Dictionary Adds New Words

I still can’t believe that we haven’t added strategery. I mean, it’s just as good a made-up word as textspeak, right?

The Oxford Dictionary has added 400 new entries, including:

Woot (exclamation, informal) - used to express elation, enthusiasm or triumph.

Retweet (verb): (On the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user). Also: (noun) a reposted or forwarded message on Twitter.

Textspeak (noun): Language regarded as characteristic of text messages, consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, initials, emoticons, etc.

I’m not sure that I fully understand how they determine which words to add, other than considering frequent social use.

In the upcoming weeks, I will help you define these new words by featuring them in Nerd Notes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Let’s Talk Nerdy!

Do you think Oxford should add new words to the dictionary? How should these words be decided? What do you think about the words Oxford added?

3 comments
jennadewitt
jennadewitt

Of course. Language is fluid and constantly changing, especially English. The words may not be that serious, but if they are being used in everyday language and seem to be sticking around for a generation or two, we need a common standard for how to spell, pronounce and define them. Like parenting. We may not like what our kids are doing, but the things that are harmless enough just need solid rules to keep them in control. The ones that are worth their salt will stick around, but the ones that are only a trend will go away anyway. Sure, it may add to their legitimacy, for better or worse, but at least it is consistent. Better solid consistency than blind chaos.

profkrg
profkrg moderator

@jennadewitt you are so calm about this new word situation! I think what you wrote about legitimacy is my primary concern. By adding symbols and acronyms to the dictionary, we make their mainstream usage more legitimate. Do you remember the first time you showed your teacher that ain't actually was in the dictionary?

jennadewitt
jennadewitt

haha chalk it up to being a Millennial. :)

Maybe the less-than-desirable words could come with a "slang. Use sparingly." label. As an editor, I think I would still feel comfortable pointing to that to say "I don't care that it's in the dictionary. You still can't write it."