Not every word gets to progress from the streets to a dictionary database. Sixty-five words made it to the Oxford Dictionaries Online database quite recently. Just a decade ago it would probably be quite a shock to have words such as “BYOD,” “vom,” “jorst,” “emoji,” “srsly”, and “phablet” in any dictionary. But they’re all part of the new additions to this quarter’s Oxford Dictionary online update, along with “twerk,” “squee,” “omnishambles,” “buzzworthy,” and the all too familiar, “selfie.”
Here’s to help you catch up a bit with paraphrased definitions of the possibly unfamiliar English words we enumerated above.
Buzzworthy: worthy of attention
BYOD: bring your own device
Emoji: emoticons or pictographs (from the Japanese)
Jorts: an item of clothing that is a combination of jeans and shorts
Phablet: a tablet that also functions as a smartphone
Squee: a noise made by an overexcited girl for; a squeal of delight over something cute
Srsly: Internet slang for “seriously?”
Vom: Internet slang used in situations where the word “vomit” is applicable
From either side of the Atlantic
Oxford Dictionary named “Omnishambles” as the word of the year for 2012. It came into being four years ago from the writers of “The Thick of It,” a British satire. The word pertains to a situation that is shambolic every which way you look at it. What’s shambolic? That’s Brit slang for chaotic, mismanaged.
“Twerk” is a loan word from American hip hop culture and it’s been in common use for two decades now. For those who have somehow missed the recent online discussions on its connotation, better consult the dictionary. The meaning is all there.
What qualifies a word for dictionary status? For one, it should have a certain volume of usage. Dictionaries are designed to present words in current usage. Evidently, these two words were on the radar enough to be considered on the watch list. They were eventually added by Oxford Dictionaries Online.
Many of the 65 words added on the online dictionary’s quarter update have got something to do with Internet usage. First on the list is “selfie.” The definition of the word is “self-portrait that is typically taken using a smartphone.” Selfies are not however limited to pouty photos of men and women taken from arms’ length on their latest mobile. Any photo of a person using any type of camera is called a selfie. Selfies may not be photos of faces. The less typical selfies are photos of the amateur (or professional) photographer’s feet, hands, other accessible body parts, even shadow on beach sand or whatever available surface.
“Digital detox” is another Internet related word. The definition is “time that is spent away from Twitter and Facebook.” These days, many people choose to spend their “me time” to “click and collect.” If you don’t have a clue, then the dictionary will tell you that the sentence also reads, “These days, many people choose to spend time they have for themselves to shop and make their purchases and reservations online.”
It remains to be seen what new words will gain enough usage frequency and momentum to be included in upcoming dictionary updates. “FOMO?” You won’t miss out on anything if you don’t overdo your occasional digital detox.
*FOMO: fear of missing out