Geek Dictionary Corner at Nine Worlds 2018
Nine Worlds is ‘a big festival for all kinds of geeky interests including gaming, books, comics, cosplay, crafting, academia, creative writing, fanworks, identity and culture, LARP, movies, and tech’. It takes place in London during August, and Geek Dictionary Corner has truly become part of the furniture: this was its fifth consecutive year.
The idea, as ever, was that attendees could come along and suggest words which aren’t yet in the dictionary – maybe something they’d just heard in a panel, maybe something they’d been using for ages in their own fandom or favourite activity – and they are taken back for editorial consideration.
I also run a round-up session on the final day of the fest, reporting back on the progress of the previous years’ suggestions, finalizing this year’s crop, and discussing relevant recent additions and revisions and words on our radar.
This year I was joined by a fellow Oxford English Dictionary editor who spoke in more detail about work this year on the language around gender identity and sexuality. Other relevant OED additions included Bechdel test, impostor syndrome (a 2016 suggestion) and frog (in the knitting sense, suggested in 2014).
Meanwhile, Oxford’s free online dictionary of English has added stimming, ace, broflake, and many more. Words under discussion for the future included wasteman, (metaphorical) vibranium, jobbymoon and the ‘sad trombone’ interjection (variously spelt womp womp or wah wah – as a pronunciation specialist I’m especially fond of this one because of the partly transatlantic variation in how nasalization and vowels are represented orthographically).
Here is a selection of this year’s suggestions:
Some of these have been suggested before (enby, head canon, and metamour), and others are actually already in our dictionaries (MacGuffin, retcon, microaggression, gubbins, resting bitch face, Brony, and grimdark). Some tie up with the OED’s 90th birthday campaigns to find #HobbyWords (e.g. long rods and pile, from archery) and #WordsWhereYouAre (mortaled and bleezin, both meaning drunk). Among the other new suggestions, we can see some compound insult words (edgelord and cockwomble), some connected to trans rights (cis fragility, transmisia), and others that have emerged from social media usage (latergram, big mood, chef’s kiss). As with all new words suggestions, these will be evaluated with our other sources of evidence and considered in line with our criteria for inclusion in our dictionaries.
Header image: Nine Worlds 2018 attendees at Geek Dictionary Corner