THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY has broken with tradition by including a symbol amongst its entries for the first time in 127 years.
The ‘heart’ symbol- which originally gained popularity in the 1980s as part of the famous I ‘heart’ New York tourism campaign- is listed in the dictionary as symbolising the verb ‘to love’. According to the OED, the earliest recorded usage of the symbol came as far back as 1984, on a bumper sticker that read “I ‘heart’ my dog’s head”.
A total of 45,437 new words and phrases have been added to the latest version of the dictionary, held by many to be the definitive authority on the English language in the world today. Among them are some irritating abbreviations that most of us are unfortunately familiar with such as WAGs (wives and girlfriends) and text-speak abbreviations like LOL (laughing out loud) and OMG (oh my god).
Other more imaginative phrases that have entered the lexicon include ‘muffin top’ (a protuberance of flesh above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers), ego-surfing (searching on the internet for mentions of one’s own name) and singledom (the state or condition of being unmarried or single).
More words and phrases included in the OED for the first time:
Five-second rule (also three- and ten-) – (noun) a notional rule which permits the retrieval and consumption of dropped food within the specified period of time
Tragic – (noun) a boring or socially inept person, especially a person who pursues a solitary interest with obsessive dedication
Tinfoil hat – (noun) used with allusion to the belief that such a hat made of metal foil will protect the wearer from mind control or surveillance
Bang one’s head against a brick wall – (phrase) to engage in a futile or fruitless effort
On the lash – (phrase) the process of getting drunk or intoxicated
Yuck factor – (noun) a feeling of horror, revulsion, or disgust generated by an idea, action or situation
Hedge one’s bets – (phrase) to confront uncertain circumstances by pursuing multiple courses of action; to avoid committing oneself
Scrunchy – (adj) of a wrinkled or ruffled appearance
Storming – (adj) great, excellent, marvellous
Tasty – (adj) violent, good at fighting
Domestic Goddess - (noun) woman likened to a goddess of the home
Bogus caller – (noun) person who visits or telephones someone under false pretences
Dot Bomb – (noun) an internet company which has become bankrupt or ceased to operate ; a failed or unsuccessful dotcom