Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last Blast of the Trumpet

This summer's favorite onomatopoeia—vuvuzela—once again has fans buzzing. The straight plastic horn blasted by South African soccer supporters at the 2010 World Cup—and lambasted by TV viewers around the world—was almost banned by FIFA. Now the Oxford Dictionary of English has embraced the vexatious instrument, along with over 2,000 other terms, in its Third Edition released Thursday. The dictionary (a kissing-cousin to the vaunted OED) was first published in 1998 and is dedicated to capturing the ever-expanding global wordhoard.

Each year's new entrants offer a sort of Year-In-Neologisms, a barometer for measuring where the pressure has risen in the economic, political, online and environmental climate. Among the notable matriculants in the class of 2010 are a few trendy Internet memes including "microblogging" (brief bursts of information trafficked by sites like Tumblr or Twitter), a "tweetup" (meeting arranged via Twitter) and "social media" (of which the BloGG is a representative!).

And, as debates rage over divisive issues like climate change and financial regulation, the ODE offers a shared vernacular from which activists, politicians and businessmen can fish up terms like "carbon capture" and "geo-engineering" or "toxic debt" and "quantitative easing," all recent inductees.

If you're interested in seeing a fuller list, you can find it at Time Magazine. So, for all you "cool hunters," we're curious to hear what words or faux-nemes you think the ODE missed!

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