Selfie added to Oxford Dictionary, srsly

Get ready Scrabble players, in its most recent update, Oxford University Press announced that 65 new words and phrases will be added to its free online dictionary. Some new additions include selfie, emoji, fauxhawk, srsly, twerk and guac. Though the list takes words from the worlds of fashion and gastronomy, the tech related additions were by far the most numerous.

On average there are 1,000 new entries annually to the online dictionary. Words are only added after Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) “have gathered enough independent evidence from a range of sources to be confident that they have widespread currency in English,” Angus Stevenson of ODO said. Publishing online allows the Oxford University Press to release their findings to the public quicker than ever.

The changes and additions to the English language can provide insightful commentary on the world in which we live. The adoption of words like flatform, geek chic, jorts and pixie cut says something about current fashion, while words like blondie, cake pop, guac and street food hint at what foods are considered trendy.

Perhaps most reflective of current society is the laundry list of tech and internet related words. Phablet, squee, selfie, unlike, bitcoin, digital detox and MOOC are just a few, not to mention the many abbreviations such as vom, apols, TL;DR and srsly that were previously exclusively used online.

This makes sense on two levels. For one, the internet is a medium with a large audience. It is a place where things, like new words, can catch on quickly. This is proven by the many videos that have gone “viral” in a matter of hours.

Additionally, it also makes sense because of how intertwined “real” life has become with online life. Though many of these words may seem ridiculous if used in a school paper, they are still words that are entrenched in everyday language.

The average person will come in contact with at least a couple of these new additions in any given day. Though some show resistance to the addition of such words into the dictionary, others argue that language is not a static thing. It changes over time and is a reflection of society.

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