44 New Words

The Oxford English Dictionary is supposed to be the pinnacle of the English language. It is hallowed, beyond reproach, the pinnacle of dictionaries for all the world to see, with all the words that deserve to be part of it allowed within its covers and with none of the words that don’t deserve to be called English. By adding a new word, the OED can legitimize that word, and as SpiderMan taught us all, with great power comes great responsibility.

Yet the OED has let us down. Apols (yes, apologies was just too long) for what I’m about to show you.

You unlike our new batch of words. The Oxford Dictionary isn’t supposed to girl crush on Urban Dictionary. We’re supposed to be a gateway for the future of language, not some linguistic omnishambles for Generation Twerk. When trends like the Internet of things, MOOCs and space tourism crop up, the Oxford Dictionary is supposed to stick with tradition, not bandy about some vapid list of last season’s most fashionable acronyms (FIL? BYOD?), like we’re some A/W catalog previewing next season’s chandelier earrings for click and collect shoppers.

That is now a completely legitimate sentence according to the pages of the OED. Great.

For more amusement and probably disgust, you can read the rest of the article here.

But maybe that’s just the point of a dictionary: to allow not only the young to look up a word from Joyce or Shakespeare that they may not recognize, but to let someone older look up a phrase they hear on the street and see a bit more about how the new generations are living their lives. Who can say? What about you, Scholars? Does twerk belong in a dictionary yet?

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *