The OED has published a huuuuge list of new words and usages, and it is good. Cue a raft of op-eds decrying the death of the English language, but those people can suck it. The list seems to sort itself out into the usual categories:
Overlooked and now obsolete words that are now getting recorded. Maybe obsolete is too harsh, but I imagine the heyday for the word beatboxer (n) was back when Biz Markie was a thing. (Men in Black 3 doesn’t count.) The scimitar-horned oryx (n) is straight up extinct.
Sciency (n) techno-words that describe something that is meaningful only to people with very specific letters after their names. Observe: dichloromethane (n), ethoxylated (adj), quadrupla (n and adj). Bonus points on that last for starting with a Q. Too bad it’s too long to be a good Scrabble dictionary word, which is having its own round of OMGs after Scrabble opened submissions to the hoi polloi.
Academicese. There’s a whole lists of words that start with the prefix ethno-, and well as variations on the term hegemony. My favorite of the last group is hegemonicon (n). (We’re going to fill the Hegemonicon with mud, mud, mud! Kids under twelve get in for free!)
Why wasn’t this in the OED before? Scissor-kick (n), demonizing (v), empath (n). In regards to empath, it’s possible I watch too much science fiction.
Foreign loan words: vato (n), shvitz (n and v), ese (n). Warms my heart to see some Yiddish. Some of these dovetail into the next, somewhat bullshit category of words which is…
Slang. This is where all the op-eds bemoaning the end of civilization come from. Slang seems to be an iffy catch-all, referring to words like profanity, or words spoken by discounted groups of people – racial minorities, the poors – or just words coming out of youth culture. People seem to lose their shit about the last two, but slide more on the first. Given how old most swears are, there’s really no way to argue that they’re going to ruin Christmas if they haven’t already.
There are four- four! – variations on the word cunt, in addition to three new sub entries on the c-bomb. There is also the utterly charming cunnilingue (n), which I assume means what I think it means. Also bestie (n). There don’t seem to be the kinds of words that really get people into a tizzy such as netspeak, textspeak, or acronym words (like lol or wtf), so maybe this time the op-eds will be more muted.
I once got in a hugely stupid fight on facebook about the acronym word when a friend of mine blubbered about wtf making it into the OED. But that’s an acronym, not a real word! Okay, sure, except for thousands of military words – they love their acronyms when things get fubar and they go awol – a lot of tech words – scuba and laser – and all kinds of organizations like Nabisco or the Gestapo (which is a funny juxtaposition.) The dictionary is not Miss Manners, nor is it a style guide. Use it wisely.