Learning English - Words in the News
02 January, 2009 - Published 16:25 GMT
What does the word "Meh" mean to you? Or how about "Jargonaut" and "Frenemy"? Those are just three of the words chosen by people in Britain for inclusion in the next edition of the Collins English Dictionary. But not everyone's heard of these words, as Rob Norris reports:
The way we speak and write changes all the time. Expressions which once sounded "supercool" or "hip" can end up sounding a bit "naff" - or even "pants". Compiling dictionaries to keep up with the ebb and flow of the English language is a full-time job. Hundreds of people in Britain came forward with suggestions for the new dictionary.
The most popular was "Meh" - spelt M-E-H - an expression to show that you're unimpressed - that something's mediocre or boring. "Meh" is thought to have originated in the United States and it's becoming increasingly common in speech, emails and text messages worldwide. Other popular suggestions included "Jargonaut" - a person who uses lots of jargon, and "Frenemy" - an enemy who falsely portrays themself as a friend. So do people in central London recognise these new words? Let's try "Jargonaut" first:
So "Meh!" could take a while to catch on - and some people may hope that it never does.
Rob Norris, BBC
ebb and flow
something to do with a juggernaut
I'm drawing a blank on
to catch on
To take away
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