May 10, 2021

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Recent additions to the Oxford English Dictionary

Updated four times a year, the Oxford English Dictionary is the master list of English vocabulary, documenting the evolution of language, from new medical terminology through political jargon and into the realm of slang and internet-speak. 

It might surprise fans of the iconic Star Wars franchise that vocab such as ‘lightsabre’ and ‘Jedi’ was only added as recently as October 2019. Other words have made their appearance much more quickly – take the plethora of terms relating to Covid-19 for example.

Among those added since this January are some rather wonderful words – and also some that may make you facepalm (yes that’s in there too). Here are some of our favourites from 2020 so far:

  • Arr, int. In humorous representations of the speech of pirates: expressing approval, triumph, warning, etc.
  • Beardo, n. A nickname for a person who has a beard. Also: a person of a type regarded as characteristically having a beard; esp. an intellectual, a hippie, a beatnik.
  • Bobeche, n. A disc (usually cupped and made of glass or metal) around the socket of a candlestick, designed to catch dripping wax.
  • Bumfle, n. A wrinkle, pucker, or unattractive bulge in a piece of clothing, fabric, etc.
  • Chicken Licken, n. A person who panics easily, or spreads alarm amongst others.
  • Fankle, n. A tangle. Frequently in extended use: a confused or muddled state; a predicament. Esp. in in (or into) a fankle.
  • Gravitropism, n. Downward or upward growth of the parts of plants in response to the force of gravity; geotropism.
  • Gee-whizzery, n. Surprise, enthusiasm, or excitement (often with the implication of being excessive or naive).
  • Lockdown, n. The set of measures that many countries have taken to contain the spread of the virus by severely limiting the movement of people outside the home.
  • LOL, v. Originally in the language of electronic communications. intransitive. To laugh out loud; to be amused.
  • Man hug, n. A friendly embrace between two men, often accompanied by a handshake, a clap on the back etc.
  • Self-isolate, v. intransitive and transitive (reflexive). To isolate oneself from others deliberately; (now) esp. to undertake self-imposed isolation.
  • Shero, n. A female hero; a heroine.
  • Slobberiness, n. The quality, fact, or condition of being slobbery (in various senses).

The next update will take place again soon and, as self-confessed word nerds, we’ll be keeping our eyes open for the best of them. Until then, happy verbalising!