Tag: word trends

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The word Latinx is being considered for a future Oxford Dictionaries update.

Latinx and Mx: the X factor

X. It marks the spot. It means ten, or a kiss. It stands for an unknown or variable quantity, or a mysterious person. It crosses out something we don’t want, or, as on a ballot, it indicates something that we do. X is used to denote a generation, an adult rating, a special talent, a […]

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The usage of ‘thing’ to mean ‘generally known phenomenon’ has become remarkably popular in recent years.

When did ‘thing’ become a thing?

In May 2014, this blog briefly noted the rise of a new usage of the word thing to mean ‘generally known phenomenon’. This usage has been remarkably popular in recent years. Comedians, always alert to niceties of language, have called attention to the word’s new connotation. Recently, John Oliver introduced a new segment, titled ‘How […]

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dumpster fire

Out of the hot mess and into the dumpster fire?

If there’s one thing that can be said for the times we live in, it’s that it has been an unusually fruitful era when it comes to words to refer to a catastrophe. The first decade of the twenty-first century brought phrases like epic fail and hot mess to prominence, and now here in the […]

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