New Dictionary Additions are Questionable

By Mary Menzemer, Opinion Editor

The Oxford English Dictionary is perhaps the most regarded dictionary to have ever been established.  It can tell you what the meaning of a word was centuries ago, its derivations, and how it has changed over the years.  In more recent years, it can also tell people who are not familiar with youth’s hip, cool slang what the word “cuntish” means.

This word, as well as other vulgarities, has been added to the OED since March 2014.  Other words added in these recent months that may cause one to scratch their head in confusion include “bestie”, “crap shoot”, “wackadoodle”, “selfie”, “hash” (not Grandma’s delicious, greasy potato fries), “Grrrl”, and perhaps the most offensive word of all, “country rock”.

(Does this make you want to vom? Yeah, me too).

The word “grrrl” does not have one single vowel in it, so how could it possibly be categorized as a word?  “Bestie” is something girls describe each other as on various social media sites, so is it officially proper English now?  How many people have to use slang terms before they are added to the dictionary?  These questions and more arise while looking at how modern English is changing right before our very eyes.

The fact of the matter is that the English language has been changing even before folks started speaking what we call modern English.  For example, the word “fasten” in Old English was spelled “afaestnian” and was conjugated based on tense and subject form.  Centuries later, the Middle English version of this word changed to “tachen” and now to “fasten” in modern English.  Our pronunciation and spelling has changed drastically over time; there are even some letters that are completely obsolete.  English as we speak it today is almost an entirely different language all together.

The adding of slang words in the dictionary is just another way the English language is changing.  A professor or employer would probably slap someone who tried to use the word “noob” or “woot” in an essay or memo, and for a very good reason.  Just because these ridiculous words are now official in the dictionary, does not mean they should be considered proper English…yet.  We still have a long ways to go until “Yo grrrl, I took a bitchin’ selfie in the bathroom.  I ain’t a noob.  It’s totes wackadoodle.  D’oh!” is going to be how we speak to each other every day and not sound completely daft.  Until that day, we have no choice but to slowly twerk our way into the next cray-cray modern speech generation.