Lexicographers at the Oxford English Dictionary identify words that have been used frequently enough to be considered a legitimate part of the English language, regardless of their history or Latin roots. This month, nearly 700 new terms meet these criteria.
Some of the new entries, such as “CODA,” meaning “a person who has one or more parents or guardians who are deaf or hard of hearing,” are entirely new to the dictionary. The acronym originally referred to the organization Children of Deaf Adults, formed in 1983, but has since gained popularity in part due to the success of the 2022 Oscar Best Picture winner CODA.
However, not all the new terms are modern. “Aestel,” for example, first appeared in King Alfred’s preface to his 9th-century translation of Pastoral Care, a book by Pope Gregory I dating back to the 6th century. The exact meaning is uncertain, but it is “now frequently considered to be a pointer, or handle for a pointer, used to follow along or keep one’s place when reading a manuscript,” according to the OED.
Some new terms have been added as subentries under existing entries. “Air fryer” is one of many phrases found under the entry for “air,” and “tailgate” now has a section devoted to “tailgate party.” “Final” has one for “final girl,” which refers to the archetype of a female character in horror films who is usually clever and virtuous and survives until the film’s end.
Check out some of the other new entries below and visit the official website to learn more about the update:
- aestel: “an artefact … now frequently considered to be a pointer, or handle for a pointer, used to follow along or keep one’s place when reading a manuscript”
- agrivoltaics: “the simultaneous use of an area of land for farming and electricity generation using photovoltaic solar panels”
- air fryer: “a small convection oven, typically used to fry foods using very little oil”
- Captain Obvious: “(a sarcastic or disparaging name for) someone who makes an obvious or superfluous statement”
- CODA: “a person who has one or more parents or guardians who are deaf or hard of hearing”
- crash diet: “a diet intended to result in a very rapid weight loss through severe restrictions on calorie intake over a relatively short period of time”
- dap: “a casual gesture of greeting, acknowledgement, or affirmation, typically involving slapping palms, bumping fists, or snapping fingers”
- final girl: “a stock female character who survives to defeat or evade the attacker after the other characters have been killed, and who is typically portrayed as intelligent, serious, cautious, and chaste”
- halfsies: “halves; two equal shares or parts”
- jag: Scottish term for “a hypodermic injection, esp. a vaccination”
- keep cup: “a reusable cup”
- mononym: “a one-word name … by which someone, esp. a celebrity, is known”
- parasocial: “designating a relationship characterized by the one-sided, unreciprocated sense of intimacy felt … for a well-known or prominent figure”
- pinkie promise: “a promise made while linking one’s little finger with that of another person, and regarded as especially binding or sincere”
- porch pirate: “a person who steals parcels that have been delivered and left unattended outside the intended recipient’s home, business, etc.”
- sh**housery: “something regarded as despicable, unacceptable, or bad”
- superyacht: “an exceptionally large or powerful yacht”
- tailgate party: “a party typically held in the car park of a stadium before a sports event … at which food and drink are served at the open tailgate of a motor vehicle”
- tallywacker: “the penis” or “a stupid, annoying, or otherwise objectionable person (esp. a man)”
- textspeak: “language regarded as characteristic of text messaging and other forms of electronic communication, often consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, emoticons or emojis, etc.”