To inform my mother that I had spaghetti for dinner last night, I texted her: ������ “You had noodles and a croissant :-)?” was her reply. My experiment of communicating only in emojis for 24 hours seemed to be getting off to bit of a rocky start.
From 'shiok' to 'narcocorrido' to 'sweary', the OED's new words are a linguistic smorgasbord. They include, for the first time, entries from Singapore and Hong Kong English - and an expression dating back to 1723.
Pull on your budgie smugglers if you can be bovvered, but deffo make sure you don’t end up sleeping with the fishes.
These are some of the 1,000 new words, phrases and senses to make it into the latest quarterly update of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Also included are nearly 2,000 fully revised or partially expanded entries.
The new entries range from the chocolate Afghan biscuit (a New Zealand speciality, topped with cocoa icing and half a walnut) and glamping (glamorous camping) to listicle – a usually derogatory term applied to an article presented wholly or partly in the form of a list that was first recorded in 2007.
Some phrases, familiar in one context, turn out to have a much longer pedigree. Sleep with the fishes, for example is indelibly associated with Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 film The Godfather.
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In the film, a dead fish wrapped in a gangster’s bulletproof vest is interpreted as an old Sicilian message that the vest’s owner, Luca Brasi, is dead. In fact, its origins date at least as far back as the 19th century, when it is recorded in a threat made by disgruntled German villagers against an English angler who was depleting the stocks of their trout streams.
Updates with an Australian flavour include budgie smugglers, a term used since the 1990s to refer to close-fitting swimming trunks, “so called because of the all-too noticeable appearance of a gentleman’s wedding tackle”. Deffo, first recorded in Australia in 1940, also makes an appearance.
Bovver makes an entry. A variant of bother, current since 1871, it was made famous by comedian Catherine Tate in her teenage character Lauren’s much-repeated catchphrase: “Am I bovvered?”
A slew of abbreviations associated with social media, email, texting and other electronic communication are placed in their historical context for the first time, says Jonathan Dent, a senior assistant editor at the OED.
“Perhaps surprisingly, many of these abbreviations for common (and not so common) phrases predate the worldwide web, with the Usenet newsgroup communities of the late 1980s and early 1990s providing most of our earliest citations,” writes Dent on an OED blog.
AFK (away from the keyboard) was first recorded in 1990, and BRB (be right back), TTYL (talk to you later), ltr and l8r (later) all date from 1988. The latest update includes a small but distinct subset of initialisms popularised by parenting websites and forums such as Mumsnet.
Referring to various members of one’s immediate family, these initialisms combine irony and affection: DH (dear/darling husband), from 1993; DD and DS (dear/darling son or daughter), both from 1996; and LO (little one), referring to a child, which was first recorded in 2004.
The indifferent or unenthusiastic IDC (I don’t care) first appeared in 1989, while CBA (can’t be arsed) dates from 1998. Lack of enthusiasm is also evident in tl;dr (too long; didn’t read), which appeared in 2002, “when it formed the entirety of a crushing response to another Usenet user’s thoughts on the computer game Metroid Prime”.
Screenagers dives deep into how technology impacts kid’s development and the challenges of parenting in the digital world where parents must compete with video games, texting addiction, and social media.
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