The Best Additions to the OED: September 2016

This month, as they do every month, the Oxford English Dictionary added a plethora of new words to their all encompassing dictionary. Here are my top 5 favorite new additions to the Oxford English Dictionary for September 2016.

5. Uh-oh, int.

Uh-oh, to linguists, is an amazing word. Not because of what it means or when it’s used, but because it’s one of the only words in the English language that uses the glottal stop. Whenever you learn about the glottal stop, this is the example. It is the go-to glottal stop, and I’m glad that it’s finally getting its due in the OED. In case you’re wondering what a glottal stop is, say ‘Uh-oh’. Notice how you stopped halfway through uh and oh? A lot of languages use that as a device in the middle of words. English doesn’t, and this is one of the only words to do so. Cool, huh?

4. YOLO

I had to put this in there. I mean, c’mon. I know acronyms have made their way into the OED before (see TASER, LASER, SNAFU, FUBAR), but I think it’s great that shitty Millennial/Generation Z speak is finally making its way into the vaults of language. What a wonderful time to be alive.

Oh. You didn’t know TASER was an acronym? It is! The man who invented the TASER, John Cover, loved ‘Tom Swift’ books when he was a child, and one of them was (however strangely) called ‘Tom Swift and His Electronic Rifle.’ When naming his newly invented device, Cover called it ‘Thomas A. Swift’s Electronic Rifle’, adding the ‘A.’ so the acronym could flow easier.

3. ‘Merica, n.

If you need a reason for why this is awesome, I’ll direct you this link. The link contains sensitive material. Don’t click if you don’t like words like ‘Fuck,’ ‘Balls,’ ‘Shit,’ ‘Tits,’ and ‘Bed, Bath, & Beyond.’

2. Scrumdiddlyumptious, adj.

Although made popular (and invented) by Roland Dahl, I’m choosing this word for a different reason: Ned Flanders. I’d like to think that Dahl’s made up words were the inspiration for Ned Flanders’ ridiculous speech patterns in The Simpsons, and this is one of my favorite Flanders words. Use it. Use it all the time.

You can. It’s in the dictionary now.

1. Upspeak, n.

How was this not in the OED already? This has been used for quite a while in linguistic circles to describe the typical ‘valley girl’ style of speaking? What is upspeak? It’s when you ask everything as a question? With an upward inflection at the end of the sentence? It’s really annoying? Try listening to people speak in normal conversation and see how often they use upspeak? How do they sound to you? Do they seem less intelligent? Less credible? Less confident? Because that’s what upspeak does? Have you been reading this entire section with an upward inflection at the end because of the question marks?

No. You haven’t. So quit speaking that way. It’s actually a really interesting linguistic phenomenon, and some of the social and societal implications for women that use upspeak in particular are rather startling.

 

Did I miss something of grave importance? Are you still reading all these sentences with an upward inflection at the end? Let me know in the comments.

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