New words added to the oxford english dictionary—again!

“Borked” caught the attention of Jeffrey Sherwood, a lexicographer at the Oxford English Dictionary, when he began working on a project to source new words.

“To bork” had once been a verb associated with US politics, derived from the US Supreme Court nomination of a judge named Robert Bork, who ultimately wasn’t confirmed. Now, the word has cropped up again, but this time in the tech sector, meaning that something—a website feature, for example—isn’t working properly.

Sherwood and his team don’t yet know whether the modern use of borked is related to the earlier version, or is a new coinage, perhaps derived from a corruption of the word “broken” (eg, “this is borken”).

That’s the kind of small mystery the OED will have to unravel with any of the words it chooses eventually to include, as part of a review that runs through March 2019.

Before the age of the internet, dictionary editors had to take out magazine ads if they wanted to find out about new words that were being used across the English-speaking world, Sherwood said. Online databases and tools have changed that, but the OED is still on the hunt for words that have slipped into usage but aren’t yet defined.

In the past year, it has crowdsourced words that young people and teens use; words associated with hobbies; and words specific to certain regions. Now the team is interested in the words people use at work, and it’s conducting a three-month-long call-out for people to submit words associated with their chosen specialties.

Thousands of words are submitted during these kinds of appeals; a few dozen go in.

So far, the OED has heard from the UK postal service (where workers apparently call the trolleys that hold their mailbags “yorks”), the restaurant and hospitality sector, academia, and the legal marijuana trade. Journalists have submitted words, too.

“Dishy” is on the list. I, a British journalist, immediately assumed it meant handsome; New York-based Sherwood said he’d have assumed it meant gossipy. The submitter said the term referred to the manual insertion of a hyphen into word processing software.

Newest Words Added to the Dictionary in 2018 – Word Counter

It’s funny how the English language is constantly evolving. But, as language experts have been asserting for ages, “words are arbitrary symbols and have no meaning in themselves.” If you're curious just how many there are, check out our companion article on how many words are in the English language.

More than 2,000 words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018 alone.

How Words are Added to the Dictionary

A word starts off as a quip or witticism and then becomes colloquial. If used long enough, it blends into the language and transforms into a legit word—one that merits a space in the dictionary.

Every year, new words are being coined and new definitions added to already existing words. In January 2018, The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) announced that it has added more than 1,100 words, senses, and sub-entries.

As of March 2018, more than 700 new words, senses, and sub-entries were included as well—increasing the number of entries to almost 2,000 (note: the OED does updates on a quarterly basis).

The Oxford English Dictionary contains more than 829,000 words, senses, and compounds. Experts in various specific fields are consulted by OED’s researchers before deciding if a neologism should be added to Oxford’s list.

In order to qualify, a word needs to be used for “a reasonable amount of time” and in numerous independent examples.

Top Entries of 2018

Among 2018’s top new entries is “mansplain” which means “(of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.” While “mansplain” was practically non-existent ten years ago, the concept is now a generally-accepted term.

Another new coinage is “hangry” which is defined as “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.” Kinda reminds you of Snickers’ TV commercials, doesn’t it?

Here’s an interesting fact about this portmanteau (“hangry” is a combination of two words—hungry and angry): it was cited in a 1956 article in American Imago (a psychoanalytic journal “that describes various kinds of deliberate and accidental wordplay”) where “hangry” was mentioned in a colloquy about contractions and elisions.

But what’s probably more intriguing is the newly-added definition of the word “snowflake.”

Back in 1983, “snowflake” had a more positive connotation. It’s a scientifically known fact that each snowflake possesses a unique and unrepeated pattern or appearance. Because of this, it has been used to imply a person’s (especially kids) distinctive qualities and capabilities.

Nowadays, the insinuation of “snowflake” has become less flattering. This is due to the prominence of the word as a disparaging term in social media. The added definition now states: “a person mockingly characterized as overly sensitive or easily offended, esp. one said to consider himself or herself entitled to special treatment or consideration.”

