I’m not real big on just picking up a dictionary and studying words to increase my vocabulary.
If there is a word that I have no clue of its meaning, I’ll get on the computer and do a google search. The internet is my friend to find out information and how the word may be used just in case one day I am able to use it in a story or column.
During travels last week, I heard the Oxford English Dictionary had added a “load” of new words while listening to the radio. I looked up the “load” and found 52 new entries.
I then wondered how many words are actually in the English language. According to Oxford Dictionaries, there is no single sensible answer to this question. It’s impossible to count the number of words in a language, because it’s so hard to decide what actually counts as a word.
The website states the Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as sub-entries. Over half of these words are nouns, about a quarter adjectives, and about a seventh verbs; the rest is made up of exclamations, conjunctions, prepositions, suffixes, etc. And these figures don’t take account of entries with senses for different word classes (such as noun and adjective).
In summary, there are, at the very least, a quarter of a million distinct English words of which perhaps 20 per cent are no longer in current use.
For your pleasure, I’m going to submit for your reading the full list of new additions, which includes the modern acronyms you’d expect like CBA (can’t be arsed), FFS (for f*ck’s sake) and TBH (to be honest).
• Ankle-slapper (a small wave)
• Bot herder (a hacker who identifies computers vulnerable to takeover, to become ‘bots’)
• BRB (be right back)
• butt cheek
• butt crack
• butt plug
• CamelCase (WordsWrittenLikeThis – going up and down like a camel’s humps)
• carpet shampoo (no sinister meaning behind this, behave)
• CBA (can’t be arsed)
• cold caller
• comfort blanket
• Dirty martini
• elimination diet
• erectile dysfunction
• evening class
• FFS (for f*ck’s sake)
• FWIW (for what it’s worth)
• glamping (glamourous camping)
• Hen do
• ICYMI (in case you missed it)
• IDC (I don’t care)
• kitchen bitch
• K-pop (Korean pop music)
• krump (a form of street dance)
• leetspeak (an informal internet language where letters are often replaced by numbers)
• listicle (an article in the form of a list)
• pwn (a ‘leetspeak’ term for ‘own’, or get the better of)
• Secret shopper
• Size queen (a person who prefers large penises)
• Slotted spoon
• solar farm (an area of land with lots of solar panels set up to generate electricity)
• soy milk
• spousal rape
• spray tan
• stag do
• stalkerish (adjective for displaying stalking behaviour)
• staring contest
• stress test
• supercouple (a popular, famous ‘perfect’ couple)
• TBH (to be honest)
• tl;dr (too long, didn’t read)
• trout pout (swollen lips after cosmetic injections)
• vampire squid (a deep sea animal)
• wild swimming (swimming in natural water such as rivers or lakes)
• wow factor
• Yazidism (an ancient religion with origins in Iraq and Syria)
I need to get started checking out these definitions.