The Oxford English Dictionary unveils its latest entries
To fans of the Sonny and Cher hit “I got you babe” it may come as a surprise.
But the word “babe” as a term of endearment has only just been given official recognition in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The new definition, 36 years after the song, takes it place among nearly 2,000 new words to make it into the new edition of the bible of the English language.
Described as a familiar or affectionate form of address for a person, the word is said to apply to both men and women.
The new edition also says that it can apply as a description of an attractive man, as in “he is such a babe”.
Other new entries include “brain candy”, described as undemanding entertainment which is not intellectually stimulating, “urb” as a shortened version of urban, and “crystal methamphetamine”, the narcotic.
Growing concerns over climate change are reflected in a number of words including “environmentally unfriendly” and “green fuel”.
John Simpson, the chief editor of the OED, said that it may appear that many of the words had been around for years, but they are only included when their use is widespread.
“We wait for things to be used regularly in the language for 10 years before we put them in,” he said.
“We would never be able to keep up with every new word. They have to have some longevity and survival.”
The compilers said that language is becoming increasingly dominated by scientific words and phrases.
Whereas a hundred years ago the original OED recorded that scientific words made up 27 per cent of the language, they now make up 31 per cent.
The internet has also brought in a number of words since the beginning of the Millennium.
Net Neutrality and auto-complete were examples in the latest quarterly update.
Richard Alleyne – 16 Jun 2011 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8577428/The-Oxford-English-Dictionary-unveils-its-latest-entries.html