‘Sext’, ‘Hot Mess,’ And ‘Twerk’ Have Been Officially Welcomed Into The Oxford Dictionary

Flickr / Nina Jean
Flickr / Nina Jean

Some of your favorite words may have just been initiated into the Oxford Dictionary.

The historic dictionary that prides itself on tracing the evolution in the meaning of words, has just welcomed a few hundred new ones into its ranks.

Some of the more interesting new words and definitions as provided by Time.com:

cisgender (adj., 1999): designating someone whose sense of personal identity corresponds to the sex and gender assigned to him or her at birth.This word exists to serve as an equal and complement to transgender.

fo’ shizzle (phr., 2001): in the language of rap and hip-hop this means “for sure.” Shizzle, as a euphemism for sh-t, dates back to the ’90s. One can also be “the shizzle,” which is the best or most popular thing.

half-ass (v., 1954): to perform (an action or task) poorly or incompetently; to do (something) in a desultory or half-hearted manner.One can also insult someone by calling them an “ass,” referring to the horse-like creature who has appeared in stories as the type who is clumsy or stupid since the time of the Greeks.

koozie (n., 1982): an insulating sleeve that fits over a beverage can or bottle to keep it cold. Fun fact: that little cardboard thing one slips around a cup of coffee to keep it from burning one’s hand is known as a zarf.

Masshole (n., 1989): term of contempt for a native or inhabitant of the state of Massachusetts. This is what is known as a blended word, which Lewis Carroll called portmanteaus, naming them after a suitcase that unfolds into two equal parts.

sext (n., 2001): a sexually explicit or suggestive message or image sent electronically, typically using a mobile phone. Back in the 1500s, when someone referred to a “sext,” they were talking about a Christian worship ritual that involved chanting around midday.

stanky (adj., 1972): having a strong (usually unpleasant) smell. The OED editors offer the comparison to skanky, which means unattractive or offensive, as well as janky, which refers to something that is untrustworthy or of poor quality.

Interestingly, some of our “modern” words are not quite as modern as we might have thought. The word “twerk” dates all the way back to 1820 when it was spelled “twirk” and referred to a twisting or jerking movement.

In the 1800s, a conversation about a “hot mess” was probably one where you talked about the delicious warm dinner you just had, not your super drunk friend who threw up in the bushes last Friday night.

To all our new words: welcome to the club! TC mark

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