Open Dictionary

Word of the Month: VUCA

Submissions to the Open Dictionary were slightly up in June, with the proportion of entries published at 43%, slightly higher than average.

Some great phrases were submitted this month, not new but definitely worth having. The more colourful ones included all mouth and no trousers and its close relation all show and no go, busman’s holiday, fly under the radar and walk and chew gum. Less colourful but just as useful are expressions like on the plus/minus side, lose its shine and close your doors to someone, all submitted by our regular contributor Boris Marchenko, who has a great eye for such things.  My favourite new phrase is one that comes from baseball: born on third and think they hit a triple is used to refer to someone who was born with a lot of advantages but thinks their success is due to their own merits.

Some brand-new informal terms were submitted as well. These are always fun to find out about, and can have a place in the Open Dictionary while we wait to see if they catch on. This month’s batch included glumbucket, an unflattering term applied to the Prime Minister during the election campaign; hot-dogging, meaning showing off; instafamous, famous as a result of having lots of followers on social media; long, meaning boring and not worthwhile; and the phrasal verb mack on someone, meaning to hit on them. Other new words that reflect aspects of contemporary society are meme artist, sologamy and transfeminine.

My Open Dictionary word of the month for June is the acronym VUCA. Coined by the US military and adopted by business, it stands for ‘volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous’, or according to some, ‘volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity’. While not entirely new it seems to say something about the current global situation, judging by its rapid increase in frequency over the past few years.

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

Liz Potter

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