Thursday, August 11, 2005

Oh, So That's What Bill Buckley Calls A Porn Watcher

The Oxford Dictionary of English recently added several more words to its lexicon. (We're talking about the published hardcopy 1-volume edition here; there's an online edition that's updated a bit more frequently.)

It's interesting to see what made this cut this time out; the official list can be found here. Among them:

scopophilia (n.), sexual pleasure derived chiefly from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity; voyeurism

Gee, I guess we have a scientific term to describe the phenomenon of porn watching.

smackdown (n., informal, chiefly US) 1. a bitter contest or confrontation 2. a decisive or humiliating defeat or setback

Someone at the OED's been watching too much WWE. It's also interesting how quick a book or movie can get into the public vernacular:

perfect storm (n.) 1. a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors 2. (chiefly US) an especially bad situation caused by a combination of unfavourable circumstances

Compared with the slowness of others:

que sera sera exclamation used to convey a fatalistic recognition that future events are out of the speaker's control

I guess Doris Day isn't that big among dictionary writers. But there are a few words that I'm surprised haven't been there already:

demographic (n.) a particular sector of a population

As well as a few that I figured might have been copyrighted:

wiki (n.) a website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content

Some are so painfully obvious, you wonder why you'd need a dictionary for them:

supersize (adj.) larger than average or standard sizes; extremely large.• (v.) [often as adj.] (supersized) greatly increase the size of

And some that are surprising:

chugger (n., informal) a person who approaches passers-by in the street asking for donations or subscriptions to a particular charity

And here I always thought that it had something to do with beer.

But here's one that, honestly, I don't blame them for wanting to include:

word exclamation (chiefly black English) used to express agreement or affirmation