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Open Dictionary Word of the Month: dude food

© GETTYSubmissions to the Open Dictionary in April were back to normal levels, with slightly over one third of all entries being approved for publication. The new entries were the usual mix: some rare words; a number of specialized or technical terms; several recent coinages and new meanings; and some words and phrases that had not previously made it into the dictionary, either for reasons of space or because they had somehow slipped through the net.

The most surprising addition from the last category is the very common expression go from strength to strength, submitted by leaeriz from Poland: although it is possible to deduce the meaning from the composite parts, it is certainly idiomatic enough to merit inclusion in the dictionary and will undoubtedly be promoted to full entry status in the next update. Other common expressions destined for rapid promotion include smoke and mirrors, take down a notch, and have a dog in a fight (or more commonly have no dog in a fight), a colourful way of saying that someone’s interests are (not) involved or represented in a dispute.

Medical terminology features large in Open Dictionary submissions and April’s batch was no exception: caffeine use disorder (or caffeinism) has apparently been categorized by the American Psychiatric Association as ‘a condition for further study’; other additions include gavage, septoplasty, opioid, ICD and presbyopia. New technology made its usual contribution, with items such as cloud robotics, quantum computing, MPI and refactoring.

New words, and new meanings for old words are always the most fun. While I’m not very enamoured of cute coinages such as wasband (an ex-husband) or switch and swipe generation (a term dreamed up by some marketing bod to  sum up the alleged lifestyle habits of young people), other linguistic novelties are the source of much pleasure. Spox is a great abbreviation for spokesperson, and I love the fact that wavy can now mean cool, attractive, stylish, and that the enigmatic merp can be used to fill an awkward silence.  And while it’s relatively common for verbs to become nouns and vice versa, it is most unusual for function words to start strutting their stuff in a new word class; which is why I am excited to see that whatever has been spotted acting like a verb (and a gerund).

My word of the month is another newish term. Dude food (dude has to be pronounced in the American manner) is food that is designed to appeal to men, mainly meat and chips, but of high quality and often with a sophisticated twist. We have known for a long time that real men don’t eat quiche; now it seems the simple creatures can only be satisfied by simple bold food with simple bold flavours. Eat your heart out, MasterChef.

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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