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14 SEP 2012

Totes Amazeballs

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86 new words have been added to the Collins online dictionary this week, with new entries including “bridezilla” – “a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as intolerable”, and “frenemy” – “a supposed friend who behaves in a treacherous manner”.

I love new words and the story behind their existence and so have been intrigued to see what’s been added to this list. There were a few that I thought would have already been included and some that I’d never heard of. One of these being “photobomb” – “to intrude into the background of a photograph without the subject’s knowledge” which made me laugh.

Other additions that made me smile included “floordrobe” – “a pile of clothes left on the floor of a room” – a word which immediately makes me think of my partner, and “hangry” – “irritable as a result of feeling hungry” – a word that he would probably apply to me!

It can take a while for new words to enter print dictionaries; the word needs to still be in circulation  a couple of years later, needs to have been used by different sources, and needs to have appeared in print – not just heard in conversation. Because of the huge development in technology and the increase in the number of social media platforms and people using them, words can become exposed to a large number of people very quickly, and so become part of our language very quickly as well. Although they might not stick around forever and fade after a while (‘Whazzup’ anyone?) they’re still fun to use and are an interesting reflection of what’s happening at the time and what people are talking about. That’s why I think it’s great to have an online dictionary as well, like the Collins online dictionary, which can reflect current words used, as well as words that have the proven longevity.

Our use of social media and technology is also reflected in the word choices added to the online dictionary, such as “Facebook”, “FaceTime”, “SMS”, “liveblog”, “tweetup” and “webliography”. Some other web based phrases reflect the more negative side of this development however, with “cyberbully”, “cyberstalking” and “bashtag” also being added to the list.

I think it’s great that there are so many new words and phrases out there; it shows how naturally creative and inventive we are.  Although some of the entries make me cringe a bit (“mummy porn” and “bang tidy” being two examples) our conversations would be pretty boring without new additions.

And for all the purists out there who are horrified at some of these suggested entries, what would our language be like without Shakespeare’s 1700 (or thereabouts!) made up words, and I for one think that the world’s a better place now we have JK Rowling’s “muggles” officially in the dictionary.

Fantabuloso!

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