A YEAR IN WORDS: 2014
Every year the Oxford English Dictionary adds new words to its pages. 2014 was no exception. While these words were only permitted into its online databank (getting into its printed editions requires a bit more than popular use to justify being accepted), they were nonetheless granted entry.
*All underscored words in the following piece were new additions last year and are linked to the dictionary’s definition.
Selfies finally made it. Holy shit, it’s about time. They’re everywhere else, why not the dictionary? With the omnipresence of camera phones and social media it’s a wonder the word took so long to find its way there, but do you know what word has been in the dictionary longer than selfie? Narcissism. Look it up sometime when you’re not so busy taking pictures of your duck face. That one I kind of like. Not because they’re fun to look at but because the word so aptly describes just how ridiculous it is: People taking pictures in which they purposely try to look like an aquatic bird. It’s a pity you can’t throw bread at them. No doubt, the ones taking pictures like that do it because they think it makes them look hawt (that’s a thing now). Usually, though, it makes them look more of a hot mess (also a thing now. I can get behind this one, but only if said in the accent of a California valley girl). FML has made its call for recognition through the regularity of its use. This one I’m okay with, too, though not for its intended meaning. I’ve never once used the term because I genuinely enjoy the life I live; it’s primarily used by the people that take duck faced selfies in an effort to look hawt, and it’s usually phrased something like: “They ran out of my dog’s organic gluten-free soy bones! FML!” To that I say, “ Yes. Fuck your life. It sucks. You should get a helmet.”
If you’re scrolling through a sea of selfies you may come across some side boob. I’m in line with this addition, and not for sexual reasons. Well, not entirely. It’s a good description of what it intends to describe. It’s not the whole boob, it’s just the side of it. Now, I can see how some of you might take that comment for douchebaggery, but I reserve that word for the actions of those who feel the need to use the terms man crush and bro-hug.
It’s okay for a man to admire another man and find him handsome without feeling the need to sleep with him; it’s also entirely possible for two guys to hug without becoming gay. Therefore, using the method of transitive properties, one shouldn’t have to specify they mean those things in a heterosexual way. I’ll hug anyone, ask my friends. To me, using “man crush” and “bro-hug” is akin to saying “no homo” before paying another dude a compliment. Unnecessary.
And since we’re on the subject of douchebaggery, cray is now a word thanks to none other than Kanye West. Some people think it’s cool but I think it’s lay. As in, to not say the entire word “crazy” is just lazy. It’s one letter. Come on. And stop inflating his ego by popularizing shit like this!
In other musical additions, dubstep now has its own place amongst the D’s. I’m all for this. I don’t particularly care for the genre, but for the people who do it’s got to be a great relief. Now when they are asked what kind of music they listen to they don’t have to fumble around saying stuff like, “How can I describe this? Have you ever heard robots fucking, or the sound of Michael Bay getting a boner?”
Then there’s YOLO (you only live once). Really? How do you know, Drake? Clearly he is not a Buddhist.
Other acronyms made their appearances last year, SMH (shaking my head) and IDC (I don’t care) among them. I understand with the advent of instant messaging people feel the need to write short hand in the interest of saving time, but what are all these people doing with that extra time? Learning to read?
LOL got taken up a notch as well. PMSL (pissing myself laughing) is the newest rendition. If imagining someone literally laughing out loud to one of your messages is difficult, imagine them pissing themselves. I now direct you to the late great Greg Giraldo taking up the subject matter. I don’t want to paraphrase because I can’t say it any better than he did.
And if you’re still laughing out loud at that, consider this new word: lolcat. I didn’t even know this was a term until yesterday, let alone a term that was popular enough to warrant a place in the dictionary. Sure, I’ve seen the memes with cats saying stupid stuff but I never knew there was a word for them. I’m sure if I’d bothered to look at the comments for some of those lolcats I would’ve become aware of words like xlnt, adorbs, or perf but, alas, I didn’t. It pains me to see blatant disregard for spelling such as this. If the next generations continue this trend I fear for grammar.
With all the time not spent spelling excellent, adorable, and perfect you gain less than five seconds, which gives us the five-second rule. Wait, that’s not a rule of grammar. Not yet, at least. For now it’s the rule of being able to eat something dropped on the floor before five seconds have passed. As a person who, not proudly, has eaten stuff off the floor after many minutes have passed I like that there is a guideline for me to now follow. And since we’re eating stuff of the floor, carne asada and chili con queso got the nod last year, too.
You’re welcome, Mexico. Don’t say we never gave you anything.
Once you’re done snacking off the floor you can move right along to stuffing your face with television. Binge-watching is now the proper phraseology for consuming TV for hours on end, many thanks to Netflix and the DVR. Unbeknownst to me, hate-watching has become popular as well. That’s when you watch something for the sole purpose of mocking it. It’s no wonder that’s a mainstream concept given the amount of reality programming you find when surfing the channels. I suppose it’s appropriate they were both added together. [Example: I used to binge watch MTV growing up. Now, if I were to watch it (which I don’t), I would most certainly hate-watch it. Funny, MTV went from encouraging us to Rock The Vote, to having P. Diddy threaten death if we didn’t vote (Vote Or Die), to filling its time slots with shows like “16 and Pregnant” where the focus is on people too young to cast a ballot. Times change.]
You know what else I hate watching? My girlfriend beat me at scrabble, especially with bullshit words. Thanks to the powers that be, chillax is now an acceptable play. So if/when she throws down the tiles hitting a 347-point triple word score for “chillax” I will calmly stand up, flip to game board over, and exit the room… Because that’s the most chillax way of saying, “you cheated.”
But before I exit this room I would like to state how I understand language changes. Words come and go like fashion, and much of the terminology we use today won’t be in use years down the line. Language has been evolving ever since its creation, in its inflection, its wordage, its style. But not everything that can be changed should be… unless you can change into a Canadian tuxedo. Do that. Style points galore for that.