Of the thousands of new words that have entered English from 1983 to 2012 here are the 20 most common ones found on this website in 2012 (on the Open Thread from June to August).
A word counts as “new” if it or its meaning does not appear in my 1983 edition of the “Chambers 20th Century Dictionary” or is otherwise known to be new since 1983.
I will give the meanings in words I knew back then. That will require:
A Few Introductory Concepts:
- click on – to pick something on a computer screen.
- Internet – the world-wide public computer network. It is often conceived of as a spider web.
- website – a place on the Web (the Internet). Most websites have a set of pages (called web pages) which you view on your computer screen one at a time. You can move between pages – or to another website – by means of links:
- link – a picture or word (often underlined) on a web page that you can click on to go to another page or website. Short for “hyperlink”.
- search engine – a website where you can search for stuff on the Internet.
New words (with year of earliest known use):
- biracial (1990s) – North American: said of someone whose parents belong to different races.
- blog (1999) – a website that takes the form of a diary or journal. Comes from “we(b log)”. Also called a blog-site.
- BTW (1989) – short for “by the way”.
- BWE (2007) – short for “Black Women’s Empowerment”, a movement of black women writers in North America and Britain which seeks to help black women live happier lives. Best known for pushing the idea that marrying white is better than marrying black.
- colourism – the belief that light-skinned people of a given race or ethnic group are better than those who are darker-skinned.
- email (1982) – a message sent to another person over the Internet. Short for “electronic mail”.
- Estuary English (1984) – Standard English spoken with an accent between RP and Cockney. Middle-class London English, more or less.
- Google (1998) – the main search engine on the Internet. Also a verb: to google something.
- link – short for hyperlink (1987). See above under Introductory Concepts.
- LOL (1993) – short for “laugh out loud”.
- mindset (1920 in educators’ jargon) – a set way of thinking.
- online – being on a computer network (1950), particularly the Internet (1990s).
- POC (1980s) – North American: short for “people of colour”, people who are not white, particularly those who experience white racism. What White Americans call “minorities” or “non-whites”.
- poster – Internet: someone who adds a comment on a web page. Also called a commenter or commentator.
- POV – short for “point of view”.
- Stormfront (1990) – the main Klan website.
- sub-Saharan (1955) – South of the Sahara. An unracist-seeming way of saying “black”, as in sub-Saharan Africans.
- thread – Internet: all the comments or emails belonging to the same discussion.
- video – new sense: a video recording, generally less than ten minutes long. A whole television show or film would not be called a video.
- YouTube (2005) – the main website for videos.
Not in the Oxford dictionary with the above meanings as of 2012: BWE, colourism, POC, people of colour, thread. (They do not do most proprietary names.)
– Abagond, 2012, 2015.