What are the latest entries to the OED in March 2020, and what do they mean? 

How do words get into the OED? 

OED have a watch list database. They receive many contributions to the database from a variety of sources, including crowdsourcing appeals from the general public. It’s a real collaborative effort which keeps real prevalence of use in mind. 

Editors then consider each and every contribution and do their own research into each word’s development and widespread use. Once the research is complete, they draft the dictionary entry, which includes an example of the word’s use. This then goes through an editorial process before being approved and published. 

What made it into the OED in March 2020? 

Here are some handpicked favourite words which made it into the OED in their March 2020 update:

  • ambigue, n.: “An ambiguous statement or expression.”
  • tin-kettler, n.: “A member of a boisterous group that serenades a newly-wed couple with a cacophonous noise made by beating kettles, pans, and similar objects.”
  • chin-stroking, adj.: “Given to or characterized by the stroking of one’s chin, esp. while deliberating or reflecting on a question. Hence: over-intellectual, pretentious…”
  • puggle, n.2: “A young or baby echidna or platypus.”
  • Jesusy, adj.: “Of, relating to, or resembling Jesus; having the qualities or characteristics associated with Jesus, esp. compassion, love of others, selflessness…”
  • beewort, n.: “Originally: any of several plants attractive to bees, spec. balm, Melissa officinalis (now historical). In later use: the plant sweet flag, Acorus…”
  • anergic, adj.: “Chiefly Psychiatry. Lacking mental or physical energy; characterized by lack of mental or physical energy. Cf. anergia n. anergy n. 1.”

And finally, my personal favourite. It’s derived from the term ‘ameliorate’ in linguistics to form a word for a doctrine - a doctrine which I think we all need right now… 

  • ameliorism, n.: “The doctrine or belief that the world, or society, may be improved and suffering alleviated through rightly directed human effort; = meliorism n.”

Have a browse through the new OED entries, and let us know your favourites! 

Laura Kelly

Laura is a freelance writer and worked at Readable for a number of years. Laura is well-versed in optimising content for readability and Readable's suite of tools. She aims to write guides that help you make the most out of Readable.