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The Rise of the Self

We’ve gotten accustomed to “selfie” since 2014 but now we have to live with OED’s addition of “selfy,” which, ironically, has been recognized since the 17th century in Scotland to mean “self-centred” or “selfish” (and this is exactly how it is defined in the OED.

New entries with “self” as prefix were also recently added: self-deport, self-determinism, self-identified, self-published, and self-radicalization.

And while we’re on the subject of “self”-related words, let’s not forget to include “me time” in the mix. Its definition is not as negative though: “time devoted to doing what one wants, typically on one's own, as opposed to working or doing things for others, considered as important in reducing stress or restoring energy.”

In fact, OED says that “me time” “suggests a healthy form of psychological self-care.”

Some Words on Amusement

On a lighter note, “Tom Swifty” has also been added to OED’s list, while “swag” has earned a new definition, thanks to Jay-Z. This is the fifth citation of the word that has been attributed to the American rapper.

“Tom Swifty” is defined as “a humorous sentence typically consisting of reported speech attributed to a speaker (frequently ‘Tom’), followed by an adverb which relates punningly to what has been said.”

Someone with “swag” has “bold self-assurance in style or manner; an air of great self-confidence or superiority” as an additional definition.

Other amusing new entries include “Jackie O” (which does not refer to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but to her sense of fashion), “tomoz” (an informal alteration of “tomorrow”) and “hippotherapy” (which means “the use of horse riding as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment, esp. as a means of improving coordination, balance, and strength”).
Meanwhile, more serious words (and definitions) have also been included:

“Ransomware” is now “a type of malicious software designed to block access to applications or files on a computer system until a sum of money is paid.”

“Deglobalization” is “the process of making something less global and more regional in nature, focus, impact, etc.; esp. the reversal or decline of globalization, or its effects.”

  • “Titanian” has acquired a third homograph definition: “of or situated on Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons.”
  • Grammarly and its counterparts must be in a mad scramble to update their spelling, grammar, and vocabulary tools because of these new developments.
  • But they’re not the only ones—as a writer, you also need to be aware of these changes lest you end up being misconstrued despite having good intentions.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Perhaps they can—if you’re updated on their new definitions!

A complete and updated list of these latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary can be found here.

Updates to the OED | Oxford English Dictionary

January 2018

More than 1,100 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including northern flicker, hazzled, and electric catfish.

This quarter sees the inclusion of long-established terms such as me time, more recent coinages including hangry and mansplaining, and words which have seen a shift in sense, such as snowflake. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes this January, Edmund Weiner, Deputy Chief Editor of the OED, investigates the mysterious use of ‘sun scalds’ in Rudyard Kipling’s novel, Captains Courageous, here, and OED Associate Editor, Peter Gilliver, explores how sensationalist writing came to be known as ‘yellow journalism’ in this article.

Senior Editor, Matthew Bladen, delves into Greek mythology, taking on Titan in this article, which also reveals the amazing history of titch.

Whilst titch itself is not a new addition, nine months on from our Mumsnet appeal, the OED welcomes terms related to pregnancy and parenting to its pages. Read about Senior Editor of the OED, Fi Mooring’s, exploration of words such as baby-led weaning, diaper cake, and the alarmingly evocative poonami here.

  • See the words that have been added in this update.
  • March 2018
  • More than 700 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including cultural appropriation, trans*, and bubble water.
  • You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.
  • In our release notes, Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED, investigates the formal language of sexuality and gender identity, exploring terms such as agender and intersexual here.
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This update also sees the addition of more than a hundred Welsh English pronunciations for words borrowed from Welsh into English, such as cwtch, cariad, pennill, and pryddest. Find out more about this here.

June 2018

More than 900 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including binge-watch, impostor syndrome, and silent generation. You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes, Senior Assistant Editor, Clifford Sofield, discusses the words related to energy that have been added in this update, from energy crisis to energy vampire.

Coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the publication of The House at Pooh Corner, several words from Winnie-the-Pooh have also been added to the OED in this update. Read more about this here.

Associate Editor, Eleanor Maier, discusses the results of last year’s Free the Word campaign, which helped to uncover a vast variety of regional terms, including antwacky and to have a monk on. Learn more about these words and find out how to contribute regional words of your own here.

This update also sees the addition of a number of Manx English words, such as jough, tholtan, and buggane. Find out more about the Manx dialect in this article by Senior Assistant Editor Kelvin Corlett, and read more about the Manx English pronunciation model that has also been added.

View the full list of words added in this update.

October 2018

More than 1,400 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including nothingburger, fam, and not in Kansas anymore. You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes, Senior Editor, Craig Leyland, discusses the words related to films that have been added in this update, from Tarantinoesque to scream queen.

Senior Assistant Editor, Jonathan Dent, explains the surprises that came with revising dunghill in this update. Read more about how astonishingly complete early predecessor dictionaries were, despite no access at all to searchable databases or electronic, large samples of English, here.

This update also sees the revision of a number of words in the English language that have begun to establish multiple uses far from their original meanings over time. Editorial Content Director, Graeme Diamond, uses bonnet as a way to explore this in his article.

View the full list of words added in this update.

December 2018

More than 600 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including burkini, Dylanesque, and TGIF. Principal Editor, David Martin, explains some of the fun additions to be added in this update here.

In our release notes, World English Editor, Danica Salazar, discusses the words of South African origin that have been added in this update, as part of the dictionary’s continuing efforts to record the South African lexicon.

This update also welcomes taffety tarts to the OED’s word list. You can read more about the fascinating story of how this phrase came to the attention of our editors in this piece by Deputy Chief Editor, Philip Durkin.

View the full list of words added in this update.

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Leather bound SOED Sixth EditionCountryUnited KingdomLanguageEnglishRelease number6GenreDictionaryPublished21 September 2007PublisherOxford University PressPages3472ISBN978-0199233243Preceded byFifth Edition 

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED) is an English language dictionary published by the Oxford University Press. The SOED is a two-volume abridgement of the twenty-volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Print editions


The first editor, William Little, worked on the book from 1902 until his death in 1922. The dictionary was completed by H. W. Fowler, Jessie Coulson, and C. T. Onions.

An abridgement of the complete work was contemplated from 1879, when the Oxford University Press took over from the Philological Society on what was then known as A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.

However, no action was taken until 1902, when the work was begun by William Little, a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He laboured until his death in 1922, at which point he had completed “A” to “T”, and “V”. The remaining letters were completed by H. W. Fowler (“U”, “X”, “Y”, and “Z”) and Mrs. E. A.

Coulson (Jessie Coulson) (“W”) under the direction of C. T. Onions, who succeeded Little as editor. Onions wrote that SOED was “to present in miniature all the features of the principal work” and to be “a quintessence of those vast materials” in the complete OED.

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First edition

The first edition was published in February 1933. It was reprinted in March and April of that year and again in 1934.

  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary/The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Hardcover): 2 volumes.
  • ?th impression (1933-??-??)
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Hardcover): 1 volume.
  • ?th impression (1959-??-??)

Second edition

The second edition appeared in 1936, contained about 3,000 revisions and additions, and was reprinted in 1939.

  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on historical principles (Hardcover 2475 pages): Second edition 1 volume reprinted 1939.

Prepared by William Little, H. W.Fowler, J. Coulson
Revised and edited by C. T. Onions[1]

Third edition

The third edition was published in the United States under the name The Oxford Universal Dictionary in 1944 with reprints in 1947, 1950, 1952, and 1955. The 1955 reprint contained an addendum of new entries. The 1973 reprint contained an enlarged addenda with over seventy pages and a major revision of all the etymologies.

