intersectionality, mansplain, fandom), and others were already being researched on the basis of other evidence which the Nine Worlds contributions supported (adorkable, babywearing, particular senses of fridge, frog, and ship).
The rest of the words and senses were put forward for our lexicographers to review. One year on, Mx, meeple, pwn, rage-quit, and kayfabe have been added to OxfordDictionaries.com and Mary Sue – the trope of a flawless overachieving female character, arguably an author avatar, which dates back to Star Trek fanfic from 1974 – is being prepared.
Finding new words
What about the Nine Worlds words gathered this year? Here they are:
Another rich and diverse collection, with particularly strong representation from the areas of gaming (bag of holding, kite, damage soak), media tropes (nut graf, hatereading, ho yay, queerbaiting), and gender politics (rape culture, white feminism, kyriarchy, transmisogyny). Just like last year, a few of the suggestions were actually already in our dictionaries (AFK, bae, inside baseball, misgender, YMMV). Pleasingly, some had already been researched and edited as part of Oxford’s new words monitoring programme and were added to OxfordDictionaries.com just days after Nine Worlds took place. These included genderfluid, cissexism, manic pixie dream girl, mecha, and slut-shaming. All the rest were already, or are now, under editorial consideration. How many of the others might have made it in by next year? Watch this space!