A Classical ?Bromance?: New Internet-Speak Finds Home in Chambers Dictionary

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An edition of the Chambers Dictionary kept in a bookstore.

Language inspired by the Internet and modern short forms has found its way into the Chambers Dictionary?s latest edition.

The 200-year-old publisher will be adding around 200 new words and phrases that come from language used mainly on the Internet and spoken by the youth.

David Swarbrick, managing director at Chambers said, “I think young people are probably the most creative agents for new words because they?re not held back by convention.?

Some of the words that are included are ?the cloud?, ?paywall? and ?tweet?. The web?s influence on language is undeniable and the publishers would like to take this into account. Words like ?big society,? and ?sexting?, could also be ?possible candidates for the next addition,? they added. Other words include ?crowdsourcing,? ?staycation?, and ?national treasure?.

Even the word ?man flu? has been added to define a heavy cold stemming from the idea that men tend exaggerate the seriousness of the condition. Those bored of using the word ?mates? to refer to their friends, might consider ?bromance?, the new trendy way of referring to friendship between men.


The latest addition to the Chambers line of dictionaries is the 12th edition of the single volume edition of the dictionary that was first published back in 1901. It contains 620,000 new words and definitions.

The word ?flipping,? inspired by the MPs’ expenses scandal in the UK and ?TARP? (the Troubled Assets Relief Program? in relation to the US government bailout of companies during the financial crisis) have also found their way into the pages of this age-old dictionary.

Some words are environmental-based. For instance, ?upcycle?, turning waste into a product of higher value, and ?precycle?, the process of avoiding unnecessary waste by buying products with minimal packaging, will also be included.

“The new words herald a wave of geek chic, a more strident green agenda, and the way in which the recession has shaped how we speak today,” the publisher said in a statement.

David Swarbrick, managing director of Chambers, said: “Topical words like Neet and even kakistocracy – defined as government by the worst – the dictionary holds up a mirror to life today.? But the new dictionary takes a hard line on “cringeworthy and cliched” English and business euphemisms as well. Words like, ?tsar?, ?joined-up?, and ?sea change? are cited as among 52 words and phrases to avoid.

Mr. Swarbrick went on to say that they would avoid certain words and phrases to make sure they weren?t, ?befuddling English.”


Some strange additions include ?meh?, and ?defriend? and ?unfriend?. The first word has now officially attained the status as an ?expression of indifference.? The latter two words come from the popular social networking site, Facebook, and indicate the removal of one?s contacts from the list of ?Friends?.

And that?s not it! Space has also been given to acronyms formed to make typing less tedious and popularized by daily internet and text languages. OMG (Oh My God) and BFF (Best Friend Forever) have also made an entry into the lexicon. The acronym ?NEET? (not in education, employment or training) has been included defining Britain?s ?lost generation’.


Chambers is not the only publisher to rev up its dictionary with newer words. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has included words such as ?retweet?, ?woot?and ?cyberbullying.? “These additions are just carrying on the tradition of a dictionary that has always sought to be progressive,” said OED editor Angus Stevenson.

However, in contrast to the enthusiasm of Chambers Harrap, the OED editors are less thrilled by the addition of the new words. “I don’t know why people can’t just say hurrah but maybe I’m being old fashioned,” said Mr Stevenson.

“Young people are the real artists of the language and a dictionary should reflect that,? says Mr. Swarbrick who believes that youth culture greatly influences every day language. The Chambers Dictionary, 12th Edition, is published by Chambers Harrap, an imprint of Hodder Education, Thursday. Hardback; approx 1,900 pages; price varies ?50-?40.

In this day and age, technology is developing at a fast pace. When technology and knowledge evolve, so does language. In the process new words come up that can turn out to be clever or amusing and in some cases even efficient.

TTYL! (Talk to you later!)

Sources: BBC, Telegraph

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