It’s official. “retweet,” “sexting,” and “cyberbullying” have been added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
The dictionary has just relaeased its twelfth edition in celebration of its centenary anniversary. As part of the commemoration, it has added 400 new words, for a total of 240,000 total entries. According to The Telegraph, “the new words were selected after being entered into a database of 2 billion words drawn from contemporary websites and texts to prove their ubiquity.”
These are some of the new words and their definitions:
verb: (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user)
noun: the sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone
noun: the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
The dictionary’s editor Angus Stevenson explained that social media and the Internet have impacted our use of language: “new words often reflect the era in which they were added to the dictionary.” He added, “Some of the subjects you find endlessly now as well as then are new technology, slang and colloquial language.” Some of the new additions from the time included “Kinematograph” — an apparatus producing motion pictures, and “biplane” — a two-winged aeroplane.
New technologies and social trends have influenced the content of the dictionary since its first edition in 1911, but their addition hasn’t always been popular — many of which were considered controversial or racy.
Earlier this year, the abbreviations, “LOL and “OMG” were added to the larger and more inclusive Oxford English Dicitonary. According to a report by AOL news, the new additions aren’t always popular. In response to the new acronyms, Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post referred to them as “physically painful” and claimed that the dictionary is “no place to be hip and cool.”
Mr. Stevenson said that the original founders of the dictionary, brothers Henry and George Fowler, “were tireless in setting out new meanings for words and getting to the bottom of what things meant.”