SCRABBLE just got a bit more interesting.
About 900 new words and phrases have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) this month.
In the first update of the year, the new words include bestie (a person’s best friend), a bookaholic (a compulsive book buyer) and honky-tonker (a person who owns or frequents a cheap, sleazy bar or nightclub).
And some new words have had a greater prominence as a result of personal achievements. Scissor-kick has been added perhaps following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 2012 goal of the year against England.
But there are some less savoury additions.
C**tish, c**t lapper, c**t-bitten and c**t-sucker have all made it into the OED. And once in, they never leave.
New words editor Fiona McPherson, who heads a team of nine that finds official new additions to the language, said their job is purely objective.
A word that has been in common use in print for 10 years – novels, magazines or newspapers – must be added as a matter of record.
In this particular case, the novels of Martin Amis were a key source.
Ms McPherson said: “In this case, the main entry wasn’t new, it goes back to Medieval times.”
As it happens, the earliest known use of the word c**t was an Oxford street name.
Before it was renamed the more palatable Magpie Lane, the alleyway that runs behind Oriel College on Oxford High Street was called Grope C**t Lane.
Ms McPherson said: “With adding new words, we have to be quite objective, and if a word is in use, you add it.
“We make sure we label those as ‘coarse slang’ so people know these are offensive and not necessarily a word you’ll want to pepper your language with.
“But we treat these words the same as any other.”
She said offensive words were often deemed to be so because of their association.
Along with whole new words being added many word entries have been updated.
The word book has been given 26 new usages, including book critic, book launch and book smarts.
The meanings of honey have also been expanded to include honey bunny, honey-glazed and honeyfuggling, meaning to show affection in public.
New words include wackadoo and wackadoodle, elaborations of wacky used to describe eccentric people.
The new words team is part of a 70-strong force that constantly compiles and updates the OED at Oxford University Press in Walton Street.