Dictionary corner at Nine Worlds 2017
Please note: this blog post discusses language that some readers may find offensive.
Setting up a dictionary corner at the Nine Worlds Geekfest, to collect new word suggestions and report on the progress of those suggested the previous year, has become an institution, and I was delighted to be there once more in 2017 (previous visits: 2016, 2015, and 2014).
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’, which makes it very fertile territory for new words to germinate and flourish.
I felt particularly pleased to be able to report that Mary Sue, one of the suggestions from my first dictionary corner three years before, had made it all the way into the Oxford English Dictionary. Ansible and waybread (from the work of Ursula K. LeGuin and J.R.R. Tolkien respectively) had also been added, and significant revisions had been made to Dalek.
Among last year’s suggestions were many gaming words; NPC, DM, and tabletop gaming now appear online in the Oxford Dictionary of English. Gender politics was also strongly represented, and relevant recent additions in that area include MRA-related words (cuckservative, manosphere, red pill) and Latinx. Two-word phrases came up a lot, and signal boost and imposter syndrome have now taken their place.
This year, my Nine Worlds discussions took in DoggoLingo, the very productive bro- prefix (as in brogrammer), and whether Milkshake Duck would ever make it. The 2017 suggestions I have brought back are an intriguing mix. From the online world, there are acronyms such as the semantically-related terms LTB (as seen on Mumsnet) and DTMFA, and the term sealioning.
More language comes from gender and race politics (wypipo, incel, wifework, and emotional labour), with a strong showing this year for the language around polyamory (metamour, which means a partner’s other partner, and polycule, which is a molecular metaphor for how people within a polyamorous relationship are connected to one another).
As always, some of this year’s suggestions are actually already in our dictionaries (muggle, SJW, manspreading, TIL), but all the others will be put forward for editorial consideration, and I look forward to finding which ones make it over the hurdle for inclusion. Fingers crossed for that sealion.