The creators of the Oxford English Dictionary have added 2,000 new
words and phrases, largely inspired by the Interweb (another new addition), the World
Cup and the global economic meltdown. Other words have lost their OED status: Cankles – fat ankles – has been officially de-listed.
A word makes into into the OED once it’s “been around for long enough”, its creators say. The idea is to ensure that off-the-moment buzz words don’t slip into the permanent lexicon.
Oxford welcomes “vuvuzela”, the now all-too-familiar South African horn instrument that made global appearences during the World Cup.
Credit crisis-inspired words include “overleveraged” (taking on etoo much debt), “quantitative easing” (when the central bank introduces new money into the money supply), “toxic debt” (a debt with a high risk of default), ‘staycation”, a holiday spent in your own country, and “bargainous” (costing less than usual).
“Social media”, a new addition, arrives along with offspring “defriend” (removing someone from your list of friends or contacts), “microblogging” (posting very short blog entries) and “tweetup”, an in-person meeting organized via Twitter.
New additions that will interest the journalistically-inclined include:
paywall: an arrangement whereby access is restricted to users who have paid to subscribe to a website
freemium: a business model, especially on the Internet, whereby basic services are provided free of charge while more advanced features must be paid for
catastrophizing: view or present a situation as considerably worse than it actually is
soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people
Other new words include:
Bromance: a close but non-sexual relationship between two men
Buzzkill: a person or thing that has a depressing or dispiriting effect
Cheeseball: lacking taste, style or originality
Chillax: calm down and relax
Frenemy: a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry
Hater: a negative person
Interweb: the internet
Wardrobe malfunction: an instance of a person accidentally exposing an intimate part of their body as result of an article of clothing slipping out of position
Words that were cut include:
Tanorexia: an obsession with getting a tan
Flashpacking: glamorous backpacking
Cankles: thick ankles
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