53 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary

iStock.com/Pglam
iStock.com/Pglam

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
iStock.com/manley099

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 
iStock.com/Ian_Redding

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.

11 Versions of “Average Joe” From Other Countries

santypan/iStock via Getty Images
santypan/iStock via Getty Images

Average Joe, Joe Schmo, John Doe. He’s bland and average. Faceless, but not nameless. Every country needs a way to talk about just “some guy.” Here’s what 11 countries call that typical guy, who might have no specific qualities, but is still “one of our own.”

1. Germany: Otto Normalverbraucher

Literally, Otto “normal consumer."

2. China: Zhang San, Li Si

This translates to “Three Zhang, Four Li”—a reference to some of the most popular Chinese surnames.

3. Denmark: Morten Menigmand

"Morton Everyman."

4. Australia: Fred Nurk

Sounds pretty normal to me.

5. Russia: Vasya Pupkin

With a name like that, it’s hard not to be a typical schmo.

6. Finland: Matti Meikäläinen

Meikäläinen looks like a typical Finnish surname, but it also means “one of us.”

7. Sweden: Medelsvensson

Just your average Svensson.

8. France: Monsieur Tout-Le-Monde

“Mr. Everyone.” Also goes by Jean Dupont.

9. UK/New Zealand: Joe Bloggs

Still an average Joe (but can also be a Fred).

10. Italy: Mario Rossi

In Italy they just use a common name.

11. Latin America: Juan Pérez

The same is true in various Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America.

A version of this list first ran in 2014.

15 Pairs of Words That Surprisingly Come From the Same Source

Both flour and flower come from the same root word
Both flour and flower come from the same root word
Lena_Zajchikova/iStock via Getty Images

We take for granted that many English words have counterparts that sound related, but aren’t. Even though know and no sound the same, their meanings are so different we assume they have different etymological sources (which the spelling differences also suggest). However, sometimes words we might not expect to have anything in common historically do in fact go back to the same source. They’re called etymological doublets; here are 15 of them.

1. Flour/Flower

Flour, just like flower, came from French fleur. It was named that way because the part of the plant used to make it was considered the “flower of the grain,” the best part of it, taking away all the chaff and other impurities.

2. Lobster/Locust

Both go back to Latin locusta, for locust, which also turned into the French langouste and Old English lopustre. The lobster is the locust of the sea.

3. Inch/Ounce

Though one measures length and the other weight, they both go back to Latin uncia, meaning a twelfth part. The original ounce was 1/12th of a pound.

4. Of/Off

Of and off were once the exact same word but in a stressed vs. unstressed pronunciation. It wasn’t until the 17th century that they developed different uses to the point where they were considered different words.

5. Etiquette/Ticket

Etiquette was a French word for a note attached to something that listed its contents. It was borrowed into English as ticket and into Spanish as etiqueta, where it came to be associated with the listed rules of protocol for the Spanish royal court. It then came back into French and English with the social protocol meaning.

6. Costume/Custom

Both come from Latin consuetudinem, meaning "accustomed to," or "habituated." Both referred to the general habits of a group, including how they dress, among other things. Costume wasn’t explicitly connected to just the dress sense until the 1800s.

7. Species/Spices

Both come from Latin specie, for "appearance" or "form." Spice came into English first, from Old French espice. Species was later borrowed directly from Latin.

8. Reward/Regard

In Anglo-Norman, reward and regard were alternate pronunciations of the same thing. While the g version took on the senses of "to look at," "give attention to," and also "to merit, esteem, or respect," the w version settled into the current sense of giving something on merit.

9. Dainty/Dignity

The Latin word dignus meant "worthy." While dignity refers to a sense of "worthy" that includes serious notions of honor, respect, and rank, in dainty, dignus lives on in the sense of being worthy for being delightful, precious, and pleasing.

10. Naïve/Native

Both come from Latin nativus, meaning innate, natural. Naïve is "natural" in the sense of being unspoiled and native is an innate belonging to an origin.

11. Shirt/Skirt

The ancestor of the Old English scyrte developed into a word for the upper part of an undergarment in many Germanic languages, but it’s not entirely clear how it also developed into the skirt word for a lower garment in English.

12. Tradition/Treason

Tradition is from the Latin tradere, for the act of handing over or handing down. Treason also comes from tradere, with the sense of handing over or delivering. The tray in betray also goes back to this sense of tradere.

13. Tulip/Turban

Both are approximations of the Persian word for turban, dulband, which a tulip was said to resemble.

14. Maneuver/Manure

Maneuver comes from the Latin manu + operari, to work by hand. But so does manure, which was originally a verb meaning to "till the land."

15. Grammar/Glamour

Grammar goes all the way back to Latin and Greek, where it referred to all aspects of the study of literature. In the Middle Ages, it came to be associated with just the linguistic parts, and particularly with the study of Latin. The fancy, educated class studied Latin, and also things like magic and astrology, so the word grammar sometimes referred to that aspect too. A mispronounced version, glamour, went on to stand for the magical, enchanting quality we use it for today.

This list was first published in 2015 and republished in 2019.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER