Always on a quest to learn new things, I was intrigued by a recent on-line headline: “Oxford English Dictionary Adds ‘Bestie,’ ‘Crap Shoot,’ ‘Bathroom Break’”. it continues with the information that there are about 900 new additions to the Oxford English Dictionary, announced this week, including first-timers like ‘bathroom break,’ ‘beatboxer,’ ‘DIYer,’ ‘scissor-kick’ and— wait for it —’scimitar-horned oryx’.
Now I’m all for new things but really, do we need to add more words to an already overstuffed reference book in the library? You remember the library, that Wi-Fi hot spot of a building that doesn’t embarass you into buying a Caffè Marocchino or Latte Macchiato just to take up space. Every library has that humongous volume known as a dictionary available for use. It is the second largest volume in their catalog, only behind the current printing of “The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Women”.
I can only wonder, why do we need new words? We aren’t using all the ones we already have. It’s no wonder nobody wants to learn our language anymore- We have too many words! Now a quick perusal of the volume will give you insight into words like galactophagist: milk drinker, macocephalic: having an abnormally large head, ucalegon: neighbor whose house is on fire or the popular umbraculiform: shaped like an umbrella.
Who is using these words? And why? The definitions alone are enough to fit almost any situation. If we have definitions in easy to understand words, let’s just use that instead. Another look even gives us deeper insight; many of the words have multiple definitions it’s not uncommon to see a word with more than 10 definitions. I’m all for recycling but shouldn’t every word get it’s own definition? There are plenty of words in there that nobody is using, let’s recycle those. Throw out the old definition and give it a new one instead of adding words.
I was further astounded (surprised, enlightened, befuddled) by the fact that the Oxford Dictionary updates their words quarterly. What a scam……Do you realize how many libraries in each city, school or unviversity that are probably shamed into buying the latest and most up to date copy? (I think I just discovered a new career path in Dictionary Salesman.) Academia blackmail at it’s best.
I’m asking that you, the articulate and educated, the common man or woman; Stand with me against this waste of time and mindpower and reject any attempts to expand our language base. Let’s let those that chose to enjoy our country at least have an opportunity to get up to speed with our language before we add any additional words. In doing so, I can only hariolate (I picked that one up today: to divine or fortell) that I will be able to peacefully enjoy my day at the beach, as I am a halophilous kind of guy. (halophilous: tolerant of salt or salt-water) ………………Part 1 of a series.
Sarasota Resident, Mark Bartlett is a contributor to the Sarasota Post.