Take Note Team
We’re over halfway through 2019 (although I swear I only just left that New Year’s party), and that means it’s time to have a look at some of the weird and wonderful words that have crept into our common vernacular so far this year.
(Three words in this blog were added to the English lexicon 100 years ago, in 1919. Can you find them all?)
Okay, ‘common’ is probably overdoing it—if I’m being honest, I had to look up what most of them meant—but according to various dictionaries, a certain popular tile-based board game, and, well, the internet, these words are forever doomed to define this year of our Lord 2019.
Every year, the brainiacs over at Merriam-Webster dare to enrage linguistic fanboys by adding new words to their official dictionary of Scrabble. This year’s additions included hench – someone who is fit and muscular (13 points), hackerazzo – someone who hacks a celebrity’s computer (27 points), and the very controversial OK – an abbreviation for…okay (6 points). However, for a whopping 71 points, you can now play the word zomboid, that oh so famous word, which refers to a person resembling a zombie when they are not in fact a zombie. Don’t pretend like we didn’t need a word for that!
Start calling someone names of farm animals and you’re not going to get very far before they accuse you of being rude, but one humble four-legged creature, famed for its love of Taylor Swift and yoga, is trying to change that. In 2019, you’ll hear everyone from Beyoncé all the way through to Jesus Christ being dubbed a GOAT, but the term has been around since the early 90s, when Lonnie Ali, wife of Muhammad, established Greatest of All Time, or G.O.A.T, Inc., to help manage the boxer’s intellectual property. Twenty-five years later, in 2017, the term became a popular title for great sportspeople, such as American Football star Tom Brady, tennis players Serena Williams and Roger Federer, and footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Since then, liberal usage on social media has somewhat diminished its meaning, resulting in everything from LEGO to Danish pastries being declared a GOAT.
Forget about little girls stealing food from bears, this one is somewhat different. These days, Goldilocks is used to refer to something which is not extreme, especially when it is situated between hot and cold. For example, a Goldilocks economy refers to one which is moving along nicely and not likely to end in a boom and bust or recede into a recession. Likewise, a Goldilocks Zone is the area around a star which is neither too hot nor too cold for a habitable planet to form, i.e. the area in which the Earth orbits the Sun. It’s frequently used in politics to refer to situations or events that help policies easily pass into law.
When Lewis Carroll first coined the word bandersnatch prior to the publication of ‘Through the Looking Glass’ in 1872, I doubt he could’ve ever imagined it would become one of the most widely searched words 147 years later, and yet here we are. Originally featured in Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’ to refer to a fictional creature with a long neck and snapping jaws, it has since been used in America to refer to someone with a menacing demeanour and unconventional habits. In January of this year it was propelled back into common usage thanks to the release of an eponymous interactive film, part of the Black Mirror series on Netflix. Unfortunately, Bandersnatch the film was about as nonsensical as the poem it originated from.
If you think this word sounds depressing, you’re right, it is; whoever coined it must be a cheery chap. Death cleaning follows the same vein as spring cleaning, which refers to the act of tidying up one’s home after a long winter to prepare for the coming year. However, here the act of tidying up one’s home comes after a long life, and is to prepare for…well…death. Ironically, it’s intended to be a nice thing, because it means your family don’t have to do it after you’ve, you know, gone! With a bit of death cleaning, you can leave them with a nice, tidy house, instead of a lifetime’s worth of clothes, broken lamps, and all those objects you collected throughout the decades that you aren’t really sure why you bought in the first place (that didgeridoo from your ’92 holiday in Melbourne was an interesting purchase, eh?). To be honest with you, at this point I feel like we should all just agree some words don’t need to be words.
When you think about it, language is one of the greatest representations of human life that we have. The English language alone, one of the younger languages still in use, has been evolving since the 5th Century AD, and yet continues to grow even to this day. In the time since its inception, words have been coined by everyone from William Shakespeare to Agatha Christie, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Dickens; in fact, some of the greatest minds to have ever lived have contributed to its extensive lexicon.
Today words are coined on structured reality television shows in which the young and beautiful compete to find love whilst living in a villa on the Balearic Islands. This year’s Love Island glossary included chived (to be annoyed), the ick (a sudden feeling of repulsion towards someone), and the widely useful Ovie’d, as coined by contestant Chris Taylor to refer to himself upon the realisation that the girl he liked was actually more interested in fellow Islander, Ovie Soko. What a bunch of linguistic geniuses!
Did you find the three centenarians above? The three words that entered the English lexicon 100 years ago were:
Blog written by Transcriber Lydia
You have been reading about word trends in 2019. If you are interested in learning more about using our transcription services, please contact the team for a no obligation quote or check out the range of services we have available. If you enjoy transcription, are a fast typist and are looking for a flexible, part time job that works around your other commitments, visit our careers page.