Don’t Be Butthurt Over Oxford Dictionary’s New Words

Guest Post by Jasmine June Cabanaw

The Oxford Dictionary recently released its list of newly added words— and it has caused quite the stir. People have been adding words to languages since the beginning of humankind, and yet every time the Oxford Dictionary promotes a slang word to an official one, people get all butthurt about it.

Can you imagine if Shakespeare had received this same kind of backlash? Gone would be the words swag, bedazzled, scuffled, and eyeball— and over a thousand others. Thankfully, the English language was in flux at the time, and instead of a backlash, Shakespeare was honored with helping to standardize the English language.

Among the new words included in Oxford Dictionary’s new list are butthurt, awesomesauce, hangry, and manspreading. And I guess it’s time to update my word program, because all of these words are being highlighted as misspelled on my screen. Come on Apple Pages, get with the program, mkay?

The beauty of being a writer is the ability to play with language; words are putty in our hands and we can mold them into any type of fantastical story we so desire. Shakespeare knew this. Many brilliant writers of our past knew this. So why are modern day writers so slow to realize that slang words are the product of the very type of creativity writers seek to embody?

Don’t be upset about Oxford Dictionary adding words like cat cafe, Redditor, rage-quit, snackable, brain fart, and bruh. If the addition of “manic pixie dream girl” has your panties in a bunch, then unbunch them! (See what I did there? I just created a new word all on my own. Sadly, it wasn’t “manic pixie dream girl.” I can’t take credit for that one!)

Really, the only thing I’m bummed about is that “big magic” didn’t make the cut. Now there’s a modern day writer who is embracing the power of words and language. Elizabeth Gilbert recently popularized the term big magic with the launch of her new book by the same name. And she’s got numerous fans, readers, and writers on board with the phrase. I’m looking forward to seeing what other words and phrases she has in store for us at her big event in Napa this November!

The lesson in all this? Embrace the magic of words and the versatility of vocabulary. After all, isn’t that one of the best parts of being a writer?

Below is a list of the Oxford Dictionary’s new words. Which of these is your favorite? I’m particularly fond of fur baby and awesomesauce. Let me know which ones you like best on Facebook or Twitter!

awesomesauce, adj.: (US informal) extremely good; excellent
bants (also bantz), n.: (Brit. informal) playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group; banter
barbacoa, n.: (in Mexican cooking) beef, lamb, or other meat that has slowly been cooked with seasonings, typically shredded as a filling in tacos, burritos, etc.
beer o’clock, n: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink beer
blockchain, n.: a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly
brain fart, n.: (informal) a temporary mental lapse or failure to reason correctly
Brexit, n.: a term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union
bruh, n: (US informal) a male friend (often used as a form of address)
butt dial, v.: (US informal) inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s rear trouser pocket
butthurt, adj.: (US informal) overly or unjustifiably offended or resentful
cakeage,n.: (informal) a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake they have not supplied themselves
cat cafe, n.: a café or similar establishment where people pay to interact with cats housed on the premises
cupcakery, n.: a bakery that specializes in cupcakes
deradicalization, n.: the action or process of causing a person with extreme views to adopt more moderate positions on political or social issues
fast-casual, adj.: denoting or relating to a type of high-quality self-service restaurant offering dishes that are prepared to order and more expensive than those available in a typical fast-food restaurant
fatberg, n.: a very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets
fat-shame, v.: cause (someone judged to be fat or overweight) to feel humiliated by making mocking or critical comments about their size
freekeh, n.: a cereal food made from unripened wheat that has been roasted and crushed into small pieces, used especially in Middle Eastern cookery
fur baby, n.: a person’s dog, cat, or other furry pet animal
glanceable, adj.: denoting or relating to information, especially as displayed on an electronic screen, that can be read or understood very quickly and easily
Grexit, n.: a term for the potential withdrawal of Greece from the eurozone (the economic region formed by those countries in the European Union that use the euro as their national currency)
hangry, adj.: (informal) bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger
kayfabe, n.: (US informal) (in professional wrestling) the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic
MacGyver, v.: (US informal) make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand
manic pixie dream girl, n.: (especially in film) a type of female character depicted as vivacious and appealingly quirky, whose main purpose within the narrative is to inspire a greater appreciation for life in a male protagonist
manspreading, n.: the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats
matcha, n.: powdered green tea leaves, dissolved in hot water to make tea or used as a flavouring
mecha, n.: (in anime, manga, etc.) a large armoured robot, typically controlled by a person riding inside the robot itself
meeple, n.: a small figure used as a playing piece in certain board games, having a stylized human form
mic drop, n.: (informal, chiefly US) an instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive
microaggression, n.: a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority
mkay, excl.: (informal, chiefly US) non-standard spelling of OK, representing an informal pronunciation (typically used at the end of a statement to invite agreement, approval, or confirmation)
Mx, n.: a title used before a person’s surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female
pocket dial, v.: inadvertently call (someone) on a mobile phone in one’s pocket, as a result of pressure being accidentally applied to a button or buttons on the phone
pwnage, n.: (informal) (especially in video gaming) the action or fact of utterly defeating an opponent or rival
rage-quit, v.: (informal) angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating, especially the playing of a video game
rando, n.: (informal) a person one does now know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behaviour
Redditor, n.: a registered user of the website Reddit
skippable, adj.: (of a part or feature of something) able to be omitted or passed over so as to get to the next part or feature
social justice warrior, n.: (informal, derogatory) a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views
snackable, adj.: (of online content) designed to be read, viewed, or otherwise engaged with briefly and easily
spear phishing, n.: the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information
subreddit, n.: a forum dedicated to a specific topic on the website Reddit
swatting, n.: (US informal) the action or practice of making a hoax call to the emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address
weak sauce, n.: (US informal) something that is of a poor or disappointing standard or quality
wine o’clock, n.: an appropriate time of day for starting to drink wine

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