Dictionary adds new words
Board (bored?) gamers wanting to improve their Balderdash skills will want to check out the new words being added to the dictionary this year. There's about a hundred of them, many of which pertain to cooking for some reason.
It's interesting that they have people whose job it is study the usage patterns of these words, looking for the first sign of their use without quotation marks, essentially. As soon as "bling" becomes just bling, for example, they can add it to the lexicon. What a strange job.
One of the more interesting additions this year is the word mondegreen (I had to stop myself from using quotes), which refers to a word or phrase mistaken for something else--like how "She's got a chicken to ride" is often mistaken for the Beatles' song.
When I was in high school I honestly thought the "soy un perdedor" part in Beck's Loser song was actually "sewed on genitals" ( listen to it and tell me there's not something there). Quite the mondegreen.
Before your next party, go ahead and consult the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, which now includes edamame (immature green soybeans), pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) and about 100 other newly added words that have taken root in the American lexicon.
The wordsmiths at the Springfield, Massachusetts-based dictionary publisher say they picked the new entries after monitoring their use over years.
"As soon as we see the word used without explanation or translation or gloss, we consider it a naturalized citizen of the English language," said Peter Sokolowski, an editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. "If somebody is using it to convey a specific idea and that idea is successfully conveyed in that word, it's ready to go in the dictionary."
"Mondegreen" also made it in. The term refers to misunderstood phrases or lyrics, such as "'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy" in place of "kiss the sky" from the classic 1967 Jimi Hendrix song Purple Haze.
The word, first spotted in print in 1954, originated from the mishearing of the Scottish ballad lyric "laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen."
"Mondegreen" was among tens of thousands of words whose use the dictionary editors monitored for decades.
"They can float for decades. What that means, for the most part, is that they've been used in more spoken forms than … written until recently," Sokolowski said.
Many of the new entries reflect the nation's growing interest in the culinary arts, including prosecco (a sparkling Italian wine) and soju (a Korean vodka distilled from rice). Others define new technology or products, such as infinity pool -- an outdoor pool with an edge designed to make water appear to flow into the horizon.
The following are some other words or expressions that were included, along with the year Merriam-Webster first found them in print:
- Air quotes (1989): gesture made by raising and flexing the index and middle fingers of both hands, used to call attention to a spoken word or expression.
- Dirty bomb (1956): bomb designed to release radioactive material.
- Kiteboarding (1996): the sport of riding on a small surfboard propelled across water by a large kite, to which the rider is harnessed.
- Mental health day (1971): day that an employee takes off from work to relieve stress or renew vitality.
- Subprime (1995): 1. having or being an interest rate that is higher than a prime rate and is extended especially to low-income borrowers; 2. extending or obtaining a subprime loan.
- Wing nut (circa 1900): (slang) one who advocates extreme measures or changes; radical.
"Gladly, the cross-eyed bear."
"Gladly The Cross I'd Bear."
"There's a bathroom on the right."
"There's a bad moon on the rise."
Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater
"Excuse me while I kiss this guy."
"Excuse me while I kiss the sky."
Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
"Dead ants are my friends; they're blowin' in the wind."
"The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind."
Blowin' In The Wind, Bob Dylan
"Midnight after you're wasted."
"Midnight at the oasis."
Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur
"The girl with colitis goes by."
"The girl with kaleidoscope eyes."
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
"Sleep in heavenly peas."
"Sleep in heavenly peace."
Silent Night, Christmas carol
"I blow bubbles when you are not here."
"My world crumbles when you are not here."
I Try, Macy Gray