'Muffin top,' 'banh mi,' and 'California roll' admitted into English dictionary

Friday 25 March 2011 01:00

It's taken a few years to catch up, but the Oxford English Dictionary now officially acknowledges that the 'five-second rule' is a legitimate phrase.

The UK-based dictionary has also decided that the term 'muffin top' - both the dome top of baked goods and the excess flesh or "protuberance" that hangs over waistbands - and 'banh mi,' a Vietnamese sandwich, were ubiquitous enough in everyday conversation to add to the canon of existing 600,000 English words.

The additions to the Oxford's online dictionary were announced March 24.

"As the culinary appetites of the English-speaking world grow ever more diverse, loan words referring to new cuisines are a perennial source of new OED entries," reads a statement about the inclusion of the culinary-themed additions.

Look up the expression 'five-second rule' in the revised dictionary and you now get a clinical definition of a term people often blurt out as an excuse to eat food off the floor.

The five- or ten-second rule, "...allows for the eating of a delicious morsel that has fallen to the floor, provided that it is retrieved within the specified period of time," the dictionary reads.

Non-culinary additions also include terms like 'smack talk' (boastful or insulting banter), 'couch surfing' (the practice of spending the night on other people's couches in lieu of permanent housing), and initialisms like OMG, LOL and WAG, short for wives and girlfriends.

Here's a list of food-related words and terms that have made the cut in the latest Oxford English Dictionary updates (but have yet to be accepted by spell check programs).

Muffin top: 1. The top portion of a muffin, or sometimes a muffin cooked in a special shallow tin so that it consists exclusively of this top part, without the soggy bottom whose relative undesirability once inspired an episode of 1990s Seinfeld.

2. The second sense is figurative, referring to a protuberance of flesh above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers ("spare tire" or "love handle"), which may sometimes be attributed to an excessive appreciation for muffin tops in the literal sense.

Banh mi: Vietnamese sandwich

Taquito: A crisp-fried Tex-Mex snack

Kleftiko: Greek dish of slow-cooked lamb

Eton mess: The British dessert "consisting of whipped cream, pieces of meringue and fruit"

Doughnut hole: Balls of doughnuts cut from the center of doughnuts

California roll: Maki sushi rolls containing cucumber, crab, avocado and fish roe

Flat white: A common term from Australian English, the flat white is a style of espresso drink with finely textured foamed milk

Lashed: Drunk

On the lash: Engaged in a bout of drinking

Cream-crackered: Knackered or exhausted

Crème de cassis: Blackcurrant-flavored liqueur

Gremolata: An Italian garnish of finely chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest usually sprinkled over slow-cooked braised meats

Rugelach: A Jewish, crescent-shaped pastry stuffed with cinnamon, raisins or chocolate and made with cream cheese

Roulade: A culinary term for meats or cakes that are normally stuffed and rolled into a log

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments