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"Bruh" and "Manspreading" Added by Oxford Dictionaries in Latest Update

Linguists can be divided into two camps: prescriptivists and descriptivists. The former believe that there is a “correct” language (i.e. proper English) that should inform all usage. Descriptivists think that language should be defined by how people actually use it. For example, descriptivists are cool with the fact that OxfordDictionaries.com has added the word “awesomesauce” to its free online dictionary, whereas prescriptivists are likely “butthurt” (a word that also made the cut).

OxfordDictionaries.com’s recent quarterly list of new words totals 46 definitions, and they range from the aforementioned “awesomesauce” to “wine o’clock. It should be made crystal clear that while OxfordDictionaries.com and the more formal Oxford English Dictionary are both owned by Oxford University Press, the two publications are totally different. OxfordDictionaries.com is a free online service that describes itself as a “guide to the language of today,” meaning that they’ll gleefully include the likes of “pwnage” to their ranks—and send out a press release heralding the fact that they did so. Meanwhile, “bruh” won’t be so much as sniffing the pages of the OED anytime soon, though that dictionary is getting a little more trigger-happy when it comes to updates (they included “sext” in 2011).

Angus Stevenson of Oxford Dictionaries describes the process of finding worthy words and phrases for their quarterly updates:

“We have gathered enough independent evidence from a wide range of sources to be sure that they have widespread currency in the English language. We do much of this research using a range of corpora, including the Oxford English Corpus, our unique language monitoring programme that represents all types of English, from literary novels and specialist journals to everyday newspapers and magazines, and from Hansard to the language of blogs, emails, and social media.”

If seeing these new words gets you steamed, take a deep breath and remember that this is a fun publicity stunt for an online dictionary. No one is forcing you to use the term “cupcakery” in your everyday conversations. Though, you might want to give it a try—it’s really fun to say.

Here is the complete list of words, via OxfordDictionaries.com:

awesomesauce, adj.: (US informal) extremely good; excellent

bants (also bantz), n.: (Brit. informal) playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group; banter

barbacoa, n.: (in Mexican cooking) beef, lamb, or other meat that has slowly been cooked with seasonings, typically shredded as a filling in tacos, burritos, etc.

beer o’clock, n: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink beer

blockchain, n.: a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly

brain fart, n.: (informal) a temporary mental lapse or failure to reason correctly

Brexit, n.: a term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union

bruh, n: (U.S. informal) a male friend (often used as a form of address)

butt dial, v.: (U.S. informal) inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket

butthurt, adj.: (U.S. informal) overly or unjustifiably offended or resentful

cakeage,n.: (informal) a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake they have not supplied themselves

cat cafe, n.: a café or similar establishment where people pay to interact with cats housed on the premises

cupcakery, n.: a bakery that specializes in cupcakes

deradicalization, n.: the action or process of causing a person with extreme views to adopt more moderate positions on political or social issues

fast-casual, adj.: denoting or relating to a type of high-quality self-service restaurant offering dishes that are prepared to order and more expensive than those available in a typical fast-food restaurant

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

fat-shame, v.: cause (someone judged to be fat or overweight) to feel humiliated by making mocking or critical comments about their size

freekeh, n.: a cereal food made from unripened wheat that has been roasted and crushed into small pieces, used especially in Middle Eastern cookery

fur baby, n.: a person’s dog, cat, or other furry pet animal

glanceable, adj.: denoting or relating to information, especially as displayed on an electronic screen, that can be read or understood very quickly and easily

Grexit, n.: a term for the potential withdrawal of Greece from the eurozone (the economic region formed by those countries in the European Union that use the euro as their national currency)

hangry, adj.: (informal) bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger

kayfabe, n.: (U.S. informal) (in professional wrestling) the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic

MacGyver, v.: (U.S. informal) make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand

manic pixie dream girl, n.: (especially in film) a type of female character depicted as vivacious and appealingly quirky, whose main purpose within the narrative is to inspire a greater appreciation for life in a male protagonist

manspreading, n.: the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats

matcha, n.: powdered green tea leaves, dissolved in hot water to make tea or used as a flavouring

mecha, n.: (in anime, manga, etc.) a large armoured robot, typically controlled by a person riding inside the robot itself

meeple, n.: a small figure used as a playing piece in certain board games, having a stylized human form

mic drop, n.: (informal, chiefly U.S.) an instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive

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

mkay, excl.: (informal, chiefly U.S.) non-standard spelling of OK, representing an informal pronunciation (typically used at the end of a statement to invite agreement, approval, or confirmation)

Mx, n.: a title used before a person’s surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female

pocket dial, v.: inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s pocket, as a result of pressure being accidentally applied to a button or buttons on the phone

pwnage, n.: (informal) (especially in video gaming) the action or fact of utterly defeating an opponent or rival

rage-quit, v.: (informal) angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating, especially the playing of a video game

rando, n.: (informal) a person one does not know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behaviour

Redditor, n.: a registered user of the website Reddit

skippable, adj.: (of a part or feature of something) able to be omitted or passed over so as to get to the next part or feature

social justice warrior, n.: (informal, derogatory) a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views

snackable, adj.: (of online content) designed to be read, viewed, or otherwise engaged with briefly and easily

spear phishing, n.: the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information

subreddit, n.: a forum dedicated to a specific topic on the website Reddit

swatting, n.: (U.S. informal) the action or practice of making a hoax call to the emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address

weak sauce, n.: (U.S. informal) something that is of a poor or disappointing standard or quality

wine o’clock, n.: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink wine

[h/t: OxfordDictionaries.com]

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Can You Guess the Secret Word in This Brain Teaser?
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On his YouTube channel Mind Your Decisions, Presh Talwalkar shares logic puzzles dealing with geometry, statistics, and algebra. The puzzle below from the former Stanford math and economics student features no numbers, but that doesn’t mean it's easy to figure out.

To solve the brain teaser, you need to guess the secret word based on a few clues. Here’s the set-up: A teacher is leading a class and Albert, Bernard, and Cheryl are his students. He writes the words "cat," "dog," "has," "max," "dim," and "tag" on the board. He distributes one sheet of paper to each of his three students, with each piece containing a different letter from one of the words. He then tells them that together their letters spell one of the words on the board. The students only know their letter, they don’t know anyone else's.

The teacher asks Albert if he knows the secret word. Albert says yes, he does know it. Next, the teacher asks Bernard. After some hesitation, he replies that yes, he knows the secret word as well. Finally, the teacher asks Cheryl if she knows what the word is. She thinks for a moment and says that yes she does. Albert, Bernard, and Cheryl have successfully guessed the secret word. Do you know what it is based on their answers?

Figuring out the word without knowing any of its letters may seem difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you don’t know where to start, think about Albert’s answer and use the process of elimination to rule out some of the letters and words written on the board. Keep in mind that Bernard could only come to his conclusion from Albert’s answer, and Cheryl from Bernard’s.

Still lost? If you haven’t gotten to the bottom of it yet, the correct answer is "dog." When Albert answers that he knows what the right word is based on one letter, you can use that information to narrow down his possible letters to one of the six that are never repeated on the board: c, o, h, s, x, and i. And when Bernard says that he knows too, you can deduce that his list of potential letters is limited to t, g, h, or s. That leaves "cat," "dog," and "has" as the three remaining options. Cheryl’s answer confirms that she has the letter d, which means the secret word is "dog."

If you’re looking for a more detailed walkthrough of the puzzle-solving process, check out the video from Presh Talwalkar below.

[h/t Mind Your Decisions]

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How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
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Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

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