  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Hardcover)
  • 1st? impression (1944-01-01)
  • The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Third Edition, revised with addenda) (Hardcover) (ASIN B01N22ETM9): Includes addenda.
  • ?th impression (1964-??-??)
  • ?th impression (1968-??-??)
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Hardcover) (ISBN 0-19-861106-4/ISBN 978-0-19-861106-6): 1 volume.
  • 1st? impression (1970-??-??)
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Hardcover) (ISBN 0-19-861125-0/ISBN 978-0-19-861125-7): 1 volume.
  • 1st? impression (1973-11-??)
  • The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Hardcover) (ISBN 0-19-861126-9/ISBN 978-0-19-861126-4)
  • ?th impression (1973-11-22)
  • ?th impression (1975-??-??)
  • The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Guild Publishing edition, Hardcover) (ASIN B00HLDC3M2)
  • ?th impression (1985-??-??)

Fourth edition

The New SOED was prepared under the editorship of Lesley Brown 1980-1993 and was the first complete revision of the dictionary and should be considered a re-abridgement of the SOED and its supplements.

The whole text was completely revised for the Fourth Edition, which was published in 1993 as the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

The book attempted to include all English words which had substantial currency after 1700, plus the vocabulary of Shakespeare, John Milton, Edmund Spenser and the King James Version.

[2] As a historical dictionary, it includes obsolete words if they are used by major authors and earlier meanings where they explain the development of a word. Headwords are traced back to their earliest usage. Includes 97,600 headwords, 25,250 variant spellings, 500,000 definitions, 87,400 illustrative quotations and 7,333 sources of quotations (including 5,519 individual authors).

  • The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Hardcover) (ISBN 978-0-19-861271-1)
  • ?th impression (1993-??-??)
  • The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary thumb index edition (Hardcover) (ISBN 0-19-861271-0/ISBN 978-0-19-861271-1)
  • ?th impression (1993-10-14)

Fifth edition

The fifth edition was published in 2002,[3] and contains more than half a million definitions, with 83,500 illustrative quotations from 7,000 authors. The name Shorter Oxford English Dictionary was used to emphasize the link between this two-volume dictionary and the original twenty-volume OED.

  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Fifth Edition (Hardcover) (ISBN 0-19-860457-2/ISBN 978-0-19-860457-0)
  • ?th impression (2002-12-31)
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on CD-ROM Version 2.0 (ISBN 0-19-860613-3/ISBN 978-0-19-860613-0):
  • ?th impression (2003-01-09)

Sixth edition

50 New Words, Expressions Added to English Dictionaries

1. automagically adv. Automatically in a way that seems magical.

2. bargainous adj. Costing less than expected.

3. big media n. Primary mass communication sources, e.g., TV and the press.

4. bromance n. Close platonic male friendship.

5. buzzkill n. Person or thing that has a depressing effect.

6. carbon credit n. Permit allowing a certain amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

7. carbon offsetting n. Counteraction of CO2 emissions with a corresponding reduction.

8. catastrophize v. To present a situation as worse than it is.

9. cheeseball adj. Lacking taste or style.

10. chillax v. To calm down and relax.

11. cool hunter n. One who predicts new styles and trends.

12. cougar n. Older woman who dates younger men.

13. eggcorn n. Logical swap of words with similar sounds (from “egg corn” for “acorn”).

14. exit strategy n. Planned means of extricating oneself from a situation.

15. flash mob n. Brief gathering for a common purpose, announced by e-mail or text.

16. flyover states n. [derogatory] Central regions of the U.S.

17. frenemy n. Friend with whom one has frequent conflict.

18. friend v. To add to a list of personal associates on a website.

19. gal pal n. Female friend.

20. green audit n. Analysis of a business' environmental impact.

21. green-collar adj. Of or relating to workers in the environmentalist business sector.

22. hater n. Negative person.

23. heart v. 

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