ICYMI: A Slew of New Words Enter English

New words enter English

New English words enter Oxford English Dictionary

New Words Enter English, Oxford English Dictionary

This year sees a slew of  “cray” words being entered into the Oxford English Dictionary. You may have heard or read them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Oxford University Press

The Oxford University Press has one of the largest language research programmes in the world. Their most important resources are the Oxford English Corpus and the Reading Programme.  Their Corpus consists of large documents sourced from the World Wide Web, while the Reading Programme is electronic and gathers information from a collection of sentences, song lyrics, extracts taken from a variety of literary fiction and non-fiction and also scientific journals.

International Community

It is held together by the contribution of an international network of readers who sift through these sources on the lookout for new words, their meanings and other language changes. The Reader research is all put forward for the Oxford English Dictionary.

New Word Sources

Many words that have made frequent contribution to the OED come from online communication, i.e. social media and internet slang, pop culture, film and literature, and even new ones typically churned out by tech-savvy reviewers. If there is sufficient evidence to back up a word’s prolonged usage [a new word used by more than one writer] then the Readers at OED investigate to give a clear definition and origin of this word. Once a word has been selected, it becomes a candidate for inclusion into the OED.

It’s all part of keeping the English language modern and alive.

We have always been interested in new words in the Oxford English Dictionary, as we’ve used a number of them in our blogs and social media posts.

We’ve put together the latest collection of new words that found a home in the OED:

New Word Definition New Word Definition
acquihire the instance of hiring a company to acquire the skills & expertise of its staff hot mess a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered
adorbs arousing great delight; cute & adorable hot mic a microphone that is turned on, in particular, one that amplifies or broadcasts a spoken remark that was intended to be private
air punch the act of thrusting one’s fist into the air, typically as a gesture of victory humblebrag an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud
amazeballs impressive; extremely good or amazing hyperconnected characterized by the widespread or habitual use of devices that have Internet connectivity
anti-vax opposed to vaccination e.g. ‘anti-vax parents’ ICYMI abbreviation: In case you missed it (used in electronic communication to draw attention to something noteworthy)
baller extremely good, impressive or excellent in silico (of scientific experiments or research) conducted or produced by means of computer modelling or computer simulation
bare very or rarely: used as an intensifier e.g. that boy’s bare bold listicle an article on the Internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list
bedroom tax (Welfare Act in the UK) amount of housing benefit paid to a claimant is reduced if the property they are renting is judged to have more bedrooms than necessary live-tweet to post comments about (an event) on Twitter while the event is taking place
binge-watch watching multiple episodes or films in rapid succession mansplain (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing
brick cause (a smartphone or the like) to become completely unable to function on a permanent basis nailed on constituting a certainty; guaranteed to happen or definitely the case
bro-hug [another term for man hug] a friendly embrace between two men neckbeard a growth of hair on a man’s neck, especially when regarded as indicative of poor grooming
catfish to lure someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona olinguito a small nocturnal tree-dwelling mammal living in cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador; first described in 2013, it is the smallest member of the raccoon family
clickbait (on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular Web page pharmacovigilance the practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use, especially in order to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions
cord cutter a person who cancels a television subscription or landline phone connection in favour of an alternative Internet-based or wireless service pogonophobia extreme dislike of beards
cotch to spend time relaxing side boob side part of a woman’s breast, as exposed by a revealing item of clothing
cray short for ‘crazy’ side-eye a sidelong glance expressing disapproval or contempt
doncha short for’ don’t you’ SMH shaking (or shake) my head (used in e-communication to express disapproval, exasperation, frustration, etc.)
douchebaggery obnoxious or contemptible behaviour spit take (especially as a comic technique) an act of suddenly spitting out liquid one is drinking in response to something funny or surprising
dox / doxx to search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent subtweet (on Twitter) a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them, typically as a form of furtive mockery or criticism
e-cig another term for electronic cigarette trackback an automatic notification sent when a link has been created to a person’s blog post from an external website, allowing a reciprocal link to that website to be created
fandom fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture trigger warning a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material
FML F**k my life! (used to express dismay at a frustrating or irritating personal situation) vape inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device
fratty characteristics or a student fraternity or its members vax a vaccine or vaccination
hench (of a man) being strong, fit, and having well-developed muscles WDYT abbreviation: What do you think? (used in electronic communication)
hexacopter an unmanned helicopter having six rotors YOLO abbreviation: You only live once (expressing the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future, and often used as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behaviour)
hot diggity used to express excitement or delight at a situation zonkey the hybrid offspring of a donkey and a zebra


The majority of them are pretty new to us too. Let us know what you think of them. Do you use any in your vocabulary?

The STAR Team

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