53 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary


The Oxford Dictionary Online is a warehouse of over 100,000 words. Despite this large arsenal, we continue to coin, clip, and blend new words into existence, and the Oxford folks pump some of these new words into their dictionaries. Here are some more recent additions with their official definitions.

1. Anthropocene (adj) : Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. (Noun: The Anthropocene.)

2. Anytown (n): A real or fictional place regarded as being typical of a small U.S. town.

3. Autotune (n): A device or facility for tuning something automatically, especially a computer program which enables the correction of an out-of-tune vocal performance.

4. Badassery (n): Behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive.

5. Big Data (n): Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

6. Binge-Watch (v): Watch multiple episodes of (a television program) in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.

7. Buzzworthy (adj): Likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.

8. Bling (n): Expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry.

Platinum rings on shattered glass 
Some platinum rings, or bling

9. Bromance (n): A close but non-sexual relationship between two men.

10. Chillax (v): Calm down and relax.

11. Crunk (adj): Very excited or full of energy.

12. DIY (adj and n): The activity of decorating, building, and making repairs at home by oneself rather than employing a professional.

13. D'oh (ex): Exclamation used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own.

14. Droolworthy (adj): Extremely attractive or desirable.

15. Fatberg (n): A very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.

16. Frankenfood (n): Genetically modified food.

17. Geekfest (n): A gathering of geeks, especially one devoted to technical discussions; a single ongoing activity that is particularly appealing to geeks.

18. Grrrl (n): A young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality.

19. Guyliner (n): Eyeliner that is worn by men.

A young man wearing guyliner
A young man wearing guyliner
iStock.com/Image Source

20. Hater (n): A person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing.

21. Illiterati (n): People who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity.

22. Infomania (n): The compulsive desire to check or accumulate news and information, typically via mobile phone or computer.

23. Jeggings (n): Tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

24. La-la Land (n): A fanciful state or dream world. Also, Los Angeles.

26. Listicle (n): A piece of writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.

27. Locavore (n): A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

A basket of kale
Locally grown kale, perfect for locavores
iStock.com/:alice dias didszoleit

28. Mankini (n): A brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

29. Mansplain (v): (of a man) Explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

30. Microaggression (n): A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.

31. Mini-Me (n): A person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of another.

32. Muffin Top (n): A roll of fat visible above the top of a pair of women’s tight-fitting low-waisted trousers.

33. Muggle (n): A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.

34. Noob (n): A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the internet.

35. Obvs (adv): Obviously.

36. OMG (ex): Used to express surprise, excitement, or disbelief. (Dates back to 1917.)

37. Po-po (n): The police.

38. Purple State (n): A U.S. state where the Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support among voters.

39. Screenager (n): A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the internet.

40. Sexting (n): The sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

41. Textspeak (n): Language regarded as characteristic of text messages, consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, initials, emoticons. (wut hpns win u write lyk dis.)

42. Totes (adv): Totally.

43. Truthiness (n): the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.

44. Twerk (v): Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

45. Twitterati (n): Keen or frequent users of the social networking site Twitter.

46. Unfriend (v): Remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site.

47. Upcycle (v): Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

48. Vlog (n): A personal website or social media account where a person regularly posts short videos.

49. Whatevs (ex, adv): Whatever.

50. Whovian (n): A fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who.

51. Woot (ex): (Especially in electronic communication) Used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph.

Yarn-bombing in Bath, Somerset, UK 
Yarn-bombing in Bath, Somerset, UK 

52. Yarn-Bomb (v): Cover (an object or structure in a public place) with decorative knitted or crocheted material, as a form of street art.

53. YouTuber (n): A person who uploads, produces, or appears in videos on the video-sharing website YouTube.

This piece was updated in 2019.

Why 'Run' Is The Most Complex Word in the English Language


English can be hard for other language speakers to learn. To use just one example, there are at least eight different ways of expressing events in the future, and conditional tenses are another matter entirely. For evidence of the many nuances and inconsistencies of the English tongue, look no further than this tricky poem penned in 1920. (For a sample: “Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!”)

As author Simon Winchester wrote for The New York Times, there’s one English word in particular that’s deceptively simple: run. As a verb, it boasts a record-setting 645 definitions. Peter Gilliver, a lexicographer and associate editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, spent nine months sussing out its many shades of meaning.

“You might think this word simply means ‘to go with quick steps on alternate feet, never having both or (in the case of many animals) all feet on the ground at the same time,’” Winchester writes. “But no such luck: that is merely sense I.1a, and there are miles to go before the reader of this particular entry may sleep.”

This wasn’t always the case, though. When the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1928, the word with the most definitions was set. However, the word put later outpaced it, and run eventually overtook them both as the English language's most complex word. Winchester thinks this evolution is partly due to advancements in technology (for instance, “a train runs on tracks” and “an iPad runs apps”).

He believes the widespread use of run—and its intricate web of meanings—is also a reflection of our times. “It is a feature of our more sort of energetic and frantic times that set and put seem, in a peculiar way, sort of rather stodgy, rather conservative,” Gilliver told NPR in an interview.

So the next time you tell your boss you "want to run an idea" by them, know that you’re unconsciously expressing your enthusiasm—as well as all the other subtleties wrapped up in run that previous words like set failed to capture.

[h/t The New York Times]

Scholar Claims the Voynich Manuscript Is Written in a 'Proto-Romance' Language

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, Wikimedia Commons
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, Wikimedia Commons

Various theories have attributed the Voynich manuscript to cryptographers, aliens, and pranksters. The book, written in an unknown text and dating back to the 15th century, has stumped codebreakers since it was rediscovered by a rare book dealer named Wilfred Voynich in 1912. Now, a scholar from the UK claims that the Voynich code isn't a code at all, but one of the only surviving examples of a proto-romance language, Artnet News reports. If true, it would have huge implications on the study of linguistics as a whole, but experts are hesitant to endorse the findings.

Gerard Cheshire, a research associate at the University of Bristol in England, describes his alleged breakthrough in a study published in the journal Romance Studies. He claims that the Voynich manuscript was written in a fully formed language Europeans spoke centuries ago. Proto-romance laid the foundation for modern languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Hardly any known examples of it survived in writing because it was mainly a spoken language. Most important texts from the time were written in Latin, the official language of royalty, the church, and the government.

After identifying the Voynich script, Cheshire claims it took him just to weeks to translate the text. One passage next to an illustration of women struggling to give children a bath lists adjectives like noisy, slippery, and well-behaved, according to Cheshire. Another section, written beside pictures of volcanoes, describes islands being born out of volcanic eruptions. The scholar believes that Dominican nuns compiled the manuscript as a reference book for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon—Catherine of Aragon's great-aunt.

Many people have claimed to have cracked the Voynich code in the past, and experts are hesitant believe that this time is any different. After academics expressed concerns over the study, Bristol University where Cheshire works released a statement distancing itself from the research. It reads: "We take such concerns very seriously and have therefore removed the story regarding this research from our website to seek further validation and allow further discussions both internally and with the journal concerned."

If Cheshire's research does prove to be valid, that means he's accomplished something the greatest code-breaking minds in modern history could not. Not even cryptographer Alan Turing could crack the cipher.

[h/t Artnet News]