Q. Which quarterly event causes rejoicing among avid readers and prolific writers? Hint: It’s not the solstice/equinox combo!
A. The Oxford English Dictionary’s announcement of new words and meanings to be added to the lexicon.
I understand that caring about new words and usage officially classifies me as a geek, but I’m proud to wear that banner for such an interesting cause – especially since a couple of Canadian words made the grade, just in time for Canada Day.
Yes, in addition to adding twerking (Hello, Miley Cyrus!) and meh (D’oh, Simpsons!), the folks at the august OED have included some Canadian terms this time around. Inukshuk makes its inaugural appearance five years after the Vancouver Olympics used the image in its logo, defined as “a structure of rough stones stacked in the form of a human figure.”
From francophone Canada comes depanneur (without the accent – this is Britain), a convenience store. Last, but not least, is stagette, which in the States referred to a woman attending a function without a partner, but in Canada means a party given for a woman about to be married.
Being Canadian, those words were familiar to me, but words from other cultures will take me a while to absorb. The South Asian dhaba, for example, is a roadside food stall or restaurant, and the Tagalog word, barkada, means a night out with friends. Apparently, if I can’t afford to travel the world, I can simply travel by dictionary!