Column: Don’t squick out on new words


Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt

Wouldn’t it be cool to be part of the team that gets to pick which words get added to the dictionary? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like my fellow word nerds would geek out to sit on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)’s new words team. As a dictionary outsider looking in, I’d like to provide commentary on some of the most notable recent (June 2018) additions to the OED. I’ll list my highlights in alphabetical order (because I’m not a monster).

Binge-watch (verb): It’s something we’ve all done, whether or not we’re proud to admit it. We binge-watch old seasons of “Parks and Recreation” and catch up on “The Crown” before the next episodes are added. Binge-watching is the emotional equivalent of destroying an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting. In the short run it feels amazing, but it’s not the best long-term habit.

Broccoli rabe (noun): Move over, Brussels sprouts there’s a new trendy veggie at the farmer’s market. It’s not even related to broccoli, but it has broccoli-like buds and bitter-flavored greens.

Energy vampire (noun): This usually refers to electronic devices that continue to use phantom power while turned off, yet are still plugged into an outlet. In my case, it’s the nickname I gave to my 4-year-old.

Impostor syndrome (noun): It’s the feeling many people have when they doubt their own adequacy or qualifications for the task ahead of them. Believe it or not, award-winning humor columnists still suffer from impostor syndrome when they stare at a blinking cursor on a blank page on their computer screens.

Squick (verb): This is my favorite new word because of its onomatopoeic qualities. Squick means to majorly gross someone out. For instance, discussing bodily fluids tends to squick people out (myself included).

Unalphabetical (adjective): If you feel like a cat being rubbed the wrong way when you see something out of alphabetical order, you are already familiar with this word. Although I was tempted to list it unalphabetically, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I love that the English language is living, breathing and constantly changing. Like it or not, it’s the dictionary’s job to reflect English word usage, so don’t get all squicked about it.