Oxford Dictionaries online set the media and web on fire with its list of new words for 2013. On average, Oxford adds approximately 1,000 new entries to its online dictionaries every year, and this quarter’s update highlights some fascinating developments in the English language. The blending of words, with results such as phablet and jorts, is trending high, as are abbreviations.
New words are always intriguing, primarily because of their tendency to hint at what’s ahead for the future, and this year’s list won’t disappoint, as it defines how each and every one of us are living.
One of the biggest trends occurring today is the newfound habit of constantly sharing online, and regardless of whether you’ve adopted the mode or not, technology is a catalyst for new words and this new hyper-trend of “shortened communication.” It’s here to stay and is affecting virtually any and all who communicate.
The abbreviated spelling trend is derived from the era in which we are living — a.k.a. the text-centric era — and has become so mainstream it is no longer deemed rude or impolite. Five years ago it would have been unthinkable to use TL;DR (too long; didn’t read), but now it’s common (linguistically and socially) as a response to a long email, article or blog post. Shortened codes are no longer a hint of rudeness; they are simply a means of today’s culture, which is about sharing in an abbreviated manner!
What follows is a sampling of some of the new words birthed from technology followed by the entire list of new words added to the 2013 Oxford Dictionaries online.
BYOD: Bring your own device
MOOC: Massive open online course
Bitcoin: A digital currency where transactions can be performed without the need of a central bank
Phablet: The oversized smartphone that’s somewhere between a phone and tablet
Selfie: A self-portrait taken for Facebook or Instagram
Geek chic: For the fact that new products such as Google Glass are just too cool
Unlike: As in showing displeasure on a social media site
Complete list of Oxford’s new words
Apols: (informal) Apologies
A/W: (abbreviation) Autumn/winter (denoting or relating to fashion designed for the autumn and winter seasons of a particular year. Derived from S/S, spring/summer)
Babymoon: (informal) A relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born; a period of time following the birth of a baby during which the new parents can focus on establishing a bond with their child
Balayage: A technique for highlighting hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect
Bitcoin: A digital currency where transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank
Blondie: A small square of dense, pale-colored cake; typically butterscotch or vanilla
Buzzworthy: (informal) Likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.
BYOD: Abbreviation of “bring your own device,” the practice of allowing the employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones or other devices for work purposes
Cake pop: A small, round piece of cake coated with icing or chocolate and fixed on the end of a stick so as to resemble a lollipop
Dappy: (informal) Silly, disorganized or lacking concentration
Derp: (informal) Used as a substitute for speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action
Digital detox: A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world
Emoj: A small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication
Fauxhawk: A hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to the back of the head stands erect and is intended to resemble a Mohican haircut (in which the sides of the head are shaved)
FIL: A person’s father-in-law
Flatform: A flat shoe with a high, thick sole
FOMO: Fear of missing out; the anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website
Grats: (informal) Congratulations
Hackerspace: A place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge
Jorts: Denim shorts
LDR: A long-distance relationship
Me time: (informal) Time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy
MOOC: A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people
Omnishambles: (informal) A situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations
Phablet: A smartphone having a screen that is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer
Squee: (informal) Used to express great delight or excitement
Srsly: (informal) Short for “seriously”
TL;DR: (abbreviation) “Too long didn’t read”: used as a dismissive response to a lengthy online post, or to introduce a summary of a lengthy post
Twerk: Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance
Unlike: Withdraw one’s liking or approval of a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked
Vom: (informal) Being sick; to vomit
A whole new list of letter combinations for the serious scrabble player or for beginners who can never think of the “correct” combination of letters to reach the Triple Word score.
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