I found out yesterday, courtesy of a fellow blogger Emily Hawker, that The Oxford English Dictionary announced the inclusion of an additional thousand words to its next edition. That sparked my interest (yes, it was a prime opportunity for distraction) and I scrolled through the list. You can, too, if you click on the link above.
I found that:
- Some of them I knew:
‘Glamping‘ for instance – ok, fine
- Some I thought would have already been included:
‘Chargrilled’ has only just made the list.
Really? (although maybe that’s a cue for a gag about the quality and creative lacking in english cooking. Ha, ha.)
- Some were quite delightful:
‘Dowfart‘ – apparently an old scottish word meaning someone who feels ‘heavy, inactive, and totally lacking animation‘.
(This is one of those times when I totally reclaim my scottish ancestry because that IS a good word, don’t you think?)
- Some I thought were a BIT of a stretch:
‘Sophie’s Choice‘ – really??
I don’t think that’s a word, for one thing (but two) but more importantly, it’s a concept rather than a word – an impossibly difficult and no win choice, based on the title of a book released nearly forty years ago (or a movie, if you prefer, not long afterwards).
And yes, I acknowledge that maybe I was nitpicking. There are words I like in the list, words I am more dubious about, and words I have no idea about (because the dictionary hasn’t come out for me to check what they mean). But English is an evolving, living language and I am not the arbiter of what should be in it.
However, I would have loved one particular word to be included.
I knew it was unlikely. It is a word that has puzzled us for the past ten years or so, since our son first used it. I knew it probably hasn’t been used outside our family. However, as the Oxford English Dictionary’s tag line is ‘The definitive record of the English language‘, I thought, ‘well, maybe …”
Taking a step back – For those with kids, you’ve probably gone through stages where your children use words that you don’t recognise. And that’s because they are getting mixed up, or making up words (which is great – as long as they are not frustrated when you don’t know what they mean). But, over time, you usually work out what they mean.
But not always.
We have one word which we never, EVER, managed to work out. Our son would point to things, or use it in conversations, and we would try, supply him with new options, but – no. Never got to the bottom of it. He could never explain it, and it didn’t really bother him that we didn’t know what it meant, so he was quite happy to use it freely. Now he has no idea what it means either (and considering he’s now eleven, it’s unlikely he will remember words from his past).
It doesn’t really matter, either, but the thing is – it was a good word, too (well, it sounded good – if we knew what it meant). And we still use it today, but not for its proper use (in the way he used it). We now use it as a word meaning ‘a substitute word when I don’t know the correct word’.
So – in the unlikely hope that someone might now, does anyone know what this means?
Shrept. (n) – as in ‘Where is the shrept’?
If you know, please let me know – I’l be ever so grateful!
Do you have favourite words, or words from the past, or words your kids used, which appealed to you? Please share – we can always use some more diversity (especially if you can explain ‘the shrept’!)