Word Origins: Meet Your New Words

June 27, 2013

Dictionary New WordsThe Oxford English Dictionary is the de facto official record of the English language. Like every living language, English is constantly evolving, with new words seemingly entering the vernacular everyday—most of them slang phrases, computer and Internet terms, or portmanteaus, which are new words combined out two or more existing words.

Whenever the OED is updated, usually each June, editors announce the newest words added to the 800,000 word-plus dictionary. They’re not super-new—they’re generally words that have been around for about 10 years and are still common. This year, OED editors added more than 1,200 new words to the dictionary, and, by extension, officially to English. Here are some notable additions.

Binge drinking: consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time with the intention to get drunk

Crowdsourcing: obtaining services or information by seeking out input from a large group of people, usually via the Internet

Dad Dancing: awkward, uncoordinated dancing to music, as a middle-aged dad would do at a wedding

Epic: in the sense of it meaning something excellent or outstanding

E-Reader: a handheld device used to read digital books

Flash mob: when a large group of people coordinates ahead of time to all meet in a single location to perform a dance, sing a song, or another action…then just as quickly disperse

To have a cow: to become upset or to stress out about something

Mani-pedi: a portmanteau of “manicure” and “pedicure,” it describes the beauty salon treatment of getting both sets of nails done.

Tweet: to post a message of 140 characters or less on the “microblogging” site Twitter.

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