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'Retweet,' 'sexting' added to Oxford English Dictionary, alongside words that are actually words

Amar Toor, @amartoo
08.19.11
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Every so often, Chuzzlewitt, Figglesworth and the rest of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary's Council of Elders gather around a stone in Puddingshire, where they come up with ways to modernize the English language. New words are added, archaic ones are cut, goats are sacrificed. It's all very messy -- especially when internet lingo gets involved, as is so often the case. It's no different this year, with the latest class of inductees including words like "retweet," "sexting," and "cyberbullying." Also making the cut is "woot" (which is apparently spelled without zeroes) and "surveil," which was added primarily as a reflection of today's privacy-conscious society. In fact, the dictionary's purveyors say they make their decisions based not on intuition or cage match results, but on cultural ubiquity, which they gauge using a database of more than two billion words culled from contemporary sites. So if you're wondering why words like "jeggings" and "mankini" are now part of the English tome, you have only the internet to blame.

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