New words for old

The Language Report by Susie Dent is her fourth annual commentary on new words in the English language, drawing on the latest Oxford dictionaries. The Internet influence on language is powerful, spreading way beyond words actually used online. Dent comments:

The first [...] observation to make about 'online laguage' is that there is no such thing [...]. Instead, there are multiple communities online, using the medium for a variety of reasons, and talking in a wide range of dialects [...] From the professional jargon of the technologists to the inventive slangs of music and game chat sites, there is too much variety, and too much mutual unintelligibility, for all this to be dismissed as just a simple and udivided online language.

Among the new words in the dictionary that arose from the Internet (though they are not necessarily used only on the Internet) are:

foo, kludge, snarf, lossage, winnage, zombie, script-kiddies, blammo, leet and warez.

Old words with new meanings include flame, cracker, canonical, zombie and reaped.

And should you imagine that blogs are a passing fad, note these new words now sanctioned by the Oxford dictionary:

blogrolling, blogtopia, blogophere, blogorama, blogtastic, blogemeinscaft, bloglish, blooks and bloggicane.

Oxford published The Language Report, naturally.

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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