Open Dictionary

Word of the Month: gigger

Macmillan Education / Stuart Cox
Written by Liz Potter

Submissions to the Open Dictionary in August and September were back to normal levels after July’s surge. The proportion of entries accepted was also back to normal, at something under 50%.

In a change from the usual format, here’s a selection of the entries submitted over those two months, one for each letter of the alphabet (except X and Z, for which there were no submissions).



‘A’ is for avocation, a formal word for a hobby. B is for boringer, an informal way of saying ‘more boring’. At C comes careerism, ambition to advance in your profession, while D is for deckchair, in the phrase to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic, meaning to indulge in pointless activity rather than facing the real issues.

At E we have emergency medical technician, or EMT, the US equivalent of the British paramedic. F is for frugivore, a creature that eats fruit, while G stands for gigger, someone who works in the gig economy. H is for Hundo P, a very informal way of saying one hundred percent, I for inertial, a term from physics, and J for Jupiter, the largest of the planets (incidentally, this entry has inspired us to add the names of the planets to our next release). K is for kilig, an adjective from Philippine English meaning ‘exhilarated’ or ‘elated’, and the related noun.

L is for lepidoptery, the study of butterflies, M for millefeuille, a cake made of layers of pastry, also used figuratively to describe something that consists of layers, and N for nobby, an informal American term meaning ‘elegantly stylish’. O is for ontogeny, the way an organism develops, and P is for postpartum, a term that means ‘after the birth of a child’.  Q is for quids in, which refers to being in a situation where you make or save money, and R is for rosin, a solid block of resin used to treat the bows of stringed instruments.

S is for satellite town, a town that is close to a metropolis, while T is for tasky, an informal word meaning time-consuming, tiresome or stressful. U is for the unpleasant upskirt, a photo taken up a woman’s skirt without her knowledge or consent, while V is for vituperate, a very formal word meaning ‘to berate’. W is for workaholism, an addiction to working all the time, and Y is for yuge, a way of spelling ‘huge’ that reflects the way it is said by some American speakers.

My Open Dictionary Word of the Month is gigger. This word has been around for some time and has a number of meanings, including ones relating to fishing, clothmaking and music (someone who plays gigs). Its newest meaning reflects an aspect of contemporary society, in which temporary jobs and portfolio working have largely replaced permanent positions with a single employer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this alphabetical post, which shows the range of entries submitted by our regular and occasional contributors around the world. 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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