The Oxford English Dictionary Online updates with new words quarterly. While print editions are not as frequently updated, The Guardian UK reports that the latest set of new words are being published today in the Third Edition of the Oxford English single-volume dictionary. The first edition was published in 1998, over 10 years ago. Words are included in the Oxford English Dictionary when they are nearly universally recognized.
What are some included new words for 2010?
The vuvuzela, of World Cup fame, “has cemented its immortality as well as its ubiquity” through its inclusion in the OED. Climate change, including carbon capture and storage and geoengineering, have gained enough popularity to be included. Staycation – a vacation spent at home – is included. Currently, staycation can be heard in an advertisement for Water Country; certainly this word is gaining a lot of popularity in light of the economic crash. There are some weirder ones, too – a cheeseball is listed as something that lacks taste, style or originality. Hikikomori, a Japanese word for acute social withdrawal that occurs in some teenage boys, is also included in this publication.
For many people, a word’s inclusion in a dictionary solidifies its role as a “real word”, allowing it to be played in scrabble, for instance. While dictionary inclusion is not necessarily a qualification for real-word status – many very recognizable and popular words would therefore not be considered “real words” under this system – it does mean that a word included in a dictionary has secured its place in history.