It’s a special day and it comes but once a year. For word-nerds, it beats the heck out of birthdays. It is the day, of course, when the Oxford Press unveils the latest additions to its American dictionary. The announcement reminds us of the phrases, idioms, acronyms, and words we take for granted. Like a mirror held up to society, the entries also reflect our current cultural values and preoccupations. The title of Oxford’s blog post announcing the new additions put it best: “My BFF just told me ‘TTYL’ is in the dictionary. LMAO.”
Here’s a sampling of personal favorites:
cougar (new usage) informal an older woman seeking a sexual relationship with a younger man.
eggcorn n. a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one that sounds very similar or identical (e.g., tow the line instead of toe the line).
– ORIGIN early 21st cent.: with reference to a misinterpretation of acorn.
flyover (new usage) informal, derogatory denoting central regions of the US regarded as less significant than the East or West coasts: the flyover states.
green-collar adj. denoting or relating to employment concerned with products and services designed to improve the quality of the environment: green-collar jobs.
– ORIGIN on the pattern of white-collar and blue-collar.
LBD n. (pl. LBDs) informal little black dress: you can’t go wrong with an LBD for premières or parties.
– ORIGIN abbreviation.
own (new usage) informal utterly defeat or humiliate: yeah right, she totally owned you, man.
truthiness n. informal the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.
– ORIGIN early 19th cent. (in the sense ‘truthfulness’): coined in the modern sense by US humorist Stephen Colbert (1964–).
wardrobe malfunction n. informal, humorous an instance of a person accidentally exposing an intimate part of their body as a result of an article of clothing slipping out of position.
what’s not to like? informal used as a rhetorical expression of approval or satisfaction: cleaner air, cooler temperatures, and mountain views—what’s not to like?
(Thanks, The Book Bench.)