ABOUT-WORDS-L ArchivesArchiver > ABOUT-WORDS > 2005-08 > 1123734668
From: "kerby" <>
Subject: Don' t be a plank
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 23:35:10 -0500
Don't be a plank. Read this and get really clueful
By Neil Tweedie
People appalled by the uglification of English have fresh meat to chew on
today with the publication of a new Oxford dictionary.
The language of Shakespeare, Milton and Keats has officially taken delivery
of a host of new words following their inclusion in the latest single-volume
Oxford Dictionary of English. Needless to say, each one is more hideous than
Some of the worst offenders come from the home of dumbed-down English, the
United States. They include spendy (expensive), twofer (two items sold for
the price of one), cockapoo (a crossbreed derived from cocker spaniel and
miniature poodle) and picturize (an alleged verb describing the adaptation
of a story for film).
There are plenty of other monstrosities: clueful (knowledgeable), greige (a
colour between grey and beige) and the truly dreadful multi-task. If you
don't know what that means, you are overdue for an eighty-sixing *.
And then there is chav, an inelegant word that nevertheless describes
perfectly its label-obsessed, bling-coated, ASBO-boasting target. The
acronym derived from Anti Social Behaviour Order is, of course, also in
Some of the new words are formed by bolting together two perfectly good ones
to form a horrible one. So a chugger is a collector for a charity who "mugs"
his victims by approaching them in the street, while a dramedy is a
programme or film in which the comic element derives from character and plot
Sixty years after the end of the Raj, the Indians continue to change the
language of the one-time imperial master. Thus bindass is carefree, lehnga
an ankle-length skirt and masala a varied mixture of elements (as well as
On the subject of curry, the dictionary includes a well-worn example of
rhyming slang, Ruby Murray, together with Rosie Lee, which has taken decades
to gain acceptance.
The internet has provided a wealth of ugly new words, such as podcast
(digital recording of radio or other programme made available for
downloading) and phishing (the fraudulent practice of sending e-mails
purporting to be from reputable companies in order to steal passwords and
credit card numbers).
There are 355,000 words and phrases in the dictionary. Judy Pearsall, the
publishing manager for Oxford English Dictionaries, said the changes
reflected the constant evolution of the world's most important language.
And just in case you need to insult someone at short notice, she offers 20
handy words: blockhead, dork, lamebrain, lummox, ning-nong, tosspot,
wassock, mooncalf, gowk, toerag, berk, plank, numpty, gobdaw, nyaff,
mompara, bosthoon, drongo, fribble and dandiprat.
*Eighty-six: verb N. Amer: reject, discard, or destroy.
|Don' t be a plank by "kerby" <>|