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18.06 30 Jan 2018


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The Oxford English Dictionary has announced several new entries in its latest update.

It includes more than 1,100 phrases and senses from around the alphabet - including a selection of new entries relating to the language of modern parenting.

'Hangry' - a blend of hungry and angry used colloquially to mean 'bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger' - makes it in.

The dictionary says the earliest known evidence for the word dates from 1956.

The phrase 'Me time' also gets a nod.

This is time devoted to doing what one wants, typically by one's self, as opposed to working or doing things for others.

'Snowflake' has made it through also.

The dictionary says: "The use of snowflake as a derogatory term has become prominent on social media in recent years, but it has its roots in more positive connotations.

"The OED’s entry traces snowflake back to 1983 in a more affirmative sense, referring to a person, especially a child, regarded as having a unique personality and potential.

But it says the word has come to be used "as an insulting term for a person characterised as overly sensitive or easily offended".

The word 'selfy' has been added for the first time.

Unlike the noun 'selfie', the adjective dates to the 17th century as a Scottish word meaning 'self-centred' or 'selfish'.

"In the same alphabetic range, dozens of new entries derived from self- prefix were added to the dictionary in this update, including self-published, self-deport, self-identified, self-radicalization, and self-determinism," the dictionary says.

Some of the highlights are listed below below.

Mansplain

Just a decade ago, the verb mansplain did not exist, but the word and the concept (a man’s action of explaining something needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly, especially to a woman, in a manner thought to reveal a patronising or chauvinistic attitude) are now an established part of English-language discourse.

Hangry

It is only in the 21st century that the word hangry, a blend of hungry and angry used colloquially to mean ‘bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger’, has entered common use.

However, the earliest known evidence for the word dates from 1956, in an unusual article in the psychoanalytic journal American Imago that describes various kinds of deliberate and accidental wordplay.

The author mentions hangry in a discussion of words formed by contraction or elision. Some of these, like brunch, were already established at the time, but most of them, such as criumph (a crime triumph), and sexperience (sexual experience) have still not caught on with the English-speaking public.

Me time

Me time is time devoted to doing what one wants (typically on one’s own), as opposed to working or doing things for others, considered as important in reducing stress or restoring energy. The term is first attested in the publication Helping yourself with Cosmic Healing (1980) by Unity minister Rebekah Dunlap: ‘Arrange during each day to have some “me time”.'

This is the third compound to be added to the OED’s entry for 'me' - the other two, both dating from the late 1970s, are 'me decade' and 'me generation'.

Snowflake

The OED’s entry traces snowflake back to 1983 in a more affirmative sense, referring to a person, especially a child, regarded as having a unique personality and potential.

The metaphor was based on the notion of every snowflake being one of a kind in appearance.

Over time, the term’s meaning shifted, and snowflake came be used as an insulting term for a person characterised as overly sensitive or easily offended, or as feeling entitled to special treatment or consideration.

In this way, the original idea of a snowflake’s uniqueness has been displaced by allusion to its fragility.

Selfy

Selfie n. has been in the OED since 2014, but the adjective selfy is now added for the first time. Selfy is rare in modern use but dates to the 17th century as a Scottish word meaning ‘self-centred’ or ‘selfish’.

In the same alphabetic range, dozens of new entries derived from self- prefix were added to the dictionary in this update, including self-published, self-deport, self-identified, self-radicalization, and self-determinism.

Swag

A new entry has been added for swag, derived from swagger, and used in slang to denote ‘bold self-assurance in style or manner’, or ‘an air of great self-confidence or superiority’.

Tom Swifty

A Tom Swifty is a type of wordplay, a humorous sentence consisting typically of reported speech attributed to a speaker (frequently ‘Tom’), followed by an adverb which relates punningly to what has been said (for instance: ‘I like modern painting,’ said Tom abstractly).


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