If you haven’t been living on Mars this week, you will have heard that some new modern words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and have caused a little controversy.
Now, let me begin by saying that I still see myself as fairly young and hip, but even I hadn’t heard of some of the words that have been deemed popular enough to be added.
Twerking, selfie and emoji I’m aware of, regardless of whether I use them myself or not. But what on earth is a balayage or a fauxhawk?
Should I be concerned that these strange new words, among others, have made it into the dictionary? Should I be worried that I’m going to have to change my entire vocabulary just so that people understand what I’m saying?
No I shouldn’t.
There hasn’t been a time in history where our lingo hasn’t evolved or changed, so this recent bout of new words should be celebrated as merely adding to the colourful history of the English language.
There are new words added to the OED four times per year, equating to almost 1,000 new words in just 12 months. I don’t think I learned 1,000 new words last year, but, should I hear one of them and not understand it, I will know where to turn.
The OED isn’t telling us to start using hackerspace, grats and bitcoin if we don’t want to, merely informing us of their definitions.
And just so we are all clear:
[no object] informal
noun (plural selfies)
noun (plural same or emojis)
(also baliaɡe, balliaɡe)
such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect:she specializes in balayage, colour corrections, restyles, and extensions
Now get out there and impress the young-uns with your funky new vocab! CB