juste a mot

Share
Was Majorism a natural consequence of excessive Maggiolatry? Could Blairism be little more than the Clintonisation of the Labour Party? And will the italicised neologisms live long enough to earn their places in a reputable dictionary? Or are they doomed to vanish into the technological ether with the ramblings of the Interneterati?

Thanks to the resources of Chambers Dictionaries, we shall, on alternate Tuesdays in this space, be offering a glimpse of some new words entering the language, among the 400 or so identified each month by their team of word-surfing readers. Stored in a programme called WordTrack, they are the raw material for any new edition of a dictionary.

With around 300,000 definitions already and a new edition about every five years, there could, at the current rate, be more than 20,000 new words vying for space next time, but most will fail the strict criteria for inclusion. The first general requirement is more than three citations, but even then a word must be "considered to have passed into general language". That is where subjectivity is inevitable. The word "birrova", as in "it was just a birrova laugh", has already bagged a space on the slow lane of WordTrack, with a single citation dated May 1995. Not enough yet to warrant consideration for the dictionary, but what about "lorra" as in the tabloid headline: "Worra Lorra Idiots" recently spotted above a piece about Miss Cilla Black and the contestants on a televisual delectation called Blind Date? Our own database, covering a wide range of daily and Sunday national newspapers, offers no fewer than 19 instances of worra and a staggering 209 lorras. But will they make the next edition of Chambers? You can betcha life there'd be a birrova fuss if they did.

Glossary

Majorism: (1993) tentatively defined as: "The political and economic policies of the British Conservative politician, John Major". Not tipped to last.

Interneterati: (1994) one of many words modelled on literati (which dates from the 17th century), including Briterati, glitterati, flasherati (flashy dressers) and digerati (1995: dealers in digital information).

Word-surfing: (The Independent, today), modelled on netsurfing (of the Interneterati),, channel-surfing (TV), mouth-surfing (hot foods) and even zeitgeist-surfing, which may be impossible without drugs.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lacock  

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all