Totes adorbs or absolutely cray?

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Social media is changing the face of our language. So says the Oxford English Dictionary, which has added a range of new words to its online edition. Listicle, YOLO, binge watch and vape are among 58 words and phrases to have been defined and given a place on the website due to their prominence over the past 12 months.

The new additions were, as ever, greeted by two distinct camps: those who decry the defilement of our language and those who celebrate the way it is evolving with the world.

I’m firmly in the latter camp. To me, language is playful and presents us with infinite opportunities to be creative and to express ourselves. It has to evolve to channel the changing times we live in.

Social media and the internet have been instrumental in shaping modern society. They have changed the way we communicate – both how we do it and what we say. Twitter’s 140-character limit is attributed as the cause for excessive abbreviations – words such as adorbs (adorable), YOLO (you only live once) and cray (crazy) have been used frequently as space savers. They have now made the transition from online to real life conversations and have been recognised for it today.

Here are some of my favourite new additions to the OED:

Listicle

Popularised by addictive online articles such as ‘15 ways you know you work in PR’, bound to lead to a period of procrastination.

Binge-watch

Describing periods of excessively watching TV series, binge-watch first came to the fore with the release of House of Cards earlier this year. All episodes were released online at once, leading to hordes of fans viewing for hours on end.

Amazeballs

This one’s been around for a while after being introduced on The Only Way is Essex. A way of expressing delight, when the word ‘amazing’ just isn’t enough.

Bank of mum and dad

Again, not a new concept but the first time it’s been acknowledged as a turn of phrase. This refers to relying on one’s parents for financial assistance. It’s a bank I’ve been very familiar with over the years!

Humblebrag

The act of pretending to be self-deprecating while actually bragging.

The Telegraph has helpfully put all the new additions into one place, complete with definitions, so you can familiarise yourself with the idioms of the day.

While hot mess, mansplain and hyperconnected are all now firmly in our online dictionary, it will be a little while before we see them in wider use. The thought of The Times running a front-page story about David Cameron humblebragging or Victoria Beckham throwing shade is perhaps a stretch too far right now.

Nevertheless, these new words give us the opportunity to use lexicon as a tool for fun. I challenge you to use at least one of them today!

Let us know how you get on.

Joanna Drake

@thejodrake

@peppertweets