‘Twerk’, ‘phablet’, ‘derp’, ‘bitcoin’ and ‘selfie’ added to the Oxford dictionary

Definition of language

Definition of language

Srsly. Yes, it is now arguably permissible to begin a sentence with a colloquialism that doesn’t contain any vowels — it’s a real word, you know. The people over at the Oxford Dictionaries Online just said so.

The latest quarterly update released by Oxford University Press has seen a slew of geeky and web slang added to the online dictionary. According to Oxford Dictionaries Online editor Angus Stevenson, new words are only added once the team has “gathered enough independent evidence from a range of sources to be confident that they have widespread currency in English,” which explains the inclusion of trendy terms like ‘FOMO’. On average, the team adds 1 000 new words to its online portal annually, and this most recent update shows the continuing trend towards blended words and abbreviations. Oh, and whatever Miley Cyrus was doing at the VMAs, apparently.

This batch of new words includes quite a few terms you’ve probably seen littered in hashtags, tweets, memes and some dark corner of Reddit. Here are just a few, along with their official definitions:

bitcoin, n.: a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.

BYOD, n.: 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.

click and collect, n.: a shopping facility whereby a customer can buy or order goods from a store’s website and collect them from a local branch.

derp, exclam. & n. (informal): (used as a substitute for) speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action.

digital detox, n.: 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.

emoji, n: a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.

FOMO, n.: fear of missing out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.

geek chic, n.: the dress, appearance, and culture associated with computing and technology enthusiasts, regarded as stylish or fashionable.

hackerspace, n.: a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

Internet of things, n.: a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.

MOOC, n.: a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.

phablet, n.: a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

selfie, n. (informal): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

space tourism, n.: the practice of travelling into space for recreational purposes.

squee, exclam. & v. & n. (informal): (used to express) great delight or excitement.

srsly, adv. (informal): short for ‘seriously’.

TL;DR, abbrev.: ‘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, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

unlike, v.: withdraw one’s liking or approval of (a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked).

vom, v. & n. (informal): (be) sick; vomit.

If the idea of words like phablet making their way into the official Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has you wanting to throw something at the nearest Samsung Galaxy Note, just breathe. These words are just being included on Oxford Dictionaries Online, which focuses on modern usage and frequently adds and removes words. The OED is more focused on being a record for the usage of words over time, and as such doesn’t remove words, even if they fall out of popular conversation. So it still remains to be seen where ‘selfie’ will end up in the long run, besides on Instagram.



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