BUT... a small article in Monday's newspaper made me change my mind and scramble to write a new post. See how that works? Flexible. That's me. Oughta be my middle name.
So what did I see, you ask? Something irresistible to a word nerd, or logophile (lover of words) like me. It was about some of the new words that have just been added to the Oxford Dictionary.
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content, according to circumstances and the time in which it is used. [Oliver Wendell Holmes]
The most recent update added more than a thousand new words. I, uh, won't be sharing all of those words with you. (You're welcome.) But I will share a handful:
BRAIN FART: a temporary mental lapse.
Who'd a thunk it? Slang ... and a kind of undignified slang, at that... with an Oxford seal of approval.
Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work. [Carl Sandburg]
FAT-SHAME: to make fun of someone for being overweight.
The dictionary isn't condoning it; just expressing the reality that many people are doing it. And that's the real shame.
HANGRY: a grumpy state caused by being hungry
Huh. I never heard of this one before, but it's kinda cool.
BEER O'CLOCK and WINE O'CLOCK: Just what you think they mean... it's time to drink an adult beverage. Smarticus has been calling it beer thirty for years.
BUTT DIAL: to accidentally call someone on the phone... with your butt? Reeeeeally? Geez, that doesn't sound like something I'd want to do, even if I could. I mean, I am NOT that flexible. Just take a look at my desk phone there. I cannot figure out for the life of me how I could possibly dial it with my backside on purpose, let alone inadvertently. Never mind. This term is actually in reference to a mobile phone tucked into someone's rear pocket. No problem. I don't have one of those, and it's a cinch my desk phone ain't gonna fit in my pocket.
Seems as though the term could apply to guys hogging space in an office setting, too...
MACGYVER: to make or repair something in an inventive manner.
Really? This show was on TV from like 1985 until about 1992, so it's kinda odd that the term is just catching on now. But it's a good one. As anyone knows who ever saw that show, all MacGyver needed was a Swiss army knife, a piece of string and a little bit of spit to fix just about anything. (Slight exaggeration there.)
BUTTHURT: overly offended or resentful.
Another new one on me, but it is a kinda fun one, isn't it? I would have thought it was referring to those poor suffering souls who (OW!) have to sit on an inflatable donut.
RAGE-QUIT: to angrily quit an activity or pursuit; particularly refers to the playing of video games.
Huh! We used to call a person who got mad and took his ball and went home a poor sport. Or a spoiled brat. It's kinda sad that this kind of petulant behavior has become prevalent enough to rate its own special term in the dictionary.
Even as new words are added to the dictionary multiple times a year to reflect the changing habits of language, so too do words get dropped. Alas, some words now obsolete are totally cool, and our language is the less for their loss. Here's one of my favorites:
WONDER-WENCH: a sweetheart.
Wouldn't it be cool to be called a wonder-wench? It's more earthy and less perfect than Wonder Woman, but totally cool. It could reflect a state of wonder, too, maybe. Anyhow, I like it. And it's much nicer than BEEF-WITTED, another obsolete word, dontcha think? (Yeah, it meant just what it sounds like... having a dull brain.)
For those of you who are as enamored with words as I am, here's another dictionary you might enjoy. Written in 1811 by Francis Grose, the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is a treasure trove of obsolete words. I haven't checked its status recently, but I got an e-version of this book from Amazon for FREE a couple years ago. Wanta hear some of those words? As if you had a choice... (Sorry. I'm on a roll.)
- BLIND CUPID- backside
- ELBOW SHAKER- dice player
- FLASH THE HASH- vomit
- SHOOT THE CAT- vomit because of drinking too much booze
- TWIDDLE DIDDLES- testicles
- TWIDDLE POOP- effeminate-looking man
Okay, before I close, let me share one last example of the new words just added to the online dictionary. It's HOT DIGGITY, a phrase used to express excitement. Whattaya know? What's old is new again. Check out this video of a popular song from 1956:
So who knows? Maybe wonder-wench and twiddle diddles could make a comeback some day, too.
Until next time, when I will regale you with that riveting tale about bird poop, take care of yourselves. And each other.
Language has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone. [Paul Tillich]
If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur. [Gary Larson]
Language is wine upon the lips. [Virginia Woolf]
I believe it is now wine o'clock. Time for a nice glass of... language. [me]