Oxford English Dictionary Adds Made-Up Words

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Oxford English Dictionary Adds Made-Up Words
Every few months, the Oxford English Dictionary adds a few new words to its hallowed pages. A few days ago, on September 12, the Oxford English Dictionary added over 200 words to its repertoire.

You, like me, might not have even realized some of these words — shoplifting, upcharge, cheerlead — weren’t really words, at least not dictionary-recognized words.

You’d likely been using them for years:

  • “Jamie got arrested for shoplifting
  • “You’re going to have to pay an upcharge for extra fries with your cheeseburger.”

And while you might not be surprised by many of the new additions, some seem like millennial inventions you thought — and in some cases hoped — would just cease to exist.

Not if the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has anything to say about it.


You’ve likely heard this phrase for decades. Popular in New York and New Jersey, its potential origin is the movie, Donnie Brasco.

According to the OED, fuhgeddaboudit is “a US colloquialism, associated especially with New York and New Jersey, reflecting an attempted regional pronunciation of the phrase ‘forget about it’ — used to indicate a suggested scenario is unlikely or undesirable.”


Many of us are clicktivists, myself included, without even realizing it.

Clicktivism, “the practice of signaling support for a political or social cause by means of the Internet, through social media, online petitions, etc., rather than by more substantive involvement,” is a form of slacktivism (another word OED just added), which allows us to contribute to something without having to stand in a protest line or help at a soup kitchen.

A prominent example of clicktivism is the “10 cents a share” post (i.e., the creator of the post will donate 10 cents to a particular charity for every share).


My first and only exposure to something being scrumdiddlyumptious was the Wonka Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Because September 13th was the 100-year anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth, the OED honored the Chocolate Factory writer by adding a few of his inventions to the dictionary.

Others include:

Fog Index

This one is not what it sounds like. It actually has nothing to do with suspended water droplets and everything to do with your writing. The Gunning Fog Index determines how readable your text is and assigns it a reading level.

Note: The OED has not yet made the definition available.


Popularized by a Drake song, this acronym — unfortunately — doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. YOLO (You Only Live Once) is “used to express the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future (often as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behavior).”

While many of these words seem unnecessary, the new additions show that English is an ever-changing language that will always surprise you.

Check out the full list of new words here. (Careful, some of these words are not safe for work!)

You can also check out last week’s post on punctuation hybrids.

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