‘Geek chic’ and ‘paywall’ make new Chambers Dictionary
Words deriving from the “geek chic” trend include “paywall” – an arrangement allowing only paid-up subscribers access to a website – and “webisode”, a short episode, usually of a TV show, first broadcast on the net.
The recession has provided a whole new lexicon, from “double dip” – a recession in which a brief period of growth is followed by decline – to “haircut”, referring to the proportion of an asset paid to a broker when the asset is used as collateral in a transaction.
“Green words” include “green collar” a term for jobs in the environmental sector, while “rewilding” refers to releasing an animal from captivity or returning land to its natural state.
Compilers acknowledge references celebrating male culture abound, reflecting what some call the budding men’s liberation movement.
They also admit some words are not entirely complimentary towards men.
On the positive side, “bromance” – a close, but not romantic or sexual relationship between two men – is included while to “man up”, meaning to assume responsibility, is also listed.
For the first time the dictionary contains “The Word Lover’s Miscellany” a new section containing words ranging from those with pleasing sounds such as “bobolink” – a North American songbird – to those deemed cingeworthy such as “journey”, meaning a set of personal experiences.
The dictionary still features many Scottish words such as “jo”, meaning beloved, and “rudas” – a foul-mouthed old woman.
David Swarbrick, managing director of Chambers, said words in the dictionary, especially new words, provided a “snapshot” of society.
He said: “These words offer a portrait of Britain. It is almost scientific but we are not making a judgment, merely saying, ‘This is what happened in the past three to four years’.
“I would say that a number of the new words don’t look as positive as those in previous decades.
“While we have lots of ‘green’ words, which is positive, we also have some which are morally challenging such as ‘freegan’, ie someone rummaging for free food, which comes from the more extreme end of the green agenda.”
Mr Swarbrick said that it could take years for new words to be included in the Chambers Dictionary. He added: “It is probably more difficult for new words to get into our dictionary than into others.
“We look for a wide distribution of words being used in the mainstream, on television, in the pub in e-mails, becoming common currency before they make it in.”
NEW entries in the 12th edition of the Chambers Dictionary include:
Dubstep: A type of electronic popular dance music developed from dub and drum and bass.
Labradoodle: A cross between a labrador and a poodle, bred for its gentle character traits.
Season creep: Referring to changes in the timing of the seasons.
NEET: A person not in employment, education or training.
Steampunk: A genre of science fiction set in the era of steam power, especially Victorian Britain, featuring inventions or alternative histories.
Locavore: Someone who will only eat food produced locally.
Mocktail: A non-alcoholic cocktail.
Meh: Expressing indifference or boredom.
Tomb-stoning : An extreme sport of diving into water from a cliff.
25 August 2011 – By SHÂN ROSS