Blog Excerpts

Mwahahaha: Oxford Gets Ridic and Goes for the Lolz

Another week, another update from a dictionary publisher reflecting recent additions to the lexicon. Last week, it was Merriam-Webster rolling out new words, including such eyebrow-raisers as f-bomb and sexting. Now comes Oxford Dictionaries Online with their quarterly update, making space for some trendy neologisms, including lolz, ridic, and the nefarious mwahahaha.

In the selection released by Oxford University Press, there are plenty of items that push the boundaries of slangy usage, often powered by social media. Here is a sampling:

  • date night, n.: a prearranged occasion on which an established couple, esp. one with children, go for a night out together.
  • dirty martini, n.: a cocktail made with gin (or vodka), dry vermouth, and a small amount of olive brine, typically garnished with a green olive.
  • dog food, v. [new sense, chiefly computing]: (of a company's staff) use a product or service developed by that company so as to test it before it is made available to customers.
  • douche, n. [new sense]: an obnoxious or contemptible person. Also douchey, adj.
  • Dunbar's number, n.: a theoretical limit to the number of people with whom any individual is able to sustain a stable or meaningful social relationship (usually considered to be roughly 150).
  • e-cigarette, n.:  another term for electronic cigarette.
  • e-learning, n.: learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet.
  • ethical hacker, n.: a person who hacks into a computer network in order to test or evaluate its security, rather than with malicious or criminal intent.
  • manage expectations, phr.: seek to prevent disappointment by establishing in advance what can realistically be achieved or delivered by a project, undertaking, course of action, etc.
  • genius, adj. [new sense]: very clever or ingenious.
  • group hug, n.: a number of people gathering together to hug each other, typically to provide support or express solidarity.
  • guilty pleasure, n.: something, such as a film, television programme, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.
  • hackathon, n.: an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.
  • hat tip, n.: (in online contexts) used as an acknowledgement that someone has brought a piece of information to the writer's attention, or provided the inspiration for a piece of writing.
  • hosepipe ban, n.: an official restriction on the use of hosepipes, imposed by a particular water company on its customers during a water shortage.
  • inbox, v.: send a private message or an email to (someone, typically another member of a social networking site or Internet message board).
  • lifecasting, n.: the practice of broadcasting a continuous live flow of video material on the Internet which documents one's day-to-day activities.
  • lolz, pl. n.: fun, laughter, or amusement.
  • mansion tax, n.: a tax levied on residential properties worth more than a certain amount.
  • micro pig, n.: a pig of a very small, docile, hairless variety, sometimes kept as a pet.
  • mood disorder, n.: a psychological disorder characterized by the elevation or lowering of a person's mood, such as depression or bipolar disorder.
  • mwahahaha, exclamation: used to represent laughter, esp. manic or cackling laughter such as that uttered by a villainous character in a cartoon or comic strip.
  • NFC, abbrev.: near field communication, a technology allowing the short-range wireless intercommunication of mobile phones and other devices for purposes such as making payments.
  • OH, n.: a person's wife, husband, or partner (used in electronic communication).
  • photobomb, v.: spoil a photograph of (a person or thing) by suddenly appearing in the camera's field of view as the picture is taken, typically as a prank or practical joke (n.: photobombing).
  • ridic, adj.: ridiculous (abbrev.).
  • ripped, adj. [new sense]: having well-defined or well-developed muscles; muscular.
  • soul patch, n.: a small tuft of facial hair directly below a man's lower lip.
  • takeaway, n. [new sense]: a key fact, point, or idea to be remembered, typically one emerging from a discussion or meeting.
  • tweeps, pl. n.: a person's followers on the social networking site Twitter.
  • UI, n.: short for 'user interface.'
  • user experience, n.: the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or a computer application, esp. in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use (also UX, n.).
  • vajazzle, v.: adorn the pubic area (of a woman) with crystals, glitter, or other decoration.
  • video chat, n.: a face-to-face conversation held over the Internet by means of webcams and dedicated software.
  • vote, v. [new sense: vote someone/thing off the island]: dismiss or reject someone or something as unsatisfactory [with reference to the reality television Survivor).
  • Wikipedian, n.: a person who contributes to the collaboratively written online encyclopedia Wikipedia, esp. on a regular basis.
  • 3D printing, n.: a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material.

Surveying the list, Katy Steinmetz of Time NewsFeed wondered, "Do you ever get the feeling that we're getting less articulate?" What do you think of the additions? Let us know in the comments below!

Rate this article:

Click here to read more articles from Blog Excerpts.

Join the conversation

Comments from our users:

Thursday August 23rd 2012, 11:26 AM
Comment by: Rain
What exactly do the initials "OH" stand for, when referring to one's spouse?
Thursday August 23rd 2012, 11:39 AM
Comment by: Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
Rain: I believe it stands for "(one's) other half."
Thursday August 23rd 2012, 3:01 PM
Comment by: TheErn (Bedford, TX)
I'm thinking MW's rather quick on such as "hosepipe ban" and "NFC"(both of which haven't gotten around as yet -- at least to this neck of the woods, as far as I know, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area)but somewhat sluggish on "dirty martini" and "ripped"(which have been in common usage for many years now).
Thursday August 23rd 2012, 3:05 PM
Comment by: TheErn (Bedford, TX)
Whoops, my gaff -- 'twas the Oxford's quickness and laxity I was referring to above. Sorry.
Saturday August 25th 2012, 2:23 AM
Comment by: Victor G. (Vancouver Canada)
The first thing I thought was "Old Hag", but "Other Half" sounds more plausible if it's a unisex term.
Saturday August 25th 2012, 5:28 PM
Comment by: Kristine F.Top 10 Commenter
Victor, another possibility is that OH stands for what the bride said when she realized she had married a sexist jerk: "Oh Hell!"

The Happy Quibbler
Sunday August 26th 2012, 8:51 AM
Comment by: ahsanmahsan (Pakistan)
very informative. . .!
Thursday September 20th 2012, 3:30 PM
Comment by: Roger B. (Lima Peru)
Amazing how powerful neologisms can be! I never thought I'd see the day when the absurd MWAHAHAHA would be officially accepted.

Do you have a comment?

Share it with the Visual Thesaurus community.

Your comments:

Sign in to post a comment!

We're sorry, you must be a subscriber to comment.

Click here to subscribe today.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login.