Most logophiles and word nerds cherish their local dictionary. Typically ensconced in a warm light, these go-to resources hold a place somewhere among any collection of great works of American literature (alongside your brutally earmarked volumes of the “for dummies” series).
Thank God for Noah Webster’s fascination for etymology at the turn of the 19th century!
However, that wasn’t good enough for the Brits. So, in 1857, the Philological Society of London decided “that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, and called for a complete re-examination of the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward.”
As of today, that austere compilation of the Queen’s English known as the Oxford English Dictionary is officially the worst compendium of any language in the history of ever.
Every now and again, we hear about the “Word of the Year” provided by the publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Last year, the book offered “selfie“ as its selection and the world went bonkers.
Coming from the world of PR, I say that’s a brilliant way to raise awareness. The media loves lists and debates; make it inventive, and you have a guaranteed story. Someone in England is earning his or her money.
However, all good things must come to an end — and it’s time for someone to take the OED out back and turn it into a fresh batch of glue. This thing jumped so high over the shark that the Fonz lost sight of it in the clouds.
As noted in Time magazine, that hoo-haw gaggle in London made a complete mockery of itself by adding “important” words, such as Amazeballs, Bro hug, Cray, FML, Hot mess, ICYMI, and Side boob.
See, doltish text lingo and pre-teen acronyms are words too. This thing is a bit.
It seems that, if a word trends globally for more than a day, it could become fodder for the OED. There doesn’t need to be any rich history, systemic reasoning, or longstanding tradition behind the choices any longer. As long as you text your illiteracy, “SRSLY” can appear in those once-hallowed pages.
“These are words that are common enough that you are likely to encounter them, and may have to look up their meanings,” said Oxford Dictionaries editor Katherine Martin to the AP (via Newser).
Anyone see her tongue firmly planted in her cheek? It’s almost like the British makers of this coffee table book (which in this case means ‘a book that will help balance an old coffee table’) are trolling us Yanks by sprucing up slang from the Urban Dictionary.
Good on them for making news and bad on us for making it news.
It SRSLY gives me logorrhea. LOL.
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