Dictionary editors hold an awful lot of power over the English language. Every year they decide which words go in (and are kicked out of) the Dictionary, and thus hold a vital role in shaping the words we know and use on a daily basis.
Which is why for every officially recognised word added to the dictionary (cougar and bromance became official words last year) some of the phrases we use, from slang between friends to abbreviations, jargon or made-up buzzwords like “glamping” can often go unnoticed, and in 50 years could be completely forgotten (in the case of the buzzwords, that could be a good thing).
But Dictionary publishers Collins are changing that – by inviting the general public to contribute to their online dictionary, and become involved in the evolution of the English language.
To get involved, users just need to log on to collinsdictionary.com and submit their phrase of choice, which will go through an editorial evaluation and if accepted appear on the definition page, with your name forever imprinted as the creator of that word.
The chance to play Samuel Johnson definitely appeals – and if there’s a word you use with your friends that you think is absolute genius, now’s your chance to let the world know. Collins are also giving away prizes to a person who submits a word every day until the 31st August 2012.
But whilst we think the crowd-sourcing is definitely a good idea, and it’s fascinating (and often quite amusing) to see the words people are submitting and their definitions, the list of phrases Collins have already accepted contains a fair few we hoped would die a death this year. For every actually quite funny and useful addition like photobomb and livestream, there’s an annoying word like Carmageddon or Sweatworking – do we really want these preserved for years to come?
Here are a few examples of the words submitted so far:
A quick poll of the Stylist office on what we would submit actually resulted in a load that we DON’T want added by anyone, (or if they’re already in there, banned for life). They were, in no particular order:
So please, if your finger is poised over the keyboard ready to submit, we beg you cease and desist.
Picture credit: Rex Features