October 27, 2016 9:24 am
As we mentioned some time ago, language is alive and evolving, especially when it comes to English. As a global language, English is evolving notoriously fast as well as being adapted to the needs of the changing world in this era. New words –neologisms– come from every domain and aspect of life, and here relies the importance of tracking them. Language and academic institutions, scholars, translators, terminologists are constantly keeping up with them, and it is not difficult to find good resources plenty of useful information and fresh words.
The About Words blog is a very good resource that collects words and expressions which have just started to be used among English speakers and may be added to the Cambridge English Dictionary. Another helpful source are the recent updates to the Oxford English Dictionary, which are updated four times a year and include entries coming from many different backgrounds. But what draws the attention is the increasing number of colloquial, humorous or Internet words that are being added. As an example of these latter, some new OED entries are Oompa Loompa, YOLO (‘You Only Live Once‘), fro-yo, freemium and selfie, among a never-ending list.
Focusing on the important role that the Internet has played in everyone’s life, we find that there are many curious and useful words that do not appear in dictionaries -not yet, at least- and are usually the result of combining words in a clever and practical way (such as the widely used brunch, Oxbridge, sitcom and email). This phenomenon has a proper name: portmanteau words, which is a linguistic blend that occurs when the sounds, spellings and meanings of two words are combined to create a new one.
Having said that, a large part of the above-mentioned words come from the Urban Dictionary, which is a comprehensive dictionary of modern slang; and after all, a key factor in the evolution of a language are the daily used words among the community of speakers. So here we present a list with 10 examples of the most particular, handy, clever and funny words that may be good to know:
(n) A controversial process of extracting otherwise-secret information from a friend or co-worker by getting them drunk.
(n) The art of piling clothes on a chair to be used in place of a closet or dresser.
(n) An individual who talks on his or her cell phone even when doing so is rude or inconsiderate of other people.
(n) The moment when you get to where you were intending to go, you forget why you were going there in the first place.
(n) Someone who repeatedly makes mistakes or is always wrong.
(v) The time when a person ignores their friends in favour of a boyfriend/girlfriend.
(n) The cocoon of blankets, pillows and comfortable things you gather around yourself to keep warm whilst spending long amounts of time on the internet.
(n) A completely worthless conversation, wherein nothing is illuminated, explained or otherwise elaborated upon.
(n) The anticipation one feels when waiting for a response to a text message.
(adj) Lacking physical or mental keyboard coordination; unable to type without repeatedly making mistakes.
For sure, there are much more words than just these 10, so if you have any other ideas you would like to share with us please feel free to let us know. It will be a pleasure!
Written by Ana Jiménez Morente
Content Editor. Communication Trainee, DG TRAD – Terminology Coordination Unit
- About Words – Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog. 2016. About Words – Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog – Commenting on developments in the English language. [ONLINE] Available at: https://dictionaryblog.cambridge.org/. [Accessed 25 October 2016].
- Bored Panda. 2016. 24+ Brilliant New Words We Should Add To A Dictionary | Bored Panda. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.boredpanda.com/modern-word-combinations-urban-dictionary/. [Accessed 25 October 2016].
- New words in English with their meaning | Learn English Today. 2016. New words in English with their meaning | Learn English Today. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.learn-english-today.com/new-words/new-words-in-english.html. [Accessed 25 October 2016].
- Oxford Dictionaries | English. 2016. Oxford Dictionaries – Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/. [Accessed 25 October 2016].
- Oxford English Dictionary. 2016. Recent updates to the OED | Oxford English Dictionary. [ONLINE] Available at: http://public.oed.com/the-oed-today/recent-updates-to-the-oed/. [Accessed 25 October 2016].
- TranslateMedia. 2016. Portmanteau & Compound Words: Ways to Plug Gaps in a Language. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.translatemedia.com/translation-blog/portmanteau-compound-words-ways-plug-gaps-language/#.WAZbcGhKZOM.twitter. [Accessed 26 October 2016].
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