12 New Words Added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013

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With last year edging quickly out of view in 2014's rear view mirror, there's still a pivotal part of 2013 logophiles shouldn't be quick to forget: a bumper crop of new words bolstering the Oxford English Dictionary's lexicon. The OED upped its entry count with three updates last year—here's a snapshot retrospective of the words committed to dictionary immortality in 2013.

1. Au pair (v.)

Au pair, the noun meaning "...a young girl learning the language of a foreign country while rendering certain services in return for hospitality," has been kicking around the OED since first being published in 1933. It took 80 years for the Oxford English Dictionary to recognize the verb form, meaning exactly what it says: "to act as an au pair for (a person or family)." 

2. Braggadocious (adj.)

Characterized by braggadocio; boastful, arrogant. A caution for international readers looking to pepper conversations with the bulky adjective: Oxford Dictionaries Online states that its usage is "informal, chiefly U.S."

3. Clunker (n.)

An old or dilapitated vehicle or machine, especially a car. Also: a large, ungainly or inelegant example of something, also with etymological roots as an informal North American word. Its less literal but equally blunt secondary entry defines a clunker as "an unsuccessful effort; a failure, a 'dud.'"

4. Defriend (v.)

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online's quick definition, it means "another term for 'unfriend.'" (Side note: "unfriend" was the Oxford Word of the Year in 2009. The 2013 honoree, in case you missed it, was "selfie.") The Oxford English Dictionary offers this slightly more detailed definiton instead: "to remove (a person) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking website."

5. Flash mob (n.)

A large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, typically organized by means of the Internet or social media. The addition marks the second appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary for "flash mob." The first entry? A slang historical definition of the phrase as "a group of thieves, confidence tricksters, or other petty criminals, esp. ones who assume respectable or fashionable dress or behaviour; such people considered as a class."

6. Geekery (n.)

The first definition might be a more unexpected one—"the bizarre or grotesque acts performed by a carnival or circus geek, regarded collectively. Also in extended use. Now rare."—but the secondary definition of geekery is more common in 2013 than abnormal circus shows: "Actions or behavior typical of a geek or geeks; spec. obsessive devotion to or knowledge of a particular (specified) subject or pursuit, esp. one regarded as unfashionable or highly technical. Also: the state of being a geek; geekiness."

7. Live blog (n.)

A blog providing commentary on an event while it is taking place, esp. in the form of frequent short updates. Making "live-blogging" a verb requires a hyphen and an object that was live-blogged. Live-blogging joins the dictionary ten years after "blog" first appeared in the March 2003 edition of the OED.

8. Mochaccino (n.)

Capuccino coffee containing chocolate syrup or flavoring; a cup of this. Though the word was a new addition to the Oxford English Dictionary in June of 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries website proves that the portmanteau of "mocha" and "capuccino" is not all that new—the term originated back in the 1980s. It comes iced, too: the word also applies to "a similarly flavoured frozen drink."

9. Mouseover (n.)

The action of moving a pointer on to an element of a graphical user interface or web page; an event (esp. a visual change) triggered by this. Oxford Dictionaries offers a second definition for the word, generally used as a modifier for annoying web-surfing ads: "an image or hyperlink that appears when a cursor is moved over a specific point on a web page."

10. Veepstakes (n.)

The notional competition among politicians to be chosen as a party’s candidate for vice president. Another newly-minted word with historical roots (the mash-up of "veep" and "sweepstakes" first occured in the 1960s), "veepstakes" can be used either as a singular or plural noun. 

11. Whip-smart (adj.)

Neat and trim; impeccably tailored, stylish (and as the Oxford English Dictionary entry denotes, "now somewhat rare.") Or, in its secondary definition, "very quick-witted and intelligent." Like its fellow March entry, "braggadocious," "whip-smart" is also an informal, "chiefly North American" word.

12. Young adult (n., adj.)

As a noun, "young adult" is defined as, well, a young adult. (More specifically, "a person in his or her teens or early twenties; (now esp.) a person in his or her early to mid teens, an adolescent. In pl.: such people collectively, esp. considered as a category of the population as a whole." Adjectively, "young adult" takes on a more genre-defined definition: "Of or relating to a young adult; (now esp.) designating or relating to fiction, films, television programmes, etc., intended or suitable for adolescents in their early to mid teens."

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