Lockdown changed the world as we know it, and now it has changed the dictionary, with a batch of new words, definitions and phrases added to the official book thanks to the events of 2020.
The Oxford English Dictionary has just revealed its September 2020 update – packed with words we would rarely or never have used before the outbreak.
Among the new additions are crafternoon, referring to an afternoon spent making objects by hand, especially practical or decorative items for the home.
For craftivists, there was the opportunity to get involved in craftivism, referring to handmade objects, especially items incorporating knitted or sewn text or imagery, produced to promote a political message.
And what were we crafting? For many it was oobleck. Taking its name from a fictional green slimy substance in Bartholemew and Oobleck (1949) by Dr Seuss, an oobleck is a mixture of cornflour and water, typically with added food colouring.
For some of us, it was a lockdown drink that helped us get through the day. Although setting up a booze can, an unlicensed bar or drinking establishment, especially one set up in a private home, was probably best avoided.
OED revision editor Jonathan Dent said: “Food and its preparation are central to human existence and societies, and this release sees the updating of some core English vocabulary from this realm with the full revision of entries related to cook , kitchen , bake , and bread . With cookie being revised as part of the cook range, completeness (not to mention transatlantic parity) demanded that a thorough overhaul of biscuit words be undertaken as well.
“Additions arising from these revisions include a large collection of kitchenalia , cookware , and homeware , including the linguistic histories of baking beans (1942) , baking paper (1894) and baking parchment (1940), biscuit boards (1847) and cookie sheets (1900). A new entry for cookie jar traces the development of an everyday piece of kitchen storage into a financial metaphor: they are first called this in the 1870s, but their use as a hiding place for cash or valuables ensured that the phrase to get caught with one’s hands in the cookie jar was being used with reference to theft or embezzlement from the early 1930s. Later in that decade, the idea of the cookie jar as a reserve of funds available to an organization or government had begun to take hold, and by the 1970s it was being used as a modifier (in cookie-jar accounting , cookie-jar reserves ) to refer to accounting practices in which money is set aside in good years, and used to conceal declining profits or losses in leaner times.
“While a cookie-duster might sound like it belongs with other pieces of baking paraphernalia, it is in fact a humorous name (first recorded in 1918) for a moustache, especially a large, thick moustache that overhangs the wearer’s upper lip.”
For many, the lockdown was spent glued to their nearest PC or games console – so tech also makes a big appearance on the new word list.
New entries also include cyber safety , silent mode and Mixed reality – a realm of immersive computer-generated environments in which elements of a physical and virtual environment are combined for use in—among other things—military training, remote working, and surgical applications.
And if lockdown seemed to drag, you may be interested know OED has updated the definition of the word ‘minute’.
The dictionary has updated the entry for minute up to date with the addition of the recent U.S. slang use meaning ‘a relatively long period of time, a while’ (as in, ‘it’s been a minute since our last update’).