Bank of mom and dad ~ parental ATM
Locavore ~ one who eats local
Gramps ~ hipper than “grandfather”
These are just a few of the new words that officially entered the Oxford English Dictionary this year.
(The OED is the bible of dictionaries, so when a word finally makes it in, it’s a very big deal. The grammatical gatekeepers at the OED, the last bastion of linguistic propriety, have been dictating our diction since the late 1800s, and they take their responsibility very seriously.)
To be honest, I’m surprised at some of the words that made the cut, and wonder if they slipped in while the editors were busy inking their quills. Governmentalization? Way too syllablized. Lock-upable? Yikes. What other make-upable words are next?
But many others are meaty, satisfying words that I’m happy to see mainstreamed.
Not surprisingly, there’s a slew of tech-related words, like the hybrid phablet. (Bigger than a phone, smaller than a tablet.)
Other words reflect the latest cultural buzz. Haram, meaning “forbidden by Islam,” helps to clarify the conversation about religion, and the title Mx. helps to neutralize the conversation about gender identity. (Incidentally, the singular ‘they’ has now been approved by the Washington Post as ‘the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.’ Remember when we had to use the exclusive ‘he’ all the time, as in “Everyone has to bring his own lunch tomorrow”? Quel drag.)
Lord of the Rings fans might recognize waybread, “…a sustaining food made for eating before or during a long journey, typically in the form of flat bread or wafers.” The perfect snack during a jaunt through Middle Earth, or perhaps even during a Downton Abbey binge. A decent supply of waybread could carry you through all six seasons without so much as a visit to the loo.
And some of the words just plain sound cool, like the way trussler rolls off the tongue. Example: Marco is a trussler—he doesn’t let anybody give him shit. (FYI, this is not the official OED example, which is probably more: “Lord Grantham is quite a trussler; he finds it rather distasteful when his butler refuses to fetch adequate butter for the crumpets.”
Phantom vibe is when you could swear you felt your phone go off in your pocket, but then upon checking, you discover your phone wasn’t even in your pocket. Example: That’s weird, I just got some Phantom vibes…but my phablet is in the car.
(Not to be confused with abc, ‘accidental booty call’, when your backside dials someone without your knowledge.)
What are your favorite new words for 2k16?