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New Words AGAIN!?!?!?!? WTF!?!?!?!?!?

Frederick James Furnival finds your lively patois invigorating. Now STFU.

Yes, it’s about that time of year. The WTF? New Words!!! time of year. Making the rounds of blogs and the mainstream media are sure to be the amused observations that the Oxford American Dictionary has added X word or Y expression or Z piece of trendy teenspeak to its pages, reportedly giving schoolteachers agita and providing children and adolescents (who are the only people using the dictionary, right?) with new ways to abuse the American language and claim that they, not bland-ass adults with IQs of 103, are the arbiters of culture. Weird, huh!?!? New words added to the language, almost like it was, like, a living thing or something, huh!?!?

I think we can all agree to bawl and shout and jump up and down and wear party hats and dance some sort of goddamn jig or something about the arrival of such internet- and text-friendly terms as “BFF,” “hashtag,” “defriend,” “LMAO” and “TTYL” into the Oxford American Dictionary.

In fact I, personally, am so unbelievably excited to drone on with faux-hipness and thinly-disguised self-important pseudo-intellectual snootiness about how fascinating it is to see these new terms enter the dictionary that I’m considering applying for a job at a newspaper.

But I’m just so damned busy puzzling over the complete list of additions at the Oxford University Press blog that I’d prefer to keep writing for Techyum, which doesn’t have deadlines. I mean, like, dude. “Bromance?” “Hashtag?” “Hater?” “LBD,” “Paywall?” “Social networking?” Okay. “Steampunk?” “Lipstick lesbian”? Um, all right. “Tag cloud?” Sure. “Tramp stamp?” Like, NSS.

But “gal pal”? “wardrobe malfunction”? “waterboarding”? “webisode?” “the new black?” “my bad”? “what’s not to like?” “like herding cats”? “made man”? Were these things, like, queued up since 1986 or something? Or did I actually become very slightly ahead of the curve on language while I was busy trying to sleep through the press conference on the latest Hollywood remake of Cat on a Roomba Slapping a Pit Bull?

And when it comes to single-source words like “hockey mom” and “truthiness,” or obvious marketing tags like “staycation” — are these honestly new words or clever ideas intended to hawk a political, sales or satirical agenda? In the era of social media, does a large enough number of hits on Google entitle any stumbling Memeasaurus to add whatever crap to the dictionary gets a round of applause at a rally in Knoxville?

Because y’know, Oxford…I kinda feel an attack of Slapsgiving coming on.

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  1. September 21st, 2010 at 14:32 | #1

    Your examples are way over the top, and I agree most of those are ridiculous. But some words took new meanings without you even realizing. Take “flight” for example. Since when did this become a noun? I bet you never once complained when someone said ‘I have to catch my flight.’
    Same concept, except it happened under the surface.

    http://fyfeblawg.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/repurposedwords/

  1. September 28th, 2010 at 06:08 | #1