Greedy things, dictionaries. No matter how many words you stuff them with, they’re always hungry for more.
Yep, Samuel Johnson’s (above) baby just keeps growing fatter. Time doesn’t stand still and neither does language. The best dictionaries keep their finger on the pulse of modern vernacular by reflecting the way people speak.
The Oxford Dictionary of English has revised its editions throughout the noughties and beyond to accommodate words which would have been considered gibberish during the 20th century.
Here’s a selection of our dozen favourite recent additions, together with their definitions, just in case you don’t know your catastrophising from your chillaxing…
- Frenemy: a friend with whom one also has a powerful rivalry.
- Freemium: a web-based business where users can access basic services for free, but must pay for advanced features.
- Turducken: a roast dish of chicken. Inside a duck. Inside another chicken.
- Catastrophising: to put a massively negative ‘worst case scenario’ spin on a given situation.
- Deleveraging: selling your assets to reduce your debt.
- Soft skills: in a professional environment, personal attributes allowing you to work harmoniously alongside other folk.
- Staycation: cocking a snook to poor currency exchange rates by holidaying in your home country.
- Geoengineering: mechanical processes designed to counteract the impact of global warming.
- Defriend: snubbing a former contact on Facebook by excising them from your buddy-list. Ouch.
- Hikikomori: the tendency of adolescent males to avoid all social contact (a Japanese term coined in response to its internet and videogame-obsessed generation of young men).
- Chillaxing: a cross between chilling out and relaxing – alternatively known in some quarters as ‘taking a chill pill’.
- Buzzkill: a person or thing that has a depressing, negative or dispiriting impact.
Whatever linguistic leaps forward the coming decades have in store, our team of business copywriters at Wordsworks will stay abreast of language trends – just like we keep pace with evolutions in fashion, music and technology. After all, no one here at Wordsworks Towers wants to be labelled a ‘cheeseball’ – a person lacking in taste or style.