Thx to the lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries who added a fresh round of tech jargon to its online English dictionary, you can now look up words like "thx."
Some of today's (Feb. 22) additions will be familiar, such as "tweetable" and "social sharing," which refers to people's growing need to post every piece of daily trivia to the Internet. (Thanks for that Instagram of your sushi dinner last night.) You can probably guess at others, like "dumbphone," even if you don't use the term yourself.
But "touchless," for example, might not be as intuitive. According to Oxford, the term refers to gesture-control devices such as Microsoft's Kinect gaming accessory that uses a camera to interpret body motions for game-play.
Still other entries might indeed have people turning to Oxford online to check definitions. "Cruft"? A new addition that means badly designed or unwanted software. And what about "range anxiety"? This term will surely be heard more frequently as electric cars become more common and drivers worry whether they'll make it to their destination before the car's battery dies.
Each new word and phrase added to Oxford goes through a fairly rigorous assessment, whether it began as a suggestion from the public or if the Oxford team itself suggested the word. If a proposed entry is used by just one segment of the population, like young teens, it's disqualified. If it's a trademark, it must have broader use, such as generic use as a verb. (Have you googled anyone lately?)
Oxford consults specialists when necessary, and the dictionaries' editors review proposed entries. Those that make the cut are added to the online dictionary, and later, to printed versions.
The quarterly updates may please Scrabble players hunting new words, but remember, just because a word has been blessed by Oxford Dictionaries, doesn't mean it's okay for Scrabble. For instance, Oxford added LOL back in 2011, but Scrabble Checker still says "no."
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