‘Hoverboard’ and ‘telly addict’ recently made, so isn’t it fitting that every single utterance in the English language be recognised and recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary?
That’s the view of Erin McKean, founder of the newly-not-for-profit Wordnik.com, the world’s biggest online dictionary, who is aiming to make a record of as many English words as possible.
McKean has said her goal is to make every word in English ‘lookupable’ – including the large percentage of unique words that aren’t currently in any dictionary. According to a study published in Science, she explained how the conclusion found that “52 per cent of the English lexicon – the majority of the words used in English books – consists of lexical ‘dark matter’ undocumented in standard references.”
Her mission to find these missing words recently took a turn for the better after a Kickstarter campaign saw her team receive more than 670 backers and even surpassing its goal of raising $50,000 (£32,300).
Speakers of English are rightfully proud of the vast size and variety of words in the language, she told The Independent, adding: “We have hundreds of words meaning ‘drunk’ – including ‘nimptopsical’ and ‘swipey’ – adjectives for every possible kind of shape, and verbs for every form of perambulation.
“There’s even a word to describe words that are exactly the right word for what you want to say – ‘teleolexical’. Why wouldn’t we want to give every word a chance to be someone’s teleolexical word?”
So, with the English language expanding more and more with each passing day – and showing no signs of abating – how good are you with it? Here are nine words, courtesy of Wordnik.com, for you to guess the meanings of:
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies