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If You Can Say It Or Spell It

November 23, 2010
Emmetsburg News

Whenever someone utters a word that just doesn't sound quite right, I will wonder aloud, "Is that even a word?"

My husband's reply: "Well, they said it so it must be a word, right?"

Right. I guess.

There was a time during my high school years that I was a real stickler for "proper" English. Somehow, after I finished college, my attitude was more relaxed. Yes, proper English is important. However, a living language such as ours is constantly evolving, and you have to give it some flexibility to expand. I must admit, though, I've cast a doubtful eye on some of those expansions.

Back in August, the Oxford Dictionary of English released a list of 2,000-plus new words and phrases that had recently been added to the beloved tome. The new words were a result of the analysis of countless words used in everything from the financial sector to the Internet, and even World Cup soccer games.

Following is a brief list of some of the words and their meanings.

Bargainous: costing less than usual

Bromance: a close but non-sexual relationship between two men

Buzzkill: a person or thing that has a depressing or dispiriting effect

Cheeseball: lacking taste, style, or originality

Chillax: calm down and relax

Defriend: removing someone from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site

Frenemy: a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry

Interweb: the Internet

LBD: a little black dress

Overleveraged: having taken on too much debt

Quantitative easing: the introduction of new money in to the money supply by the central bank

Staycation: a holiday spent in one's home country

Tweetup: a meeting organized via posts on Twitter

Vuvuzela: a long horn blown by fans at soccer matches

Wardrobe malfunction: an instance of a person accidentally exposing an intimate part of their body as result of an article of clothing slipping out of position

In light of these new words, my new philosophy regarding "proper English" might be: If you can say or spell it, it's a word.

 
 
 

 

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