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Open Dictionary Word of the Month: patio diplomacy

Written by Liz Potter

Submissions to the Open Dictionary in February were somewhat down on January’s, with only some of the difference attributable to the fact that it is a shorter month.  42% of these submissions were published, which is a higher percentage than usual. So, fewer entries but a higher quality.

February’s submissions included a good number of rare and technical words, including analphabet, andragogy, cichlid, conspecific, demit, irradiance, oppugnant, and perspicuous.

At the other end of the spectrum we have a cluster of words that reflect current cultural habits and lifestyles. These include Wattpadder, someone who publishes their writing on the Wattpad platform; Scandipop, pop music from Scandinavia, obviously (I don’t know if ABBA counts as Scandipop or not); graddy annexe, a part of the parental home made over to a returning graduate child who can’t afford their own place; and two lifestyle terms borrowed from other languages, wabi-sabi from Japan, and lagom, from Sweden.

American English continued to figure prominently, with a range of Trump- isms being added, including Trumpism itself. Other US English terms included garbage fire, another name for a dumpster fire; flip phone, which as Becky from the US pointed out is used for any phone that is not a smartphone; extreme vetting, global gag rule, and side-eye, an expressive term for a suspicious or hostile sidelong glance.

Existing words that have added extended or metaphorical meanings, again with a strong US flavour, included echo chamber, playbook, town hall, meeting point, gaggle, and roast, meaning to tease publicly in a good-natured way.

My Open Dictionary word of the month for February is another US term, patio diplomacy, submitted by Arnold from the Czech Republic who defines it as “high-level diplomats meeting and dining in an informal environment e.g. a party or club”. Like last month’s fake news, this entry is inspired directly by the US political scene, in particular news stories and photos that emerged of US President Donald Trump and Prime Minster Shinzo Abe of Japan seemingly discussing sensitive political matters over dinner at the President’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Thanks for all your submissions and do keep them coming. If there’s a word or expression that you think deserves inclusion in the Open Dictionary you can submit it here. Don’t forget to check first to make sure your word isn’t in our dictionary already.

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Liz Potter

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