Is it Christmas? Because it kind of feels like Christmas.
The Oxford English Dictionary revealed the latest incarnation of itself recently, and it includes more than 1,200 additions to its catalogued list of accepted words. For a proud member of the (completely made-up) “Word Nerd Herd,” this is an exciting time.
It is an opportunity to expand our vocabularies. To move forward with this ever-changing language known as English, and to incorporate words into the realm of “acceptable” usage that have been developed through new technological advances or slang from young people that has been used to such a great extent that it has now officially made its way into the mainstream.
I know, I know. This isn’t as fascinating to many of you as it is to me. But when you write hundreds of thousands of words a year and feel like you’re getting a bit repetitive with some of the things you express, you just want to take a giant leap off...
But I digress.
See what I mean? Somehow, I feel as if I’ve used that sentence before.
Regardless, Oxford has legitimized some more words for us this year, and I couldn’t be happier. With Google and Wikipedia and countless other online resources available, I’m not sure if things are still the same as they were when I was younger. But we weren’t allowed to use words that weren’t in the dictionary, either in school or at home.
I searched high and low for a dictionary that included “ain’t” or, well, words that were much more on the blue end of the spectrum for describing my little sister, but to no avail. And if it wasn’t in Oxford or Merriam-Webster, it was not a word.
And if you said something that was not a “word” in my house, with my mother being an English and Latin teacher, well... It was best to just stick to “words.”
So, with that remarkably boring story behind us, let’s move on to the excitement of the new words that have been deemed as legitimate this year by the fine people at Oxford:
• ’Merica — Yeah, I’m not really feeling this one as a word, to be honest with you. It’s a shortened version of this nation, and often used disparagingly to summarize a person or group of people as being simple-minded, and then tying it in to the current state of our country.
Person A: “School’s not important. I plan on making a viral video one day and becoming super-famous like Beyonce.” Person B, shaking his or her head: “‘Merica.”
• Moobs — Yes, the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen to include a nickname for male breasts, otherwise known as “man boobs.” I guess with general obesity levels climbing across the board, people living to older ages and a general lack of walking anywhere farther than our cars, male breasts have been on the rise, so to speak. Again, I’m not entirely sure this had to make its way into our accepted lexicon, but there it is.
Person A: “I really have to get in better shape. My moobs are becoming distracting.” Person B: Vom.
• Vom — Short for “vomit.” Because, you know, we’re too lazy anymore to actually extend ourselves to the point of saying words that contain two syllables. Oxford, what are you doing to me?
Person A: “I have to vom.” Person B: “Don’t do it on your moobs.”
• Gender-fluid — This describes when someone’s gender identity shifts between masculine and feminine, according to a detailed breakdown on cnn.com.
Person A: “I’m having a fairly gender-fluid day.” Person B: “Hi, Tom Maglio.”
• YOLO — This is an acronym for the throw-caution-to-the-wind concept of You Only Live Once. Though I’ve never been a giant fan of this term, I’m a little surprised this hasn’t already made its way into the dictionary as it’s become such a common word.
Person A: “Well, I hate my job. I hate the people I work with. I hate how little they pay me. I hate my commute to work. I’m quitting.” Person B: “YOLO. Eating is way overrated, anyway.”
• Non-apology — This is when you are basically sorry that you are not sorry. Personally, I believe the “non” and the “apology” kind of explain it already, but I don’t work at Oxford, so it’s not my call.
Person A: “Did you really just take the last slice of pizza without asking anybody else if they wanted it?” Person B: “Yeah, it was pepperoni. I’m going to offer you a pretty fat non-apology on that one. By the way, is that sauce on my moobs? Oh, well. YOLO.”
• Clickbait: This is when someone puts something online with a teaser or headline that basically forces someone to click on the link and go to the website. You will see a lot of the alternative news sites use this to attract visitors.
Person A: “Whoa. Did you see this headline? It says that the coach of the Falcons called his own quarterback overrated.” Person B: “I did see that. It’s clickbait. The article actually said that an anonmyous person told another anonymous person that he heard from a guy at the gas station that the coach felt the quarterback was not as far along in his growth as he’d prefer.”
• Yogalates — This is a mash-up of yoga and Pilates, as described by US Magazine (Don’t judge). This was pretty inevitable, as the word has grown in popularity along with the exercise.
Person A: “I feel so much better since I started with the yogalates.” Person B: “I tried it once, but it only made me vom.” Person A: “Fight through it. YOLO.”