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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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Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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The Early 20th Century Society That Tried to Make English Spelling More Intuitive
George Bernard Shaw, a member of the Simplified Spelling Soesiety
George Bernard Shaw, a member of the Simplified Spelling Soesiety
Fox Photos/Getty Images

The English language is notorious for complex spelling rules—and the many words that break them. We all know i comes before e, except, of course, in certain weird words like, well, weird. We pronounce the letter i like eye if the word ends in an e—except in words like give. Unsurprisingly, even native English speakers get fed up with the inanity of the language’s complicated spelling conventions, and there have been several pushes to replace them with something a little more intuitive over the centuries, as The Public Domain Review highlights.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the London-based Simplified Speling Soesiety was one of the groups pushing for a more logical system of English spelling. Its journal, first published in 1912, refers to standard English spelling as "in sum waiz unreezonabl and retrograid.” So the group went about coming up with new ways to spell common words itself, hoping its alternate approach would catch on.

The Pioneer ov Simplified Speling contained a pronunciation guide, but many of its alternative spellings can be deciphered fairly easily. As long as you peruse carefully, that is. Reading through the publication feels like stumbling through an archaic text from hundreds of years ago, rather than something written during the 20th century.

A pronunciation guide from the 'Pioneer of Simplified Speling'
The Pioneer of Simplified Speling

Go ahead and wade into how the group, founded in 1908, explained its mission in the first edition of The Pioneer:

The aim ov the Soesiety nou iz tu plais befor the public cleer staitments ov the cais against the curent speling, tu sho hou seerius ar the consecwensez ov yuezing it, and hou much wood be gaind, if sum such sceem az that ov the Soesiety wer adopted.

Did you get all that?

The debut edition of the quirky journal, which you can read on the Internet Archive, includes not just the group’s mission statement and goals, but birthday congratulations to the Society’s founding president, aggregated updates about spelling in the news (like that in an interview, British chemist Sir William Ramsay mentioned a German child never making a spelling mistake), the announcement of the group’s annual meeting (at which members would submit new simplified spellings for discussion), and other minor spelling-related notes.

The whole thing is truly a treasure.

Fed-up readers and writers have been trying to wrangle English spelling conventions into something more manageable for essentially as long as there have been standardized spellings. Benjamin Franklin was a spelling reformer during his lifetime, as was Theodore Roosevelt. Soesiety member George Bernard Shaw went so far as to leave his estate in a trust dedicated to reforming the English alphabet when he died.

Though the spelling reformers of yore didn't find much mainstream acceptance for their ideas, there are still modern orthography obsessives who want to revamp the English spelling system to make it easier to learn. And they have a point: For English-speaking children, learning to read and write takes years longer than it does for kids learning to read in languages with easier spelling rules, like Finnish. Considering that one study of 7000 different English words found that 60 percent of them had irregularly used letters, it’s a wonder any of us English speakers have learned to read at all. If only the Simplified Speling Soesiety had gotten its way back in the early 1900s, maybe we would have an easier time of it.

[h/t The Public Domain Review]

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