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SMH: The newest additions to the Oxford online dictionary include ‘cray,’ ‘YOLO’ and ‘adorbs’

Drake onstage during the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It’s unclear whether Drake will ever reap any royalties for foisting “YOLO” upon American culture in “The Motto,” but maybe he’ll rest easy knowing it’s earned one more speck of legitimacy in the nation’s lexicon.

That’s right: “YOLO” (“you only live once”) is in the Oxford online dictionary.

That’s not to be confused with Oxford’s tonier, more exclusive cousin, the Oxford English Dictionary — the bound and more tightly edited dead-tree format. But it’s still something, right? This isn’t the first time the folks at Oxford Dictionaries have tossed a little love “YOLO’s” way. It was among the runners-up for U.S. word of the year in 2012, but ultimately lost out to “GIF.”

Here’s how Oxford explained the way it recognizes new words:

Our most important resources are the Oxford English Corpus and the Oxford Reading Programme. The Corpus consists of entire documents sourced largely from the World Wide Web, while the Reading Programme is an electronic collection of sentences or short extracts drawn from a huge variety of writing, from song lyrics and popular fiction to scientific journals. It’s based on the contributions of an international network of readers who are on the lookout for instances of new words and meanings or other language changes.

Among the other August additions to the online dictionary: “SMH,” “cray” (for which you can thank Kanye West and Jay Z), “neckbeard,” “binge-watch,” “hate-watch,” “side-boob,” “adorbs,” “listicle,” “mansplain,” “hot mess,” and “acquihire.” Other revelations: “side boob” is apparently 10 times more common in the United Kingdom than it is in the States, but we are significantly fonder of using “adorbs.”

Insert obligatory moaning of the devolution of English here: The end is nigh. Weep for the demise of the English language and the fast-approaching Armageddon of American communication. Pale riders include hashtags and emoji.

Ohhh, maybe it won’t be so bad. Better emoji — as long as they’re diverse — and hashtags than wheezes and grunts, no?

h/t The Next Web

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality.



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Soraya Nadia McDonald · August 14, 2014

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