Here at Savoir Flair, we have feels (Def: informal, strong, positive feelings) for language. So when Dictionary.com published its list of 150 new words, we felt less yaaaas (Def: a strong expression of excitement, approval, agreement, etc.) and more facepalm (Def: the gesture of placing the palm of one’s hand across the face, as to express embarrassment, frustration, disbelief) TBH (Def: to be honest).
Despite what social media may tell us, we’re increasingly shocked to see an influx of these words being accepted IRL (Def: in real life). Call us old-fashioned, but it’s hard to imagine a moment in time when an English professor might congratulate his students on a job well done by commenting something along the lines of “This essay was on fleek” (Def: on point).
So how exactly do these words get added to the dictionary? As Dictionary.com’s blog explains, “When lexicographers decide what words to add to dictionaries, they try to imagine what words users actually want to look up. There are two important factors to keep in mind here: 1) Is the word in widespread usage? 2) Does the word have staying power?”.
However, it’s important to differentiate between words (including all of the bold words above) being added to the Oxford Dictionary Online, versus words being added to the Oxford English Dictionary. As this Huffington Post article on language explains, “While ODO focuses on the current language and practical usage, the OED shows how words and meanings have changed over time. This is why the words recently added to the OED are much less flashy than those added to the ODO, and are therefore less publicized.”