Dictionary Adds ‘Badassery’, ‘Selfie’ and ‘Twerk’

New entries emphasizes our gadget-loving lives and the modern tendency to abbrev like cray

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LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform "Blurred Lines" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New York August 25, 2013.

Today, Oxford Dictionaries Online announced the latest batch of words that are being invited off the street and into their database. The 65 terms and definitions added to their reference this quarter cover everything from resurgent ’80s fashion to gadgets to questionable dance moves.

In line with other updates in recent years, many of the new entries have evolved from our technology-obsessed lives, like click and collectdigital detoxemojisupercut and phabletOthers are condensed forms of words and phrases, like srsly, as well as apolsBYODFOMOgrats and vom. And another set may speak to the growing influence of Hispanic culture on the English language, from ese (a term used to address a man) to carnitas (a shredded pork dish).

Here is a selection of other new additions with cross-references provided by NewsFeed. Like it or not, these words are symbols of culture as we know it in 2013:

badassery (n.): behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as intimidatingly tough or impressive. See: Seal Team 6; people saving other people from sharks; most things done by Samuel L. Jackson

buzzworthy (adj.): likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public. See: a notorious dictator resigning; Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; Kate Middleton wearing a hat of any kind

food baby (n.): a protruding stomach caused by eating a large quantity of food and supposedly resembling that of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy. See: most Americans on the fourth Thursday in November; unfortunate situations in which a woman is mistakenly assumed to be with child

jorts (n.): demin shorts. See: the 1980s; country-music fans; those afflicted by “never nude” syndrome

omnishambles (n.): a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations. See: Richard Nixon circa 1974; Bill Clinton circa 1998; Charlie Sheen circa 2011

selfie (n.): a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. See: Anthony Weiner circa 2013

twerk (v.): to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance See: things you do at da club; Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the MTV Video Music Awards

It’s important to note ODO is not the same as the Oxford English Dictionary, though they are part of the same family. Oxford’s online reference is more adaptable, a little faster and a little looser with the words that they include. After all, their mandate is to focus on current English and modern meanings. The OED is more of a stickler, primarily a historical record that is slower to adopt words and typically requires more established usage. That’s part of the reason, for example, that the OED was just adding tweet in 2013, while ODO is today including TL;DRan abbrev that may say more about these fragmented, hurried times than any other entry in the bunch.

This is an edition of Wednesday Words, a weekly feature on language. For the previous post, click here.

140 comments
JohnWoodd
JohnWoodd

Some people need to be edumacated :)

itscolombo
itscolombo

@jannae79 @TIME ahhhhh the plasticity of language. At least we don't have a govt ministry to preserve it like the French.

spambuster667
spambuster667

Ridiculous..US Education 0 pop culture stupidity 1 #dumbass

janetnewenham
janetnewenham

@LandLopers The TWERK entry is a joke..have you read the accompanying sentence example?! 'Twerk it girl, work it girl'. Kill me now

ScottNagreenMot
ScottNagreenMot

@reinaLydia i don't see hw these new words say anything abt d society bcos d words we speak were created too, new should be welcomed

aklass46
aklass46

@TIME our generation is rapidly falling through the cracks of traditional social etiquette.

Jeniner_z
Jeniner_z

@TIME: Dictionary adds 'selfie,' twerk' and 'badassery.' See what you've done, Internet? ” @camels1011 I blame you for selfie

alliecat_85
alliecat_85

@TIME @ztukire: Cause who ever misses a chance to show off their badassery by twerking in a selfie? YOLO!

alliecat_85
alliecat_85

@ztukire That list clearly reflects an average day. Who ever misses a chance to show off some badassery by twerking in a selfie? YOLO!

emy_rsny
emy_rsny

@TIME oh.. the promising evolution of the English dialect. How's the future lookin'?

TamaTamaFoFama
TamaTamaFoFama

@TIME Those words have absolutely no business in any real dictionary. That's why slang, urban, and other alt dictionaries exist.

engel_9
engel_9

@TIME Aw hell no! Better be a definition of what not to use if you want to come off like you have EVER read a damn book!

souzou_no
souzou_no

@TIME total collapse of the english language, bogus I tell ya

Guilher32022307
Guilher32022307

@ArmandoMoraes Dê uma olhada aí, professor. Talvez dê para formular umas questões legais para o Enem, não sei. Espero que goste :)

joweldon
joweldon

@TIME The Dictionary, by its very nature, is always the last to know.

eccornell
eccornell

@JosefHarris I'm more ok with than I am "badassery." I suppose I would've harrumphed at some of Shakespeare's words too...