New Dictionary Words: extraordinary rendition or girlfriend experience?
June 4, 2007 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Hundreds of 'new' words in the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary (Reuters story), also via BBC, AP and the Fox Television Stations (headline with no story, surprising since its publisher is another Rupert Murdoch subsidiary... but I digress). Some are obvious: hoodie, wiki, POTUS, plasma screen; some reflect our times: Gitmo, Londonistan, extraordinary rendition, carbon footprint; some are absolutely slangy: celebutante, McMansion, muffin top, man bag, disemvowel, barbecue stopper, girlfriend experience... Also in the book: ho. And not the version Santa Claus says. The new dictionary is available "online, on mobiles, as a desktop application or integrated with Microsoft Word" - when you buy the deadtree edition.
posted by wendell (22 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
most of those are oldish already...and they should have used celebuskank instead of celebutante. : >
posted by amberglow at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2007

Santa could keep it down to just one ho.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:32 PM on June 4, 2007

I prefer celebutard.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:33 PM on June 4, 2007

Santa could never keep it down to just one ho.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:33 PM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

From the AP article:

"We describe the language," said Harper Collins spokeswoman Katherine Patrick. "We haven't made up any words, we put in the words that show what we are as an English speaking world."

I wish people realized this about dictionaries - that they describe what's already being said, not what's been deemed correct by some authority somewhere (well, at least in English). Some of my ESL students have asked me in the past whether a certain word is "correct", and I have had to make the point that many words we use today are developing and becoming common faster than we can print dictionaries! Especially for my students who come from language communities that aren't as prolific or numerous as the English-speaking world (I guess that's almost everyone, actually), keeping up with new words is pretty challenging.
posted by mdonley at 2:36 PM on June 4, 2007

I really liked "barbecue stopper".
posted by Ynoxas at 2:43 PM on June 4, 2007

I was just in the restroom getting rid of a barbecue stopper. Er ...

This is going to make this more interesting. Where can I get a full list?
posted by dhartung at 3:10 PM on June 4, 2007

It look right now like you have to buy the book, even if you want to access it via the web... I couldn't find an online version of the press material the news reports came from (which if not all the new words, certainly would have had more), otherwise it would've been my lead link.
posted by wendell at 3:53 PM on June 4, 2007

POTUS is new?
posted by smackfu at 3:53 PM on June 4, 2007

I've always heart it as POT USA.
posted by porpoise at 3:58 PM on June 4, 2007

Until recently, that is, when POTUS seems to be more common now and I rarely see POTUSA.
posted by porpoise at 3:58 PM on June 4, 2007

&defidI'd like to submit Foxtard for a "graduate" of the Murdoch "school" of "journalism." (Urban Dictionary* also has the nice portmanteau foxpert.)
*Today's UD frontpagers include the most egg-selent Kodak courage and dick flick.
posted by rob511 at 5:27 PM on June 4, 2007

arrgh - s/b "I'd like ..."
posted by rob511 at 5:28 PM on June 4, 2007

Actually, maybe I'm familiar with POTUS from Tom Clancy books...
posted by smackfu at 7:03 PM on June 4, 2007

I used to work for Collins Dictionaries. When I first started (which is a decade ago now) there were strict editorial rules about including "buzzy" words. This changed when Oxford started to push new words over scholarly content as a sales gimmick. Collins started throwing every cheap trick in the book in the book, as it were. Tricks like using heavier paper so the comparable book would be bigger than Oxford were common.

The low point was the addition of delia. This wasn't added due to careful analysis of current language-in-use corpora, but because one of the marketing directors thought it up days before the press date for the new Collins Concise English Dictionary. It was deemed mandatory that it be included so a campaign could be built.

Most of the really good staff have left Collins Dictionaries now. It's a shadow of its former self.
posted by scruss at 8:12 PM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like Collins dictionaries. The Oxford English Dictionary people tried to get me sacked after I said, somewhere online, that the entire OED editorial team should lose their first born for taking "Yorkshireman" out of the dictionary. It was 1994, how was I to know there were people who weren't me using the internet? Now I only buy Collins. Smart move, OED.
posted by vbfg at 1:42 AM on June 5, 2007

Disemvowel is just perfect!
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:20 AM on June 5, 2007

The OED has a British slant, and POTUS and SCOTUS aren't really used over here much. I learnt these two on Metafilter.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:50 AM on June 5, 2007

Actually, maybe I'm familiar with POTUS from Tom Clancy books...

There was a West Wing episode a while back which had dialogue that depended on people not being familiar with what "POTUS" was. It's interesting to note little hallmarks like that as terms become more common.
posted by dreamsign at 4:07 AM on June 5, 2007

Rangeboy - shouldn't that be "celebretard"?
posted by starvingartist at 2:02 PM on June 5, 2007

The only thing I would say is while I am the first to defend the idea of a constantly evolving language, so many of these words is so time dependent that I highly doubt that they will be relevant after 10 years or so. I'm all for adding words to the dictionary, but still, wiki? It's more like a proper name or brand, or something. Let's wait a few years to see if it holds. I mean, pretty much no dictionary would need laserdisc anymore...
posted by Deathalicious at 3:40 PM on June 5, 2007

Londonistan? What the hell is with that? I've never heard anyone say that.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 5:42 AM on June 6, 2007

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