This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 13 October 2016

Old words for new: a rant.

Ah, the lovely Oxford English Dictionary: the biggest dictionary in the world, written by a hugely expert and knowledgeable range of editors. 

The online edition is even updated four times a year. 

I mean, what more could you ask? 

Well...

...let's look at some of the new words that have entered the dictionary in the current quarter, shall we? There's scrummy, and then there's splenderiferous, too. These cherishable and widely-understood words are both from the works of Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990), and it's that last date that's the reason I sit here with the OED on the shelf and my Collins dictionary on my desk. 

The fact is that it's taken over a quarter of a century for the delectable scrummy to find its way into the OED.

Other new words in this update include transporter (as in Star Trek, first aired in 1966), gender-fluid (coined 1981) and, indeed, Dahlesque, from 1983.

I know that scholarship is painstaking, but, good grief. Am I supposed to wait half a lifetime to understand a new word? 

...um...

...well, presumably that must be a yes, then.

Word To Use Today. A quite new one. Twitterrhea?? It means the excessive use of Twitter. I'm afraid don't know who coined this word because it's not in the dictionary, yet. The word Twitter was originally twittr (in an analogy with Flickr), employed by founder Jack Dorsey as an extension of twitter's established meaning of a short burst of inconsequential information. 

The rhea bit is, obviously, from the American spelling of diarrhoea, which is to be found in all good dictionaries.




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