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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


15 Words You Won't Believe They Added to the Dictionary

15 Words You Won’t Believe They Added to the Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary is constantly updating, adding new words to reflect the vibrant changes in language and culture.  Here are some recent additions 

n. In the fiction of JK Rowling: a person who possesses no magical powers. Hence in allusive and extended uses: a person who lacks a particular skill or skills, or who is regarded as inferior in some way.

The people at the Oxford English Dictionary acknowledge that the work of an author entering the dictionary is rare, but the use of "muggle" had become so widespread they had to include it, ensuring that the future will remember us for standing in line at Borders in wizard costumes.

Wait, does this mean if we invent a new word right now they'll be forced to include it in a few years, as long as enough readers use it? Good. Guys, the word is "dongtacular."


n.A method of collectively finding one to blame for a mistake no one is willing to confess to. Often occurs in the form of a meeting of colleagues at work, gathered to decide who is to blame for a screw up.

There already is a word for when a group of people blame someone for a mistake. It's called blaming. Blamestorming, however, cutely mimics "brainstorming" and office politics dictates the more cringe-inducingly "clever" a word sounds, the more often in needs to be used.

"We're so witty! Just like the people on The Office! Somebody should make a sitcom about us!"


n.a homosexual person's ability to identify another person as homosexual by interpreting subtle signals conveyed by their appearance, interests, etc.

Ah, there's nothing like a cutsey pun to sum up this awkward and nervous era when we finally acknowledged there was such a thing as gay people without treating it as a national emergency, yet were not so cool with it that people felt OK about openly acknowledging their gayness.

Thus we had to invent this word to represent the rush of personal pride felt by the perceived ability to instinctively tell if someone prefers sausage to tacos, whether they wanted you to know it or not.


n.a young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality.

Now, remind us, is "grrrl" a word used by "grrrl" types, or the people who make fun of them? You know what, it doesn't matter, because, there's no vowel.

What the is that? Call us tools of the male chauvinist patriarchy, but even the wacky sound effects from the 60s Batman TV show had vowels in them. That's right, this is less of a word than ZWWAP!


n.the third film, book, event, etc. in a series; a second sequel.

Hey, thanks Hollywood, for making enough of these that we had to invent a whole new word. So will fourquel be next? Quadrology? Will we all be buying the Star Wars sixantium box set?


n. a person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of another.

Hey, remember when you thought we couldn't get any lower than "muggle"? Those were the days, right?

Nothing puts a society as firmly in its place as when you realize the language has been permanently changed by a franchise about a horny spy that repeated the same jokes and catchphrases dozens of times across two sequels. Is this one from the same movie where Mike Myers drank the cup full of ? We don't remember.


n.a person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the Internet.

In a curious twist, there is no word for an Amish youth who has an aptitude for barn raising or a Scientologist youth who's developed some skills in picking the lock on his cage. Still, it's probably hard to make a really ty pun for either of those so that might explain things.


v.spending one's employer's internet and email facilities for personal activities during working hours.

Remember the dot-com bubble of the late 90s, when the internet was new and exciting and every novelty erotica site you found was like Christmas morning, only with fisting? Cyberslacking is the word product of that. In retrospect, using the internet to kill time at work wasn't the Tron-like revolutionary experience this word implies, so regular "slacking" would suffice just as well.


n.prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of appearance.

Sometimes when attractive people get a raise or ugly people have to eat out of a trough in the cafeteria, the people on the wrong side of that scenario are tempted to equate it to generations of violence, oppression and bigotry experienced by any number of people who actually know what discrimination is.

So just stick "-ism" on the end and there you go.


n.derogatory a food that contains genetically modified ingredients.

Really, it's looking like a memorable pun is all that's required for a word to be embraced by society as a whole. So even if you have something that has saved millions of lives like, say, genetically modified crops, if you can think of a kick ass and mildly amusing way to dumb it down and liken it to a shambling, murderous corpse-man, congratulations. You're making language!


n.guitar riffs.

Slightly more annoying than making nouns into verbs for no reason ("hold on, I'm Twittering!") is the trend of pluralizing them with "age". No need to say "make love" when "humpage" will do just as well. And hell, we can label all fire alarms with ", burnage!" to make it that much clearer to everyone.


n.the ability to recover from near-defeat in a competition; the ability to recover from a setback.

While resilience is already a perfectly good word that means the exact same thing, bouncebackability does sound much more like something a semi-literate alcoholic might put on a resume, giving it that added appeal of mouthbreathability words like resilience lack.


n.a rebuttal for an accusation before it is made.

The sad part about this one is that it only sounds completely insane until you realize it's mostly done by politicians, after which it sort of makes perfect sense. They know they're full of , but hope this somehow can preemptively stop anybody from pointing it out.

"Now, you're all going to accuse me of being a racist here, but let me explain why I think minorities shouldn't be allowed to drive..."


v.searching the internet for instances of one's own name or links to one's own website.

Googling yourself is like masturbation: everyone does it, but it's still embarrassing to get caught. Getting caught and then referring to what you're doing as ego-surfing is like trying to explain to the bus driver that you're simply looking for your bus pass which, when you last saw it, was drifting somewhere around your foreskin, instead of just pulling up your pants and walking home.


n.The physical world, as opposed to virtual.

Doubtlessly coined by a level 80 Druid tank somewhere in the World of Warcraft, it's a sad day for the species when what you may recognize as that in which everything exists, needs a special term to differentiate it from the "real" world of Facebook friends and LOLcats.

Soon you'll hear it used in sentences like, "So all of the crops are dying and the air is turning poisonous? Bah, who cares about all that stuff that happens in lame old Meatspace."

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