What Do Frankenfood, Guyliner, and Whovian Have in Common?


I don’t know if you’ve checked the Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) lately, but they added new words in May, and boy, did I have a blast going through the list! To be honest, of the three words I used in the title, I am (was) familiar only with the last one.

Just in case you felt lost while reading the title of this post, let’s take a quick look at the definitions of these now officially recognized words.

Frankenfood refers to genetically modified food and is used in a derogatory manner. If you steer clear of anything remotely related to GMOs, then this noun might just do it for you! Just so you know, the ODO lists this word as both a mass noun and a count noun. I am not so sure I’ll be using it in the near future, though. You?

Guyliner is simply eyeliner that is used by men. No brainer. Are there specific products that are called guyliners or does eyeliner simply become guyliner when a man uses it?

Whovian refers to a fan of Doctor Who, the British science fiction TV series that blows me (and countless others) away. I guess I am a Whovian. Who else is?

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Language is dynamic.

Some people might cringe or even throw a tantrum at the addition of certain words – guyliner, really??? – to the dictionary. This simply goes back to the age old argument of language defining usage or the other way around. I’ll go along with the changes that occur, but there are certain things that I just might never get used to. (That’s probably along the lines of basic grammar rules, though, and not really words and their usage.)

In any case, here are a few more new additions to the ODO that I find amusing.

Alpha geek – a person who has great expertise in computing and related technology

Droolworthy – extremely attractive or desirable ((Confession: I have been using this word for ages. Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman”!))

Enabler – a person or thing that makes something possible ((I took note of this simply because I always thought that it was an official word! I guess I was wrong.))

Do you want to find out the other words that made it to the latest ODO update? Visit the Oxford Dictionaries Blog. If you’re a traditionalist, and you don’t want to ruin your day, I suggest you stay away. Otherwise, have fun!

Image via Houston Press






4 responses
  1. Kris Underwood Avatar

    Shouldn’t some of these words be in a slang/urban dictionary? That’s my thought. I mean, “droolworthy”? I was just having a discussion about this topic-“questionable” additions to the OED. I read “F-bomb” has been added as well?

  2. Abby Avatar

    While I understand this is an online dictionary, they all pretty much make me cringe. “Grrr?” Really? I agree with Kris–move it to Urban Dictionary.

  3. Jenn Avatar

    Speaking for myself, I use the word “whovian” almost daily when talking to people. I often use it when describing myself to others. It’s hard to see certain words get added to the dictionary, I mean “frankenfood”, really? The fact is, language is always evolving and whether we like it or not, ridiculous words are going to creep in from time to time.

    The good news? We don’t have to use them.

    1. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg Avatar
      Noemi Tasarra-Twigg

      Ah…Whovian. I use it practically every day, too! But, yeah – we don’t have to use words we don’t want to!

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