Lowering The Bar

Monday, September 6, 2010

Picture: Changizi

There seems to have been a relative lowering of standards with regards to what gets into the Oxford English Dictionary...
  • Turducken (although it has the most fabulous definition... "A coming together of three words and of three birds. As a blend of the nouns duck and chicken are affixed to the first part of the word turkey, so a boned chicken is used to stuff a boned duck, which is in turn used to stuff a partially boned turkey. The result, in both cases, might equally be regarded as inventive, elegant, and appetizing, or as an ungainly way of overdoing things somewhat.")
  • Big whoop (does anybody say that? Who isn’t in primary school?)
  • Girlcott
  • Blankie
  • and, best of all... anyhoo.
Now, while you might expect the Oxford American Dictionary* or the Macquarie Dictionary to come up with new and strange additions, I was a little taken aback at some of the OED’s latest. Have they followed the fashion trend of having a guest editor? It is a training ground for future Harper’s Bazaar bloggers?

I’m all in favour of new words – I just wish they were for something useful. Or at least interesting. Giving credence to the dodgier elements of pop culture just doesn’t seem like a terribly good justification.

Picture: Robbie Jenkins on Etsy

And while there is usually a fluster of publicity around the new words that get in to the dictionary, is there a quieter and more stealthy process of getting rid of words? Somewhere, in a dark corner of a university, people might be sitting with lists of words to execute. “Galoshes? Nope, don’t need that. Nobody wears galoshes any more.” Or applying the slow death of putting “archaic” next to things, so that anybody using them can be clearly identified as an old fool who doesn’t know their locavore from their elbow.

* Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Shouldn’t it be something like the Yale American Dictionary?

bicocacolors on September 7, 2010 at 1:42 AM

Really beautiful post!!!
i looove all graphics things!
this is a great idea!
greetings from Spain

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella on September 7, 2010 at 4:45 PM

hehe I knew something was a bit strange when Bootylicious made it into the dictionary!

carlie on September 8, 2010 at 10:45 AM

I think it will be ok, as long as "youse" never hits the pages....Carlie

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