One of the beautiful things about the English language (and others, I’m sure) is its ability to adapt as society and culture change and develop.
Words no longer used have become considered “antiquated” or have been eliminated from common usage (think: “archiloquy
” ), while other words have been added as they’ve emerged (think: “computer
That said, I’d like to draw to your attention a few words that have been added to the dictionary.
Rachael Ray, the current darling of cooking, has popularized the “word” EVOO
, which stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil (though this acronym is not a Rachael Ray original and has been used world-wide by cooks to shorten the ingredient). It was announced in 2006 that EVOO would be added to the Oxford American College Dictionary.
Some of you may remember that, way back in 2001, a catchphrase popularized by TV’s dysfunctional family, The Simpsons
, was added. “D’oh!
” (originally scripted as “(annoyed grunt)”) first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001 without the apostrophe (the word with
the apostrophe is a trademark of 20th century Fox
). The word is an expression of frustration, pain, realization at having done something stupid, or other similar uses. Though Homer Simpson is best known for using the word, it has also been used by numerous other Simpsons
That leads me to another Simpsons
-esque addition: “meh
.” This word, an expression of apathy or boredom, has been added to the Collins English Dictionary this year. According to the Yahoo! article on the dictionary addition:
The dictionary defines “meh” as an expression of indifference or boredom, or an adjective meaning mediocre or boring. Examples given by the dictionary include “the Canadian election was so meh.”
The dictionary’s compilers said the word originated in North America, spread through the Internet and was now entering British spoken English.
This is yet another example of the ever-changing nature of the English language. These slang words–originating on TV, no less–are now in the dictionary and firmly in people’s vocabulary.
I’m curious about additional words that may be included in dictionaries in the future. After all, there are many, many famous people
who have coined words and phrases that are used in common language now. And I find myself adding “y” or “ly” to many words to make them a little more descriptive: writer-y, caffeine-y, etc. Even whole words, such as literista (like stylista, but for literature), have emerged from my brain. Will they someday be within the pages of the dictionary?
What words do you think should (or should not) be included?