Subscribe
First Look

'Hoverboard' and 'MacGyver' earn place in Oxford's online dictionary. NBD.

The Oxford Dictionary inducted a spate of new words into its online dictionary Thursday, including 'manspreading,' 'holodeck,' 'MacGyver,' and 'Grexit.'

  • close
    Tourists walk by a shopping arcade where the vast majority of its shops have closed due to financial problems in the last four years in Athens, July 12, 2015. The Oxford English Dictionary has included 'Grexit,' which refers to the potential exit of Greece from the 19-country Eurozone, into the online edition on Thursday.
    Yannis Behrakis/Reuters/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Hoverboards have floated their way to the top of the headlines recently, connected to everything from the Lexus car company to rapper Wiz Khalifa.

And with this year being the 30th anniversary of the "Back to the Future" film franchise, which launched the idea into the popular consciousness, it seems only right that the Oxford English Dictionary has included the word into its online edition.

The official definition from the OED, by the way, is: a means of transport resembling a skateboard that travels above the surface of the ground, ridden in a standing position.

But Marty McFly’s radical ride is simply one of a new slate of words with origins in pop culture that the OED has admitted into its online dictionary.

“MacGyver,” “holodeck,” and “mecha” all found their way into the vernacular from appearances in television shows and films.

The first one, of course, coming from the eponymous and inventive television show, the second beaming into the language from Star Trek, and the third popping in Japanese anime and manga, which has plenty of use for “a large armoured robot, typically controlled by a person riding inside the robot itself.”

One of the more interesting new terms can be pinpointed back to a review by film critic Nathan Rabin in 2007, “manic pixie dream girl” refers to a “type of female character depicted as vivacious and appealingly quirky, whose main purpose within the narrative is to inspire a greater appreciation in life in a male protagonist.”

If that’s a bit confusing, have no fear, the OED produced a helpful video which helps explain the term.

Another way that culture has bled into the lexicon is in the language around issues of gender and sexual orientation.

Mx. is now in the dictionary and is an honorific that is used (Like Mr., Ms., Mrs. etc.) before a person’s surname or full name as a gender-neutral title.

Additionally cisgender, which denotes or relates to someone whose sense of personal identity corresponds with the gender assigned to them at birth, has entered popular usage in conversation about transgender issues.

A large number of the new words added announced by the OED as part of its quarterly update to the dictionary are portmanteaus, which itself is defined as “a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others.”

"Manspreading" – the scourge of commuters the world over, which refers to men who sit with their legs far apart on public transport, has an entry now.

So does "hangry," referring to the irate mood brought on by hunger. As well as "Grexit," which is familiar to those following economic news, it refers to the potential exit of Greece from the 19-country Eurozone, which uses a shared currency.

Spurred on by the Internet and social media, an increasing number of text abbreviations and digital lingo has found its way onto the hallowed pages – well web pages – of the dictionary in recent years.

For those wanting to save a couple extra seconds, acronyms and abbreviations like "SMH" (shaking my head), "NBD" (no big deal), "adorbs" (adorable), and "cray" (crazy) now have entries in the dictionary.

However these little bits of “improper” language haven’t won everyone over, including some who say they may have negative effects for those simply getting a grasp on English.

“I have mixed feelings about the additions. On one hand, I do appreciate feeling slightly more connected to the college students who live down the street.” Lane Brown wrote last year in The Christian Science Monitor following the addition of "bindge-watch" and "amazeballs" into the dictionary. “However, as a mom who narrates most of my mundane daily activities for the sake of a toddler just learning to speak, I don’t want him anywhere near these new terms, at least not for some time to come. I personally don’t think anyone should be allowed to devolve into slang and shorthand abbreviations until they've actually have mastered the English language first."

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK