News: YOLO and ‘Merica Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

November 3, 2016 Natalie Williams

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) recently released its quarterly update with over 1,000 new words and definitions to be included in the dictionary. Wordsmiths at the OED scour the English-speaking world for new words to add to the dictionary, choosing those with strong evidence that they are widely used in a variety of sources in print or online.

The team tracks words in corpuses (electronic text collections containing billions of words) and analyzes online databases and materials submitted by the public through reading programs, according to The Guardian.

New words added to the OED in September 2016 include:

  • YOLO: an acronym for "you only live once".

  • Squee: a word used to express excitement.

  • Cheeseball: someone or something lacking taste, style or originality.

  • Slacktivism: actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement.

  • 'Merica (also Murica): a truncated form of "America" that's used to humorously emphasize qualities regarded as stereotypically American.

  • Yogalates: a fitness routine that combines Pilates and yoga.

Click here to view the complete list of new words.

In the past, a new term had to be used over a period of two or three years before it was included in the OED, but the digital age means words can achieve enormous popularity with wider audiences in a much shorter space of time.

September 2016 also marks the centennial birthday of author and screenwriter Roald Dahl, and to mark this occasion the OED included new and revised entries for words the author used in his writing, including 'splendiferous', 'human bean', 'Dahlesque' and 'scrumdiddlyumptious'.

To read more about how these words were chosen, please see: New words notes September 2016.

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About the Author

Natalie Williams

Natalie was born and raised in Montana where she graduated from The University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration. Her international experience includes two summer programs, one at The European Business School in Germany and the other at The University of Brescia in Italy. She studied a variety of global business subjects including international business, trade, culture and language. Key projects for her undergrad studies included meeting with executives from large corporations such as Lufthansa, Opel and The European Central Bank as well as working with the design team on the marketing plan for the 2015 World Fair in Milan, Italy. She has a range of global event management experience including organization of the Annual Mansfield Conference on the Middle East and the China Town Hall meeting series. Her hobbies include beading, yoga, cooking, reading, being outdoors and traveling.

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