YOLO, gender-fluid and yogalates are just three of more than 1,000 new words to be added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
The latest edition of the OED will feature 1,200 new entries. Among them are the terms “Westminster bubble’ – fitting, given the tumultuous year in politics we’ve had – and “moobs”.
Several US-inspired words also made the cut, including “fuhgeddaboudit” (“forget about it” in a New Yoik accent) and “’Merica”.
Interestingly, the latter two words also bear witness to the internet’s influence on how we write, speak and think. Words and phrases that previously would have simply been said in a certain accent are now being routinely written down that way: see also “biatch”, the term “bitch” said/written in a sardonic US accent. “’Merica” is most often used online – either as an outburst of patriotism, or as a way of gently mocking those who use the term seriously.
“While it could be tempting to dismiss the inclusion of internet slang as a publicity stunt (“YOLO” has also made the cut), it’s worth remembering that the editors of the OED usually wait several years to see if a new word has staying power before deciding to include it in the dictionary’s esteemed pages.
It’s an evocative way to bring personality into the written word,” OED editor Katherine Martin tells Time magazine, adding that she is thrilled by the “speed at which the English language is expanding”.
Without further ado, here are some more of the dictionary’s newest words:
Cheeseball (n.): someone or something lacking taste, style, or originality; or the breaded and deep fried cheese appetiser.
Clicktivisim (n.): the practice of signalling support for a political or social cause by means of the Internet, through social media, online petitions, etc., rather than by more substantive involvement.
Freemium (n.): a business model, especially on the Internet, whereby basic services are provided free of charge while more advanced features must be paid for.
Fuhgeddaboudit (int.): in representations of regional speech (associated especially with New York and New Jersey): “forget about it”; used to indicate that a suggested scenario is unlikely or undesirable.
Gender-fluid (adj.): designating a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender.
’Merica (n.): America. Note: Originally and chiefly in representations of nonstandard speech. Now frequently also in ironic or self-conscious use, emphasizing emblematic or stereotypical qualities of American traditions, institutions and national ideals.
Moobs (n.): unusually prominent breasts on a man, typically as a result of excess pectoral fat.
Uptalk (n.): a manner of speaking in which declarative sentences are uttered with rising intonation at the end, a type of intonation more typically associated with questions.
Westminster bubble (n.): First used in 1998, the term describes an insular community of politicians, journalists, and civil servants, who appear to be out of touch with the experiences of the wider British public.
Yogalates (n.): used when Pilates exercises are combined with the postures and breathing techniques of yoga
YOLO (int.): “You only live once”; used to express the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future (often as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behavior).