10 Bizarre New Words and Phrases From Recent Years

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The Oxford English Dictionary broke tradition in 2013 by adding a strange new word: “Tweet.” As the esteemed dictionary noted, “This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for ten years before consideration for inclusion. But (tweet) seems to be catching on.” Tweet, of course, has since become virtually synonymous with social media and even modern culture. So have other recent dictionary additions such as emoji, hashtag and selfie. Obviously, not every recent word and/or phrase added by Oxford and Merriam-Webster has become a permanent part of the lexicon. Have you ever had an “earworm” stuck in your brain all day? Ever done any scratchiti? Just what the heck is a mocap? Here’s a look at those words and some others that have fizzled since being officially recognized as words.


10. Earworm

A catchy tune or piece of music that persistently stays in a person’s mind, especially to the point of irritation
The next time you find yourself humming the same song over and over … and over in your head, don’t tell anyone you have an earworm. It sounds like a nasty medical condition (“That old Queen song We Are the Champions gave me an earworm”).


9. Scratchiti

Words or images engraved or etched (illegally) into surfaces in a public place
Police: “Mr. Smith, we picked up your teenage son for doing scratchiti under the 7th Street bridge.”
Mr. Smith: “My son was doing WHAT under the bridge?”


8. Mocap

A technique which allows movement to be recorded digitally; specifically one in which the movement of an actor is used to animate a computer-generated character in a film or video game
If you’ve ever seen the movie Avatar and wondered how the production captured the characters, mocap is the answer. While it’s a familiar technique, the word is not nearly as well known as, for example, the abbreviation CGI.


7. Starchitect

A famous architect, especially (depreciative) one whose designs are considered extravagant, outlandish, or incompatible with their existing surroundings
The Oxford English Dictionary just added this word in 2016. We could see it becoming more familiar than it is now … but really, how many people talk about regular architects in the first place?


6. Glamp

A portmanteau of glamour and camping, describing a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping
Those people who pull into the campsite next to you and start bragging about their $1 million luxury motor home are not glamping. They are just arrogant butts.


5. Fleishig

Made of, prepared with, or used for meat or meat products
We have a close family member who is vegan. “Dedicated” isn’t the word to describe her commitment to veganism; “militant” would be more like it. And she had never heard of the term “fleishig,” or a related term, “milchig,” which means, “Made of or derived from milk or dairy products.”


4. Dayclean

A synonym of dawn, or day-break
Ok, you probably still use those terms — or maybe “sunrise” to describe the start of the day. But in parts of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, the Caribbean and West Africa, the word dayclean is common.


3. Phablet

A very large smartphone having a touch screen which is intermediate in size between that of a standard smartphone and that of a tablet computer
Oxford added this word in late 2015, and it’s somewhat surprising that it hasn’t caught on with the public, especially given the ginormous versions of the most recent smartphones.


2. Underwater Hockey

A game similar to ice hockey in which two teams of divers maneuver a weighted puck along the bottom of a swimming pool with short sticks
Well, this term was certainly a new one for us. Although it entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, we still can’t find an underwater hockey team in our area. Is it even possible to check someone in this game?


1. Bridezilla

A bride or bride-to-be who is extremely demanding and difficult to deal with
We’ve all seen these women at work, with their insatiable desire for the perfect wedding. Tokyo doesn’t stand a chance.


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