You may have read recently that the Oxford Dictionary has added a bunch of modern slang words to its online database, such as YOLO, adorbs and humblebrag. Now, before you hurl your copy of To Kill a Mockingbird at your monitor, these terms aren’t going into the dictionary (or at least not yet), they’re just being added to Oxford’s database, which aims to capture the ever-evolving nature of the English language.
Now, I’m no stickler for proper English, at least not when I’m speaking. I have a tendency to use made-up words and all kinds slang. And I say ain’t. I know it’s not really a word, but I like how it sounds. And it’s in the Oxford database. See, not a stickler. Though I have to say, if you use several of the new terms in a sentence you sound quite douchey (note: douchebag and all derivatives are in the database). Just look at this example from this Pedestrian.tv post announcing Oxford’s additions:
‘Put down your smartwatches and stop live tweeting on your second screens, you tech-savvy, time poor YOLO enthusiasts! ICYMI, the Oxford Dictionary has just added a whole hot mess of new words the likes of which is sure to get all you members of the linguistics fandom hotter than a bro hug between two neckbeards.’
No-one really talks like that, right? Right? I doubt it, because no-one purposefully inserts as much slang in their speech as possible. I hope.
I am a young man who vaguely knows what’s going on in the world, but I know there are lot of older folks who think this is all gobbledygook, so I’m going list the meanings of some of the more notable terms add to the Oxford database (with my own notations).
Adorbs (adj.): arousing great delight; cute or adorable.
Short for adorbsable, I mean adorable.
Amazeballs (adj.): very impressive, enjoyable, or attractive.
It’s okay, amazing is still a fine alternative.
Anti-vax (adj.): someone opposed to vaccination.
Yes, this is a thing said so often it needs an abbreviation. It’s a bit sad.
Binge-watch (v.): to watch multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession.
Bro hug (n.): a friendly embrace between two men. (See also: Man hug.)
Also known as a hug.
Clickbait (n.): (On the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.
e.g. 14 Awesome Lifehacks That Will Transform Your Pathetic Life
Cray (adj.): crazy. (See also: Cray Cray.)
Try to avoid if white, it will only exacerbate your whiteness.
Deep Web (n.): the part of the World Wide Web that is not discoverable by means of standard search engines.
It’s for illegal things. Drugs, mostly.
e-cigarette (n.): A cigarette-shaped device containing a nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized and inhaled, used to simulate the experience of smoking tobacco. (See also e-cig.)
A device used to attempt to quit smoking. You can use them indoors, but you look like a jerk.
FML (abbrev.): Fuck my life (used to express dismay at a frustrating or irritating personal situation).
Often used in situations that aren’t that bad, e.g. my toast fell on my cat. FML.
Hot mess (n.): a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered.
Not a literal hot mess, like the oil and crumbs left over after making schnitzels.
Humblebrag (n. & v.): to make an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.
Just as bad as regular bragging, e.g. ‘Damn, I only increased my max benching weight by 5 kilos this week.’ (The point of this is to highlight that this person works out, which is a jerk move.)
ICYMI (abbrev.): in case you missed it
Live-tweet (v.): post comments about an event on Twitter while the event is taking place.
Online running commentary at 140 characters a piece. About as good as it sounds.
Mansplain (v.): (of a man) explain something to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
Aka being a sexist dick.
Neckbeard (n.): 1. growth of hair on a man’s neck, especially when regarded as indicative of poor grooming.
2. A man who is socially inept and physically unappealing, especially one who has an obsessive interest in computing.
Neckbeards usually have neckbeards, hence why they are called neckbeards. Also known as a stereotypical nerd.
Side boob (n.): the side part of a woman’s breast, as exposed by a revealing item of clothing.
Side-eye (n.): a sidelong glance expressing disapproval or contempt.
Not related to side boob.
SMH (abbrev.): shaking (or shake) my head (used to express disapproval, exasperation, etc.).
Don’t feel bad if you think of the Sydney Morning Herald when you see this, they had it first.
Throw shade (phr.): publicly criticize or express contempt for someone.
Also known as publicity stunts.
Vape (v.): inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.
Only ever used when talking about marijuana.
YOLO (abbrev.): You only live once (expressing the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future, and often used as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behaviour).
Like Carpe Diem for idiots. Even Oxford hates this phrase. Actual (and accurate) example used by Oxford: I just ordered £40 worth of Chinese food. But YOLO, right?