The Oxford University Press is adding a new list of entries to its online Oxford Dictionaries to reflect how the English language has evolved in our modern times. Chief among these new words include teenage-friendly terms our grandparents have no idea what they are all about.
A few years from now, it would probably become normal to read something like this:
"Don't want to humblebrag but these side boobs make me a hot mess. FML! Should prolly go on a cray Paleo diet to start looking adorbs again. WDYT? Gimme a bro hug!"
For those who do not understand what any of those words mean, it's time to check out Oxford Dictionaries, an arm of Oxford University Press that focuses exclusively on the current use of English. Editors for the website monitor more than a hundred million English words used on the Internet. Every so often, Oxford Dictionaries decides to publish a list of new words that are used so widely that they are entitled to their own dictionary entry to keep parents and grandparents updated about what their teens are talking about.
"These are words that are common enough that you are likely to encounter them, and may have to look up their meanings," says Katherine Martin, editor at Oxford Dictionaries.
Also included in the list of new words is "amazeballs," a term used to describe something very impressive, and "doncha," a modern take on the contraction "don't you." It's amazeballs how the English language has evolved so quickly in the last few years, doncha think?
The new additions also indicate the technology industry's influence on the language, with words such as "clickbait," "Deep Web," "hyperconnected," "listicle" and "smartwatch" making it to the list. When Internet users click on an article just because the title is too controversial to pass up, that is when the clickbait worked. Listicles, on the other hand, are everywhere. These are what the articles readers see on the Internet that are more like numbered or bulleted lists than articles. As for a smartwatch, that is what Apple is secretly working on, a wrist device that is supposed to be better than an ordinary watch. This is what we get for living in a hyperconnected world, except for the Deep Web which isn't easily accessible via the search engines.
But fear not, ye well-lettered defenders of the English language. These words will not be making an appearance in the more formal Oxford English Dictionary just yet. For any word to make it to the patriarch of Oxford dictionaries, it has to demonstrate a significant historical impact and, so far, "YOLO" hasn't caused a revolution yet.
"For some of these, we will say 'What was that?' in a decade," says Martin. "Others may become the next selfie. The English-speaking public will choose."