Changes in the English Dictionary

English language is persistently changing its dynamics, and thus constantly adding newer contours to its existing identity. English having its origins from the Anglo-Frisian dialects has been accepted as one of the widely spoken languages in the modern world with open hands. The amalgamation of the time and space with the Basic English language has introduced numerous changes in the way this language is used by citizens, around the world. As we move to the 21st century, SMS language is slowly catching up in our day-to-day routines. The language, which once upon a time had a Shakespearean touch to it, which words like “alas” and “barn” grilling our memory when we read it now, English is much within our reach these days. It’s easier to read, understand and thus, can be adapted. This changing face of English is reflected in a way in English language dictionaries.

Each year, new words are added to the dictionary depending upon the cultural and social influences on the global atmosphere. Some critics argue that these are leading to the degradation of the language, while some others feel that these are the indicators of the changing times. Whatsoever, these words never fail to amaze one’s conscience.

The addition of the words started from 1841 and is still continuing. Some of the words which have been added along with their meanings are as follows:

  • - Americana : genre of American music involving early folk and country music.
  • - bromance: a close friendship between men.
  • - cougar: slang user for an older woman in relationship with a much younger man.
  • - duathlon : a rally involving three different methods like running, cycling and walking.
  • - fist bump: a gesture in which people bump their fist.
  • - helicopter parent: a parent highly involved in his/her child’s life.
  • - m-commerce : transactions conducted over mobile phones.
  • - parkour: a sport involving jumping, climbing and running in order to overcome obstacles.
  • - robocall: a pre-recorded telephone message.
  • - social media: communication via social networking and micro blogging websites.
  • - tweet: a post made on social –networking site ‘twitter’.

Similar to the addition exercise, there is a trend of deduction of the words from the dictionary. The words, which once upon a time were revolutionary in their own respect, have been made obsolete by the passage of time. These words which are been rarely used in spoken as well as written language are archaic now. Some of these words are:

  • - Alienism : the study and treatment of mental illness
  • - Cyclogiro: a type of aircraft propelled by rotating blades
  • - Charabanc: an early motor coach
  • - Drysalter: a dealer in certain chemical products and foods
  • - Supererogate: to do or perform more than is required
  • - Succedaneum: something that is used as a substitute
  • - Woolfell: the skin of a sheep or woolly-type animal with fleece attached
  • - Wittol: a man who tolerates his wife's unfaithfulness

These lists are compiled to grab a sense of where we are heading to. Whether these changes are efficient or digressive depends on your personal judgment, as well as which sort of English you prefer in your day-to-day life.