The rate at which language evolves is determined by the size of the population; the larger the population, the faster language changes, according to a study published earlier this year.
So it seems possible that with the globalisation made possible through the Internet, the English language should be changing at a faster rate than ever before.
Whether that’s the case, we’re certainly seeing a lot of new additions to dictionaries, and a lot of those new additions are slang terms with which your average Internet denizen will be pretty familiar.
In its latest quarterly update, the prestigious Oxford Dictionary has added a bunch of awesomesauce new entries, including a plethora of terms related to technology, Internet culture and popular culture: mecha, kayfabe, social justice warrior and manspreading all make their debut on the Oxford Dictionary website.
“New words, senses and phrases are added to OxfordDictionaries.com when we have gathered enough independent evidence from a wide range of sources to be sure that they have widespread currency in the English language,” explained Oxford Dictionary author Angus Stevenson.
“We do much of this research using a range of corpora, including the Oxford English Corpus, our unique language monitoring programme that represents all types of English, from literary novels and specialist journals to everyday newspapers and magazines, and from Hansard to the language of blogs, emails, and social media. This quarter’s update shows that contemporary culture continues to have an undeniable and fascinating impact on the language.”
It should also be clarified that the only occasions on which a Redditor might rage quite a cat cafe are when no bacon is available; or if it’s one of those Redditors who show up in the “unpopular opinions” AskReddit threads hating on cats. The monsters.
Here’s the full list of newly inducted words, which can now be found onOxfordDictionaries.com:
- awesomesauce, adj.: (US informal) extremely good; excellent
- bants (also bantz), pl. n.: (Brit. informal) playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group; banter
- barbacoa, n.: (in Mexican cooking) beef, lamb, or other meat that has slowly been cooked with seasonings, typically shredded as a filling in tacos, burritos, etc.
- beer o’clock, n: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink beer
- blockchain, n.: a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly
- brain fart, n.: (informal) a temporary mental lapse or failure to reason correctly
- Brexit, n.: a term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union
- bruh, n: (US informal) a male friend (often used as a form of address)
- butt dial, v.: (US informal) inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket
- butthurt, adj.: (US informal) overly or unjustifiably offended or resentful
- cakeage,n.: (informal) a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake they have not supplied themselves
- cat cafe, n.: a café or similar establishment where people pay to interact with cats housed on the premises
- cupcakery, n.: a bakery that specialises in cupcakes
- deradicalisation, n.: the action or process of causing a person with extreme views to adopt more moderate positions on political or social issues
- fast-casual, adj.: denoting or relating to a type of high-quality self-service restaurant offering dishes that are prepared to order and more expensive than those available in a typical fast-food restaurant
- fatberg, n.: a very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets
- fat-shame, v.: cause (someone judged to be fat or overweight) to feel humiliated by making mocking or critical comments about their size
- freekeh, n.: a cereal food made from unripened wheat that has been roasted and crushed into small pieces, used especially in Middle Eastern cookery
- fur baby, n.: a person’s dog, cat, or other furry pet animal
- glanceable, adj.: denoting or relating to information, especially as displayed on an electronic screen, that can be read or understood very quickly and easily
- Grexit, n.: a term for the potential withdrawal of Greece from the eurozone (the economic region formed by those countries in the European Union that use the euro as their national currency)
- hangry, adj.: (informal) bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger
- kayfabe, n.: (US informal) (in professional wrestling) the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic
- MacGyver, v.: (US informal) make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand
- manic pixie dream girl, n.: (especially in film) a type of female character depicted as vivacious and appealingly quirky, whose main purpose within the narrative is to inspire a greater appreciation for life in a male protagonist
- manspreading, n.: the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats
- matcha, n.: powdered green tea leaves, dissolved in hot water to make tea or used as a flavouring
- mecha, n.: (in anime, manga, etc.) a large armoured robot, typically controlled by a person riding inside the robot itself
- meeple, n.: a small figure used as a playing piece in certain board games, having a stylized human form
- mic drop, n.: (informal, chiefly US) an instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive
- microaggression, n.: a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority
- mkay, excl.: (informal, chiefly US) non-standard spelling of OK, representing an informal pronunciation (typically used at the end of a statement to invite agreement, approval, or confirmation)
- Mx, n.: a title used before a person’s surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female
- pocket dial, v.: inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s pocket, as a result of pressure being accidentally applied to a button or buttons on the phone
- pwnage, n.: (informal) (especially in video gaming) the action or fact of utterly defeating an opponent or rival
- rage-quit, v.: (informal) angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating, especially the playing of a video game
- rando, n.: (informal) a person one does now know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behaviour
- Redditor, n.: a registered user of the website Reddit
- skippable, adj.: (of a part or feature of something) able to be omitted or passed over so as to get to the next part or feature
- social justice warrior, n.: (informal, derogatory) a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views
- snackable, adj.: (of online content) designed to be read, viewed, or otherwise engaged with briefly and easily
- spear phishing, n.: the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information
- subreddit, n.: a forum dedicated to a specific topic on the website Reddit
- swatting, n.: (US informal) the action or practice of making a hoax call to the emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address
- weak sauce, n.: (US informal) something that is of a poor or disappointing standard or quality
- wine o’clock, n.: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink wine