Category: Word trends and new words

1920s words include 'makeover' and 'it girl'.

20 words from the 1920s

The 1920s wasn’t just a period of decadence and flappers in a post-war haze of happiness. (‘Flapper’, by the way, emerged before the 1920s – lexicographer Allan Metcalf has nominated it as Word of the Year 1915.) While The Great Gatsby drew attention to a world of insouciant pleasure-seeking, the 1920s also saw plenty of […]

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'Food coma' (what this cat is experiencing) was added to OxfordDictionaries.com

‘Food coma’ and other new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com

Our latest quarterly update to Oxford Dictionaries Online has seen a selection of new words, definitions, and senses added to the dictionary. The words originate in a range of spheres from food (branzino, cranachan) and music (beat-match) to astronomy (protoplanet) and, unsurprisingly, technology (lock screen, headcam), and include a variety of different word forms, from […]

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Facebook

What happens when language becomes “Facebook official”?

It’s hard to imagine that just 10 years ago, few of us had even heard of Facebook. What initially started out as a social network for students of Harvard University has grown into one of the most frequented (and valuable) domains in all of the vast space of the Internet. As quickly as the now […]

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felfie

Farmily album: the rise of the felfie

Words are patient things. They need to be: language change is often a slow process, measured, for the most part, in centuries and not months. A new word (a neologism), whether it enters English as a loanword, a borrowing from another language, or whether it is formed within English from pre-existing words and affixes, usually […]

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The word 'flash mob' is older than you might think.

Words that are older than you think, Part 2

Read Part 1 of the series.  Every year words are invented or have surges of popularity – some stand the test of time, and remain in dictionaries of current English – and some quietly retreat into the pages of historical dictionaries. Perhaps it is encouraging, to anybody anxious about the seeming surge of new words which […]

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planets

‘Selfie’: the interplanetary Word of the Year 2013

When we announced the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 as ‘selfie’ earlier this week, we knew the word had international relevance (one of the reasons why we thought it merited the title of Word of the Year), but we didn’t know it had interplanetary reach until we saw this tweet from @MarsCuriosity showing […]

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Great white shark

Word of the Year 2013: blips on our radar

As OUP’s lexicographers go about our quiet work, occasionally a novel word, spied in a newspaper, a post, or a tweet, catches our fancy. “Possible WOTY?!!!” we might email to a colleague, anticipating the year’s end. When we go back through those old emails months later, it is sometimes difficult to remember what inspired such […]

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bitcoin

Language review 2013: from bitcoin to sharknado

Everyone loves a new word. When Oxford announces its Word of the Year, I sometimes detect behind the buzz of expectation a pang of disappointment that the chosen ‘winner’ isn’t a brand new invention. The romantic allure of a mint-new coinage, the inspiration of a single moment in time, is hard to resist. The truth […]

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