In Brief

‘Peoplekind’ and ‘puggle’: what’s new in the Oxford English Dictionary

New words include gender-neutral pronouns and terms for cannabis and cocktails

The Oxford English Dictionary, widely regarded as the most important dictionary in the English language, added more than 650 words to its compilation this month. 

According to OED senior assistant editor Jonathan Dent, “each new and revised entry has been painstakingly researched, and at no point have our editors simply mailed it in”.

Updates include the revival of words that have come back into use, from Old English vocabulary to those first recorded a decade ago. User-submitted appeals have also been taken into account, including ones derived from the online campaigns #wordwhereyouare, calling for regional vocabulary additions, and #hobbywords for those related to particular pastimes.

Some of the most noteworthy additions are influenced by the ways in which the world is changing today.

Gender-related changes

A number of gender-neutral and inclusive pronouns have been added. The new words “zir”, “hir” and “peoplekind” were all created as alternatives for traditional male or female pronouns.

“Latin@”, which uses the @ symbol to represent the letters a and o, and “Latinx”, symbolising an unknown or undetermined ending, were also added. Both words are used as gender-neutral alternatives to the adjective Latino/Latina.

Cannabis vocab in the era of legalisation

Words related to the cannabis industry have also been added, including “cannabis edibles” and “cannabutter”, the mixture of butter and cannabis that is used to make them. “Cannabusiness” refers to “the production and sale of cannabis or cannabis-related products”, which is on the rise in countries around the world, according to Forbes.

Cocktails now on the menu

Drinks such as the crème de menthe, crème de cacao and plain old cream mixture known as a “grasshopper cocktail” and this summer’s favourite “Aperol spritz” can now be found in the OED. There are also new words related to drinks: “spritzy” (bubbly) and “skunked” (beer that is smelly and spoiled after being exposed to too much light).

Recognition for furry friends

Pedigree dog breeds are no longer the only pooches recognised in the OED. Owing to the growing popularity of dogs who are parented by two pedigree animals, a few common cross-breeds have been added: “puggle”, a mixture between a pug and beagle; “maltipoo”, half Maltese terrier and half toy poodle; and “dorgis”, a dachshund/corgi mix, all gained entries. 

Body parts are in the book

Body parts have also made the OED – “though you may need to use the following words with caution as they might get you into trouble”, says Metro. “Bawbag”, meaning scrotum; “bosie”, meaning breast; and the less crude but equally unusual “geggie”, meaning mouth, have all been added to reflect the evolution of the English language.

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