The world’s greatest (this may be a biased opinion) dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, just added some new words and I could not be happier. The UWM English Department taught us to love and respect the OED. When we were supposed to find the origins of words, we did not go just anywhere… we checked the OED. I thought it was sad that my subscription ended when I was no longer in school, but I found ways around that.
The OED (and any dictionary, really) is always adding new words and often no one (but weird English majors) bothers to pay attention. This time, people are paying attention. The Huffington Post had a great article about the new words being added and even more interesting are the comments on the article.
People HATE new words and they hate their inclusion into the dictionary even more. I will always find that amusing because people use new/slang/improper words every day but they still maintain that these “fads” are ruining the English language. If it weren’t for fads, we would all be speaking Old English.
One of the best complaint comments was about how someone in the future will look back on our society and see that we included “sexting” in the dictionary and they will have a “WTF” reaction. If you don’t see how that’s ironic, I’m not sure there’s hope for you. Also recently included in the OED are internet acronyms like “LOL” and “OMG.” I love English.
Three (of the 400) new words added to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (which I use all the time because it’s amazing):
verb: (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user)
noun: the sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone
noun: the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
According to The Telegraph, “the new words were selected after being entered into a database of 2 billion words drawn from contemporary websites and texts to prove their ubiquity”.
The dictionary’s editor Angus Stevenson told Channel 4 News that “new words often reflect the era in which they were added to the dictionary,” and commented on the impact that social media and the Internet have had on language.
It’s worth noting that the term “retweet” was not widely used until 2008 (two years after Twitter was founded), when users began prepending their messages with “RT @username”. Now with more than 175 million users, Twitter terminology has become common language, and the Oxford University Press undoubtedly agrees.
THIS JUST IN: OED *removes* words to make room for new ones! I love it. Discuss.