You can tell how out of things I am, because at least two-thirds of the new words and phrases in the recently updated Collins English Dictionary are gobbledygook to me.
(And having misspelt the word [gobbledygook], I looked it up, and found that it has variations [gobbledygook and gobbledegook]; that it’s a recent word [mid-20th century]; and that it comes from the word ‘gobble’, which I also looked up, and which means not just to eat greedily, swallow hastily etc, but also ‘to make a noise in the throat, as a turkey-cock’, which I didn’t know, which better explains the derivation of gobbledygook!)
“Arab Spring” and “mumpreneur” are among the new words and phrases that have entered the latest edition of a major dictionary.
About 70 new terms from the fields of politics, technology, fashion and contemporary culture are included in the 11th edition of the Collins English Dictionary [published recently].
Descriptions of modern lifestyle are reflected in terms such as “mumpreneur”, a woman who combines running a business with looking after her children, and Nick Clegg’s phrase “alarm clock Britain”, workers on moderate incomes whose daily routine involves preparing children for school and going out to work.
For travellers, a new phrase is “cuddle class”, when two airline passengers buy an additional seat so that they can recline together.
The fashion world has inspired the word “mankle” for a man’s bare ankl, “mamil”, a middle-aged man in Lycra, and “mullet dress”, a woman’s skirt cut short at the front but long at the back.
The term “fash pack”, influential people in the fashion industry, has also entered the dictionary.
Developments in technology are reflected in words such as “frape”, which mixes the words Facebook and rape to refer to the altering of information on a person’s profile on the social networking site without their permission.
“Clicktivism” combines the words click and activism to mean using the internet to take direct and often militant action to achieve political or social aims. The word “unfollow” means to stop following someone on Facebook or Twitter.
The revolts in the Middle East and north Africa are reflected in the term “Arab Spring” to describe the Arab people’s clamour for democratic reforms.
Other terms from current affairs include “casino banking”, for bankers who risk losing investors’ money to gain maximum profits, and “emberrorist”, meaning an organisation or person who seeks to reveal potentially embarrassing information, often as a political weapon.
London mayor Boris Johnson has also entered the dictionary with the eponymous “Boris Bike“, the Barclays-sponsored public bicycle-sharing scheme that was launched in July 2010.
From the field of sport, the dance exercise Zumba is included, as is “planking”, involving balancing oneself in a horizontal position on top of unusual objects.
One of the latest examples of that is the term “foodoir”, a book or blog which combines a personal memoir with a series of recipes.
I like this last one especially – both the meaning and the sound. I might take a break from faith and culture and turn to memoir and food. It’s probably easier to sell the screenplay then.