Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Drunk Texts, Squad Goals, and Brewer’s Droop: an Oxford Dictionaries update

Via the Passive Voice blog, I see the Oxford English Dictionary has been updated to include a whole bunch of modern words. Um, some may not quiiite fit my idea of “words.” Except as slang terms that still sound kinda silly, and to me seem rather likely to fade out of usage in a few years.

When should you count a new word as worthy of inclusion in a dictionary, anyway? When it’s been around five years? Ten? Twenty? I guess I’m leaning toward at least ten. Momentary slang-of-the-moment doesn’t seem to me like it should count. Examples from this new update, let me see . . .

Fitspo. Not only have I never heard this, as far as I know, but it sounds really stupid. It’s supposed to be short for fitspiration. Which I also have never heard and don’t like any better. The dictionary entry says: A person or thing that serves as motivation for someone to sustain or improve health and fitness, as in ‘the perfect fitspiration for anyone wanting to tone up’

Yeah, not impressed by that one. I don’t care whether it’s in common use today . . . in circles other than the ones I move in . . . I truly can’t see it lasting any time.

Same for haterade. I’m sure you don’t need any help deciphering that one even if you’ve never heard it. Again, sounds like momentary slang with a mayfly lifespan.

Other words seem like they’ll have more staying power and ought to be included, such as “unseen” in the sense of “Warning: once seen, this image can never be unseen.”

Plenty of the so-called new words are just other-language words that have become more familiar to English speakers, often culinary, like tonkatsu sauce and ras-el-hanout. Both are terms anybody who’s really into cooking is going to know, depending on what kind of cooking, of course. The former is Japanese and the latter North African, as you very likely know.

Anyway, interesting to scan through the list.

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