Category: Word trends and new words

minions

WordWatch roundup: minion, Kuiper belt, derecho, and Eid

minion The spike in lookups of the word minion – ‘a follower or underling of a powerful person, especially a servile or unimportant one’ – should surprise no one, given that the film Minions entered theaters a few weeks ago. The pill-shaped film ‘minions’, speaking a gibberish language and about the size of fire hydrants, […]

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Eminem-01-mika

The emergence of the ‘stan’

Introduced to the world by rapper Eminem on 4 December 2000, the character Stan appears in the song of the same name, which tells the story of an obsessive fan that emulates Eminem. Stan writes letters to Eminem begging him for his approval, friendship, and acknowledgement after his love for Eminem distorted his entire reality, and when he receives no response his letters become increasingly hostile until he finds himself so angry

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greek crisis

WordWatch roundup: austerity, SCOTUS, bigot, squib, and grand slam

This week’s WordWatch roundup includes ‘austerity’, ‘SCOTUS’, ‘bigot’, ‘squib’, and ‘grand slam’. The word ‘austerity’ has been a popular lookup due to the recent Greek economic turmoil. This sense of the word refers to ‘difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure’.

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interweb

Capturing the interweb of words: more notes on the OED update

‘Have you heard of this new inter-web thingy?’ one character sarcastically asks of another  in a quotation recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary’s new entry for Interweb. The humorous power of this self-consciously incorrect mashup of a word lies in the fact that for many of us in 2015, the World Wide Web is often […]

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fedora

Adore the fedora: what links an item of men’s headwear and a glamorous fin-de-siècle French actress?

Most sources agree that the fedora, the familiar soft felt hat with a curled brim and a creased crown, sported by heroes and antiheros alike in period TV and film drama—including Indiana Jones and Don Draper of Mad Men —is named after the eponymous heroine of the 1882 play Fédora, by Victorien Sardou, played in […]

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father

WordWatch roundup: terrorism, father, inshallah, and bastard-trench

This series investigates changes in lookups for words and their meanings across OxfordDictionaries.com. The graphs are based on website data collected over a four-week period, and the accompanying commentary explores how news and other current events have influenced these word trends and sudden peaks in interest. terrorism The mass shooting on 17 June at Emanuel A.M.E. […]

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twerk

Freegan, yarn bombing, and the surprisingly long history of twerk: new words in the OED

The online Oxford English Dictionary (OED) launched on 14 March 2000, and since the OED generally does not add neologisms until they have had some time to establish themselves, the newest words in the early updates tended to be terms that had emerged in the 1990s. Fourteen years on, that has begun to change, and […]

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barbecue chicken

WordWatch roundup: barbecue, panjandrum, ovate, and callipygian

This series investigates changes in lookups for words and their meanings across OxfordDictionaries.com. The graphs are based on website data collected over a four-week period, and the accompanying commentary explores how news and other current events have influenced these word trends and sudden peaks in interest. barbecue, noun With the advent of summer (unofficially marked in […]

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