Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Sep 26

By any other name

I love to put words together and make new words. I do it all the time. For example, I might ask a friend for his techspertise. In fact, one thing that I often do it put words together and mix up the syllables until I find the perfect combination. I can never actually remember the word for what that is — it’s a portmanteau. It’s like making cutesy celebrity couple names but it’s more awesome because there’s no silly actors involved and, well, there’s me!

It’s crazy to think that wordplay like that can result in a new entry in the dictionary. In fact, reading the list of new words that make it to the dictionary almost makes me cringe. Consider these:

  • bitcoin — a form of digital currency
  • vom — short for vomit (ew)
  • apols — pural shortening of apologies
  • blondie — the light version of a brownie (yum!)
  • BYOD — bring your own device
  • derp — “speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action”
  • fauxhawk — hair styled to look like a mohawk
  • jorts — jean shorts (WTF?!)
  • omnishambles — otherwise known as a clusterfuck
  • selfie — a self photo, typically taken by smartphone and uploaded to a social network
  • squee — a squeal of glee or excitement
  • srsly — shortened form of “seriously”
  • TL;DR, abbrev.: ‘too long didn’t read
  • unlike — to withdraw approval or remove a “Like” on Facebook

Granted, these words are only now appearing in Oxford’s online dictionaries, which feature modern word usage and not historical word roots. I wonder how many people looked at a list like this in 2005, when the word was finally added to the dictionary, and shook their heads with amusement or disgust. How many of them disapproved of the portmanteau entering the vernacular officially, despite the fact that people had been using it for nearly a decade at that point?

Change is imminent. We can’t fight it, and we can only run from it for so long.  After all, some of the greatest words we know were coined by none other than Shakespeare himself. and what else would you call a blog?

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