Category: Word trends and new words

The Australian English phrase 'dry as a dead dingo’s donger' is used to convey extreme thirst.

Donkey-voters and dead dingo’s donger: a new edition of the Australian National Dictionary

A new edition of the Australian National Dictionary has just been published, updating the one-volume, 814 page 1988 edition, with 10,000 Australian words and meanings illustrated by 60,000 citations, to a two-volume, 1864 page work, with 16,000 Australian words and meanings illustrated by 123,000 citations. Read on to discover what has been added, and why. […]

Read more »
The compound ‘clickbait’ dates back to 1999 and signifies ‘content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to particular web page’.

These words will change the way you think of clickbait forever

It started with assistant professor Laura Seay, who mused in a tweet: ‘Thinking of changing the weekly headings on my syllabi to clickbait. “You won’t believe this one thing Britain & France did to Africa!” Seay continued riffing on the idea, and then it clicked: #ClickbaitSyllabus. Twitter quickly took to her hashtag, clever parodying the […]

Read more »
An introduction to fandom vocabulary

Shipping, headcanons, and OTPs: an introduction to fandom vocabulary

Though fan communities have existed in the forms of zines, email lists, and online archives for years—decades!—it is only recently that the world of fan creations has been exposed to the glaring spotlight of mainstream media attention. If you’re new to the world of fandom, the jargon may flummox you; but Oxford Dictionaries can help! […]

Read more »
Katherine Martin is back at Nine Worlds this year, and she's returned with some interesting new word suggestions.

Geek dictionary corner at Nine Worlds 2016

Nine Worlds is an inclusive multi-genre convention for ‘books, films, TV shows, gaming, comics, cosplay, crafts, sciences, fanfic, and the culture and creativity that underlie them all’. This was the third summer that I have skipped along to join in: here are my dispatches from 2014 and 2015. Besides running an academic panel on foreign […]

Read more »
Words invented for existing concepts to distinguish them from something new are known as retronyms.

What are retronyms, and why do they exist?

One way that language changes is the coinage of terms to describe new versions of existing concepts or inventions, for example the compound electric guitar to differentiate the new invention from the existing type of guitar. However, with electric guitars becoming increasingly widespread, the word guitar no longer unambiguously described one that could be played […]

Read more »
The Brexit referendum in the UK has spawned a number of new portmanteaus.

From TEOTWAWKI to hoyay: words on the radar

Which words are our lexicographers looking carefully at right now? Well, all and any of them, of course – but there are some interesting words which are hovering on the peripheries of dictionary inclusion that we wanted to draw your attention to. Words aren’t included in Oxford Dictionaries until enough evidence of their sustained use […]

Read more »
Opinions are divided on the subject of ‘trigger warnings’—statements cautioning you that what you’re about to read, watch, or listen to might cause emotional or psychological distress.

You have been warned: the debate on trigger warnings

Opinions are divided on the subject of ‘trigger warnings’—statements cautioning you that what you’re about to read, watch, or listen to might cause emotional or psychological distress. For their defenders these alerts show sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable people; for their critics they’re a new form of ‘political correctness’, another sign that, as one […]

Read more »
Lorna Shaddick explores the language of Pokemon Go.

Pokémon Go: a novice learns the language

Until recently, all I knew about Pokémon was this joke, a distant memory from the school playgrounds of my youth: ‘How do you get a thousand Pikachus on a bus?’ ‘You Poke-em-on’. Whenever anyone brought up the topic of the strange Japanese video and card game  – and it wasn’t often – I would just […]

Read more »