We here at Word Wenches Central Command take words very seriously, but we tend to think more about the 19th century and earlier than about the 21st century. My Webster's Collegiate does a pretty good job of telling me when words came into general English usage, and that suffices for my writing.
But we all had fun when Wench Susan told us about new words that the Oxford Dictionary has just decided to add to the canon. Being as how romance writers don't get out much <G>, most of us didn't know half the words.
Some are fairly self-explanatory, like "bro hug," which presumably describes the way manly men can touch each other without looking less manly. <G>
"E-cig" and "vape" are surely here to stay, given the number of articles I've read debating A) whether they're as bad as real cigarettes, and B) okay, they're not as bad, but that doesn't mean they're GOOD.
I'd only heard of "neckbeard" quite recently on an e-advice columnist site. Here's what the Urban Dictionary has to say:
neckbeard. 1. (n) Facial hair that does not exist on the face, but instead on the neck. Almost never well groomed. 2. (n) Derogatory term for slovenly nerdy people …
But who knew that Henry David Thoreau was an early neckbeard adapter? At least he looks reasonably well groomed. (Photo on right.)
Some of the newly adopted words are old words with new meanings. I learned "catfishing" on the same site where I met the neckbeard.
Once again, the Urban Dictionary was the go-to source since they're well up on slang:
Being deceived over Facebook as the deceiver professed their romantic feelings to his/her victim, but isn't who they say they are. Having a fake Facebook profile, images and avatar in order to lure people to have romantic feelings. They are then catfished when the victim realises the person they have fallen for via Facebook is not who they APPEAR to be. by dottykai May 04, 2011
So in the age of the internet, there's a whole lot of cat fishin' going on!
Wikipedia to the rescue!
"A zonkey is a zebroid, one of a wide range of crosses between a zebra and other equine species:
A zebroid (also zedonk, zorse, zebra mule, zonkey, and zebrule) is the offspring of any cross between a zebra and any other equine: essentially, a zebra hybrid. In most cases, the sire is a zebra stallion. Offspring of a donkey sire and zebra dam, called a zebra hinny, or donkra, do exist but are rare. Zebroids have been bred since the 19th century. Charles Darwin noted several zebra hybrids in his works.
A zorse is the offspring of a zebra stallion and a horse mare. This cross is also called a zebrula, zebrule, or zebra mule. The rarer reverse pairing is sometimes called a horbra, hebra, zebrinny or zebret. Like most other animal hybrids, the zorse is sterile."
So someone had a whole lot of fun coming up with all the terms for different types of zebroids, but it doesn't explain why zonkey made the Oxford Dictionaries this year. Oh, well. Maybe next year the zorse or the zebrinny will join the zonkey in Oxford.
Sadly, a word breaking into the Oxford Dictionaries doesn't automatically mean making it into the Scrabble dictionary, so Scrabble enthusiasts will have to find other uses for their' "z's." On the plus side, the Collins English Dictionary has claimed "adorkable," a word that was surely invented for The Big Bang Theory. <G>
So–what words on that list capture your fancy? Are there others you'd like to see added? And is YOLO (for You Only Live Once, usually after something really stupid has been done) really one of the most annoying expressions ever?
Since next week I have a whole new collection of words under the title Not Quite a Wife being released, I'll give a copy of the book to one commenter between now and Friday night. And that's no clickbait. <G>