'Lookist' Britain: the way we look inspires the new English
In a world of spin and political correctness, the possibility of Britain becoming a lookist society is one possible conclusion to emerge from the new words included in a major new edition of the Oxford Compact English Dictionary (£11.99, published 14 August 2000).
“Lookism” is defined in the Dictionary as “discrimination on the grounds of how a person looks and the clothes they wear” - and although beauty is only skin deep, words from the fashion and beauty world are flooding into the language faster than ever.
Fashionistas looking forward to next month's London Fashion Week and shows in Paris and New York will be adding to the store of new words in the dictionary which includes:
- carpenter trousers (multi-pocketed trousers with loops for tools);
- combat trousers;
- shrug (close-fitting woman's cardigan);
- the buzz-cut (today's answer to the crew-cut);
- chuddies (underpants as popularized by the comedy show 'Goodness Gracious Me!').
But don't worry - if you can't any afford any new clothes, you can always go for ones that have been pre-loved. And if you think that the newest 'ism' is a load of hooey, you can always fall back on the new term of disapproval: “it's complete pants!”
Editor of the new dictionary, Catherine Soanes, says:”Fashion and beauty have always been big contributors to the English language - many hundreds of words for types of garment are already in the complete record of the English language, the OED - and the trend is continuing.”
Fashion words that came and went...... immensikoff (1870s heavy overcoat); cover-slut (17th century overall); poodle (early Victorian short cloak); directoires (long knickers); a smasher (late Victorian hat); jipijapa (panama hat); tabby (late 18th century dress); hug-me-tight (1860s woman's close-fitting jacket).
Will they last? Or are they just a passing fashion? Other words queuing up to be included in the new dictionary must wait to see if they pass the test of time.
? Blairism ? fashion icon ? superwaif ? notch-neck (blouse) ? mehndi and bindhi (temporary tattoos) ? tankini ? cargo trousers ? bumsters ? diffusion line ? investment dressing ? “is the new” as in “Red is the new black” or “Corduroy is the new denim”. ? Frankenfood ? Screenager ? White-van Man
New words in Oxford Compact English Dictionary reflect Y2K Britain:
adrenalized (highly charged) bleeding edge (even further than the cutting edge!) bottom feeder (low status individual who survives by whatever means possible) breatharian (someone who believes that meditation can bring a level of consciousness where one can exist on air) cybersquatting (registering well-known names as Internet domain names, in the hope of selling them on to the owner) dot-com (company that conducts its business on the Internet) flexecutive (worker who can choose hours and place of work due to the new IT) Frankenfood (food with genetic -ally modified ingredients) gaydar (ability of one gay person to recognize another) honeytrap (an attractive person used to trick another into giving information) jumpstation (new term for computer portal) meatspace (physical world, as opposed to virtual) nandrolone (anabolic steroid used illegally to enhance performance in sport) one-trick pony (person with one special talent) prebuttal (political response agreed in advance of criticism) screenager (internet or computer-addicted teenager) sticky (website attracting long or repeat visits from users) WAP (mobile phone that enables users to browse the internet and display data) white-van man (aggressive male driver of a delivery van) xenology (study of alien life) Zyban (anti-depressant drug)
SOURCE Oxford University Press
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