By Stuart Gillespie
If you've sat in the sun this summer and enjoyed some street food washed down with a pear cider, perhaps even taking a selfie of the occasion to post on a social networking site, then you've unwittingly been contributing to the latest quarterly update to Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO).
Apols for the laboured intro – the examples above are just a few of the most recent words to make it into common usage. They've been added to ODO, Oxford University Press's free online dictionary of current English.
Anyone who has seen the now-infamous clips from this year's MTV Video Music Awards will know how to twerk, while fans of political satire The Thick of It may be pleased to learn that omnishambles has made the cut. Technology and fashion are well represented, from bitcoins and unlike to geek chic and double denims, while higher education gets a mention in the form of MOOCs (massive open online courses).
The recent rise in popularity of home baking sees new entries for blondies and cake pops – two things that are guaranteed to make anyone with a sweet tooth squee. But don’t eat too many, or you risk ending up with a food baby.
Angus Stevenson of ODO said: “New words, senses, and phrases are added to ODO when we have gathered enough independent evidence from a range of sources to be confident that they have widespread currency in English. Publishing online allows us to make the results of our research available more quickly than ever before. Each month, we add about 150 million words to our corpus database of English usage examples collected from sources around the world. We use this database to track and verify new and emerging words and senses on a daily basis.
“On average, we add approximately 1,000 new entries to ODO every year, and this quarter's update highlights some fascinating developments in the English language. Portmanteau words, or blends of words, such as phablet and jorts, remain popular, as do abbreviations, seen in new entries such as srsly and apols.”
If you have a FOMO (fear of missing out) on the latest updates from Oxford Dictionaries, follow the team on Twitter @OxfordWords
Ten new words added to Oxford Dictionaries Online
apols, pl. n. (informal): apologies.
blondie, n.: a small square of dense, pale-coloured cake, typically of a butterscotch or vanilla flavour.
cake pop, n.: a small round piece of cake coated with icing or chocolate and fixed on the end of a stick so as to resemble a lollipop.
food baby, n.: a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy.
omnishambles, n. (informal): a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations.
phablet, n.: a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.
selfie, n. (informal): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
squee, exclam. & v. & n. (informal): (used to express) great delight or excitement.
twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
vom, v. & n. (informal): (be) sick; vomit.
Reproduced with kind permission from the University of Oxford press office