21 Problems But A Word Ain’t One: Buzzwords Added to the Oxford Dictionary



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There is no doubt that the viral nature of social media, tech and pop culture has penetrated the very language we communicate with– So much so that the Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) is adding words that only recently came into general usage:

  1. apols, pl. n. (informal): apologies.
  2. bitcoin, n.: a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.
  3. buzzworthy, adj. (informal): likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.
  4. BYOD, n.: abbreviation of ‘bring your own device’: the practice of allowing the employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes.
  5. click and collect, n.: a shopping facility whereby a customer can buy or order goods from a store’s website and collect them from a local branch.
  6. derp, exclam. & n. (informal): (used as a substitute for) speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action.
  7. digital detox, n.: a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
  8. emoji, n: a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.
  9. FIL, n.: a person’s father-in-law (see also MIL, BIL, SIL).
  10. FOMO, n.: fear of missing out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
  11. hackerspace, n.: a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.
  12. Internet of things, n.: a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. 
  13. me time, n. (informal): time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.
  14. omnishambles, n. (informal): a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.
  15. phablet, n.: a smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.
  16. 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.
  17. squee, exclam. & v. & n. (informal): (used to express) great delight or excitement.
  18. srsly, adv. (informal): short for ‘seriously’.
  19. TL;DR, abbrev.: ‘too long didn’t read’: used as a dismissive response to a lengthy online post, or to introduce a summary of a lengthy post.
  20. twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
  21. unlike, v.: withdraw one’s liking or approval of (a web page or posting on a social media website that one has previously liked)

Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, and emeritus chair of the American Heritage Dictionary usage panel said: “It used to be in order to make the dictionary, you had to have respectable antecedents in literary usage, but now they pick words because of Reddit and things like that generating buzz.”

Is this the best approach to adding to our lexicon? Can you think of any viral words that the Oxford Online Dictionary missed? Tweet us your buzzwords!

Jackie Davalos is also a blogger on all things social and digital at You can find her on Twitter @Jackiedava.

Featured image credit to She Lived In a Shoe

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