LONDON — Don’t know what “vaping” is? How about “listicle”?
Perhaps it’s time to get to know them. Britain’s Oxford University Press said Thursday it is adding the words — along with other new entries, from “time-poor” to “Paleo diet” — to its online Oxford Dictionaries to reflect new language trends.
Editors for the site track and analyze some 150 million English words used online, in newspapers and other sources, and once every few months they decide which new words are so widely used that they merit a dictionary entry.
“These are words that are common enough that you are likely to encounter them, and may have to look up their meanings,” said Oxford Dictionaries editor Katherine Martin.
One of these is “vape” or “vaping,” which describes inhaling smokeless nicotine vapour using e-cigarettes. Oxford Dictionaries researchers say the usage of both “vape” and “e-cig” has increased about 10 times in the past two years.
“The trend of e-cigarettes has created a sort of vocabulary around it,” Martin said.
Many new entries are informal words or abbreviations that reflect people’s changing media consumption habits and the Internet’s ever-increasing prominence.
They include “listicle” — an Internet article in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list — and “live-tweet,” the act of posting comments about an event on Twitter as it is taking place. There’s also “binge-watch,” which refers to rapidly viewing multiple episodes of TV shows.
Martin said inclusion in the online dictionary does not mean the words will become permanent additions to the English language. Many may not make it into the more traditional Oxford English Dictionary.
“For some of these, we will say ‘What was that?’ in a decade. Others may become the next selfie,” she said, referring to last year’s most popular new entry. “The English-speaking public will choose.”