OxfordDictionaries.com August 2013 new words update

28 August 2013, Oxford, UK

Today Oxford University Press announces the latest quarterly update to OxfordDictionaries.com Online (ODO). If buzzworthy vocabulary makes you squee, set aside some me time to explore the latest words which have made their way into common usage.

Picture this. You’ve just uploaded a selfie to your favourite social media website using your phablet when your FIL (that’s your father-in-law) shares a supercut of a srsly mortifying twerking session. You immediately unlike his page because there isn’t an emoji capable of expressing your desire to vom: apols, but it’s time for a digital detox. Research by the Oxford Dictionaries team shows that these terms have been absorbed by popular culture, hence their inclusion in the latest ODO update.

Technology remains a catalyst for emerging words and is reflected in new entries including MOOC (‘massive open online course’: a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people); bitcoin (a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank), and the compound Internet of things (a development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity). Other technology-related words added in this update include click and collect, BYOD (‘bring your own device’), and hackerspace.

The linguistic influence of the world of gastronomy can be seen in a number of this quarter’s new entries, from cake pops and blondies to street food and guac; it might be wise to wash that down with a pear cider or a michelada before you show signs of a food baby.

Several fashion terms also make their Oxford dictionary debut this season: the abbreviations S/S and A/W can now be found on oxforddictionaries.com, alongside entries for balayage, chandelier earrings, double denim, fauxhawk, flatform, geek chic, jorts, and pixie cut.

Angus Stevenson of Oxford Dictionaries Online said: “New words, senses, and phrases are added to Oxford Dictionaries Online when we have gathered enough independent evidence from a range of sources to be confident that they have widespread currency in English. Publishing online allows us to make the results of our research available more quickly than ever before. Each month, we add about 150 million words to our corpus database of English usage examples collected from sources around the world. We use this database to track and verify new and emerging words and senses on a daily basis. On average, we add approximately 1,000 new entries to Oxford Dictionaries Online every year, and this quarter’s update highlights some fascinating developments in the English language. Portmanteau words, or blends of words, such as phablet and jorts, remain popular, as do abbreviations, seen in new entries such as srsly and apols.”

The Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year 2012, omnishambles, is also among the new entries. Originally used in the British political comedy television series The Thick of It, omnishambles gained momentum throughout 2012 as a word used to describe a comprehensively mismanaged situation, characterized by a shambolic string of blunders.

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A selection of new words added to Oxford Dictionaries Online

• apols, pl. n. (informal): apologies.

• A/W, abbrev.: autumn/winter (denoting or relating to fashion designed for the autumn and winter seasons of a particular year). (See also S/S)

• babymoon, n. (informal): a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born; a period of time following the birth of a baby during which the new parents can focus on establishing a bond with their child.

• balayage, n.: a technique for highlighting hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect.

• bitcoin, n.: a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.

• blondie, n.: a small square of dense, pale-coloured cake, typically of a butterscotch or vanilla flavour.

• buzzworthy, adj. (informal): likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.

• BYOD, n.: abbreviation of ‘bring your own device’: the practice of allowing the employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes.

• cake pop, n.: 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.

• chandelier earring, n.: a long, elaborate dangling earring, typically consisting of various tiers of gemstones, crystals, beads, etc.

• click and collect, n.: a shopping facility whereby a customer can buy or order goods from a store’s website and collect them from a local branch.

• dappy, adj. (informal): silly, disorganized, or lacking concentration.

• derp, exclam. & n. (informal): (used as a substitute for) speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action.

• digital detox, n.: a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.

• double denim, n.: 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.

• emoji, n: a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.

• fauxhawk, n: a hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to the back of the head stands erect, intended to resemble a Mohican haircut (in which the sides of the head are shaved).

• FIL, n.: a person’s father-in-law (see also MIL, BIL, SIL).

• flatform, n.: a flat shoe with a high, thick sole.

• FOMO, n.: fear of missing out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.

• food baby, n.: a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy.

geek chic, n.: the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable.

• girl crush, n. (informal): an intense and typically non-sexual liking or admiration felt by one woman or girl for another.

• grats, pl. n. (informal): congratulations. • guac, n.: guacamole.

• hackerspace, n.: a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

• Internet of things, n.: a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.

• jorts, pl. n.: denim shorts.

• LDR, n.: a long-distance relationship. • me time, n. (informal): time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.

• MOOC, n.: a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.

•omnishambles, n. (informal): a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

• pear cider, n.: an alcoholic drink made from the fermented juice of pears.

• phablet, n.: a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

• pixie cut, n.: a woman’s short hairstyle in which the hair is cropped in layers, typically so as to create a slightly tousled effect.

• selfie, n. (informal): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

• space tourism, n.: the practice of travelling into space for recreational purposes.

• squee, exclam. & v. & n. (informal): (used to express) great delight or excitement.

• srsly, adv. (informal): short for ‘seriously’.

• street food, n.: prepared or cooked food sold by vendors in a street or other public location for immediate consumption.

• TL;DR, abbrev.: ‘too long didn’t read’: used as a dismissive response to a lengthy online post, or to introduce a summary of a lengthy post.

• twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

• unlike, v.: withdraw one’s liking or approval of (a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked).

• vom, v. & n. (informal): (be) sick; vomit.


Notes for Editors

Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) is Oxford University Press’s innovative free dictionary and language reference service. Key features of the site include a comprehensive current English dictionary and up-to-date bilingual dictionaries in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.  The site is updated quarterly with some or all of the following: new words and senses, special features on language change, revised encyclopedic entries, and improved functionality.

Free on Oxford Dictionaries Online:

  • Comprehensive current English dictionary with British/World English or US English options
  • Up-to-date bilingual dictionaries in French, German, Italian, and Spanish
  • English grammar and usage tips, spelling guidance, and punctuation advice
  • Practical advice on everyday writing tasks
  • Puzzles and games
  • Word of the Day
  • OxfordWords blog, featuring articles about words, language, and dictionaries, plus interactive features, games, competitions, and more…
  • Further FAQs regarding ODO.

What’s the difference between ODO and the OED?

It is important to note that the new words mentioned above have been added to Oxford Dictionaries Online, not the Oxford English Dictionary. Why is this?

• The dictionary content in ODO focuses on current English and includes modern meanings and uses of words

• The OED, on the other hand, is a historical dictionary and it forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day, including many obsolete and historical terms. Words are never removed from the OED.

More on the differences between ODO and OED

More on how a new word enters an Oxford dictionary