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Amazeballs! Word is out, words are in

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 14, 2014

Amazeballs and binge-watch are two of the new words that have made the Oxford Dictionary

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Language experts at Oxford Dictionaries today announce the latest update to their free online dictionary of English at OxfordDictionaries.com.

Reflecting research into current language usage trends, new entries include adorbs, binge-watch, cray, humblebrag, listicle, neckbeard, SMH, side boob, vape, and YOLO.

Use of the word binge-watch has shown a steady increase over the past two years, with notable spikes in usage recorded around the Netflix releases of House of Cards, season two in February, and Orange is The New Black, season two in June. According to Oxford's language monitoring programme, the use of binge-watch increased fourfold in February and tripled in June, based on its average use over the last two years. Changes in our media consumption habits also see hate-watch, listicle, live-tweet, second screen, sentiment analysis, cord cutting, and hyperconnected added to OxfordDictionaries.com in this update. Technology more broadly continues to have a strong influence on the English language, and is reflected in new entries including acquihire, clickbait, Deep Web, dox, fast follower, geocache, in silico, octocopter, responsive, smartwatch, and tech-savvy.

Oxford Dictionaries editor Katherine Connor Martin said: "One of the advantages of our unique language monitoring programme is that it enables us to explore how English language evolves differently across the world. Naturally, many words are used in similar frequencies in the UK and US, for instance the informal additions amazeballs and neckbeard. However, some new slang and informal words catch on much more quickly in a particular variety of English – for instance, in our monitoring sample, side boob is more than 10 times more common in the UK than in the US (although this is due in part to its frequent use in the British media), whereas adorbs is used about four times more often in the US as in the UK."

There has been an approximate tenfold increase in usage of the terms vape and e-cig in the last two years, as electronic devices which enable people to inhale smokeless nicotine vapour have become increasingly widespread. E-cigarette, added to OxfordDictionaries.com in August 2012, has seen an even sharper rise in usage.

However, despite the fact that e-cigarettes were not commercially available until the 21st century, the word vaping dates to 1983, when it was used to describe a hypothetical smoking device being considered at the time. Other additions related to current health affairs include vax, anti-vax, and anti-vaxxer, pharmacovigilance, 5:2 diet, Paleo diet, and hippotherapy.

Other informal or slang terms added to OxfordDictionaries.com today include Bank of Mum and Dad, bro hug, cray, hench, hot mess, humblebrag, mansplain, side-eye, and spit-take. The abbreviation cray ('crazy'), seems to have arisen initially in the reduplicated form cray cray in the early 2000s, but it was popularised in its single-syllable form when used by Kanye West in the hook to a track from his album with Jay Z.

New words, senses, and phrases are added to OxfordDictionaries.com once editors have gathered enough independent evidence from a range of sources to be confident that they have widespread currency in English. Each month, Oxford Dictionaries collects examples of around 150 million words in use from sources around the world, and adds these to the Oxford Corpus. The editors use this database to track and verify new and emerging word trends. Each year, more than 1,000 additions are made to OxfordDictionaries.com

What's the difference between OxfordDictionaries.com and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)? The new entries have been added to OxfordDictionaries.com, not the OED.

The English language dictionary content on OxfordDictionaries.com focuses on current English and includes modern meanings of words and associated usage examples. The OED, on the other hand, is an historical dictionary and forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day.

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