Words: zorb, v. and n.

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WITH 16 months of the century left, Oxford issues a genially ad hoc anthology of new words since 1901. It is arranged alphabetically by decade, and the Nineties end with a high point of civilisation, zorbing: an antipodean custom absent from the "world English" of Encarta.

It is "an extreme sport involving hurtling down slopes . . . in a large perspex ball." The ball, which can also be lubricated inside, is a zorb. Novices often travel "washing-machine" fashion, but Samuel Johnson, for one, would have soon become adept. On a visit to Bennet Langton in 1764, at 53, he emptied his pockets at the top of a steep hill, lay down and, "parallel with the edge of the hill, he actually descended, turning himself over and over till he came to the bottom".

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